Symrise, Collette Partner for Special Designer Scents
PARIS — What do you get when you mix three edgy fashion brands, an uberhip concept store and an essential oils house?
Some very unusual fragrances, including one perhaps better described as an odor.
That’s what happened when Symrise teamed with Hussein Chalayan, Bless and As Four to create a limited-edition line of signature scents to be sold exclusively at Colette here this fall.
“We’re always in search of ideas to stimulate the creativity of our perfumers,” said Olivier Perrard, the then outgoing head of Symrise’s business in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
“They [perfumers] are bombarded all year by projects that have timing restrictions, that must respect regulatory norms and price constraints, so they don’t have time to develop products that they really want to create.”
That’s where Colette came in. The store is acting as a “curator” for the collection of one-off fragrances, dubbed “Curated by Colette.”
“Colette chose three designers most able to [cause a stir] and participate in this kind of project,” Perrard explained.
The designers worked with Symrise perfumers to come up with scents on sky’s-the-limit budgets. Their only constraint was the flacon in which the scents are to be bottled, which is the same for all the designers with the exception of their personalized labels. All three came up with unisex eaux.
Chalayan worked with Paris-based nose Mark Buxton to concoct a scent meant to remind the designer of a train journey from London’s Victoria Station to Istanbul.
Of course, given Chalayan’s conceptual bent, “He didn’t want to smell London, Paris, Venice and Istanbul,” noted Elisabeth Carre, Symrise’s international fragrance development director, who acted as an intermediary between designers and perfumers. “There had to be a teleportation aspect to it.”
Chalayan’s fragrance comprises top notes of bergamot, cardamom, tea leaves, rose and lily; Lapsang Souchong tea, birch, tar and violet petal notes are at the heart, while patchouli, cedarwood, fir balsam and sandalwood notes are at its base.
Design duo Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag of Bless also worked with Buxton to create their scent. To give the perfumer an idea of the type of fragrance they were after, each separately (and unbeknownst to the other) concocted a mixture of odiferous household products, including chocolate spread, shampoo and moisturizers.
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“I tried to interpret the two ideas,” said Buxton. “It’s not a fragrance; it’s more like an odor.”
The scent, which is meant to reflect the wearer’s personality, is made of notes of cardamom, cypress, ginger, geranium, thyme and mate absolute, plus a shortbread accord.
New York-based Symrise perfumer Frank Volkl worked with the As Four troika of designers for a fragrance.
“They were very focused on freshness for everyone,” said Carre, adding that the scent comprises notes of three roots — ginger, vetiver and orris. “They stayed with the idea of roots of life.”
Additional notes include lime, bergamot, cedarwood, sandalwood and musk.
All three fragrances, which will be available at Colette starting in September, will sell for 50 euros, or $60.50 at current exchange rates, per 50-ml. bottle. Three hundred of each scent will be sold.
In other Symrise news, Roberto Ascoli has taken over as commercial director of the firm’s fine fragrances business.
— Brid Costello
Tyler Talks Givenchy
NEW YORK — Actress Liv Tyler recently made one of her first public appearances since the birth of her son, Milo, to celebrate the launches of Very Irresistible Givenchy for Men and Very Irresistible Givenchy Sensual Eau de Parfum.
“I feel a bit rusty for sure,” she admitted, adding that she was a little nervous about speaking with reporters at the appearance. “What they say about your brain cells going out the window when you’re pregnant really does happen, but after you give birth it’s worse.”
Clad in black Givenchy pumps, a black Prada cardigan and a pink Derek Lam skirt at the June 16 event, the bashful Tyler spoke about the experience of working for the first time with photographer Peter Lindbergh for the men’s ad campaign. “I was really shy about my [post-pregnancy] body,” she said, “but he just cinched me into a trenchcoat, I sucked it in and it worked out fine.” Tyler added that Lindbergh finished off the shoot by taking a family portrait of the new mom with her husband, musician Royston Langdon, and Milo.
She said that while she has felt pressure to lose her pregnancy weight, she’s in no rush. “I wanted to really give myself to my son, not be obsessed with my body and getting back into shape.”
Both new scents will be available at selected Macy’s and Robinsons-May doors at the end of July, before rolling out into wider distribution in September.
— Bryn Kenny