Olivier Creed Talks Family, Fragrance and Future

It was the master perfumer's first visit to New York in nearly a decade.

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During his first visit to New York in nearly a decade, Olivier Creed — master perfumer and worldwide chairman and chief executive officer of Paris-based The House of Creed — sat down with WWD to talk about his storied company.

This story first appeared in the October 26, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“This is a family business,” said the sixth-generation perfumer. “There are many old companies, but we are the only [one] to be passed from father to son in an unbroken line since 1760.”

During the meeting, Creed spoke about his creative process, hands-on management style and the evolution of the brand. “I feel like a painter and I can paint anywhere, from a farmhouse, to an apartment in Istanbul, to the countryside,” said Creed, drawing an analogy between perfumery and his lifelong passion for oil painting.

Not only has Creed, 65, personally created more than 27 fragrances to date for the company, he also oversees the manufacturing, product creation and marketing ends of his business. He and his son Erwin, 31, the company’s vice president, travel the world meeting with farmers in search of quality ingredients, said Creed. A few of his favorite locations for botanicals include the Italian region of Calabria for bergamot, Naples for oranges and Sicily for lemons.

Creed discussed some upcoming projects, including one of the brand’s holiday offerings, Acqua Fiorentina: The Encore, a reinvention of the original Acqua Fiorentina, discontinued in 2009. “It is based on the concept of woods and florals,” said Creed about the Encore sequel, which now includes notes of diamond jubilee apple to celebrate 2012. The scent, described as a “fruit-rich” juice, also stars sweet greengage plum, prunes, Florentine pear, white carnations, Renaissance roses and white grapefruit.

Representing the brand’s first time doing color-infused embellishments, the bottle, $260 for 2.5 oz. and $155 for 1 oz., features bright pink aluminum flowers along its sides, to “accentuate the true essence of the fragrance.” Holiday will also bring a new scent called Fleurs de Gardenia, $260 for 2.5 oz., based around the gardenia flower, which grows only in pairs. The scent blends double blush roses, lavender peonies with lily of the valley, ripe blackcurrant and pink patchouli, to reference “love first blooming.”

Fleurs de Gardenia will be available this year only at the select Neiman Marcus stores visited personally by Erwin Creed during his American tour, which kicks off on Nov. 6 at Bergdorf Goodman. Another “special offering,” available in 2012 only during Erwin Creed’s time in the States is a “very rare” limited-edition version of Creed’s Royal Exclusives fragrances, sold through special order in 2013. Available in five iterations, Spice and Wood, Jardin D’Amalfi, White Flowers, Pure White Cologne or Sublime Vanille, each will be housed in 8.4-oz., hand-blown glass decanters hand-painted with gold or gold-and-silver crests, with a client’s initials and a date. Each bottle retails for $1,950.

Looking to the future, Creed said he is at the moment working on a “whole new range” housed in a different bottle that would appeal to a younger consumer with a slightly lower price point, to be launched in 2013.

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