PARIS — Frédéric Malle always sees colors and patterns while smelling a scent, and those visual elements spring to life in an exhibition due to open in Paris on Thursday.
The idea for the show, called “Le Vestiaire de Monsieur,” came in part from the newest perfume from Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, called Uncut Gem. The fragrance is by perfumer Maurice Roucel and due out in early September.
“It’s the kind of man which we never had — more rugged, more extreme, more manly,” Malle said of the scent, which goes against the grain of men’s fragrances today and tends to skew toward the feminine.
“We always begin from the scent itself. We never have a marketing idea,” he continued.
Malle had long adored how Roucel smelled — of something he had created for himself. It took a lot of coaxing, but ultimately Roucel agreed to use that juice as a base and extend it with more complexity and richness for Malle.
Uncut Gem includes notes of bergamot, ginger, angelica root, vetiver, incense, ambrocénide crystal and musk.
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Rather than celebrate only the newest fragrance, Malle opted to fete the collection of scents in his portfolio that are particularly men friendly. Seven in total are being showcased for the exhibit, including — alongside Uncut Gem — Vetiver Extraordinaire, Monsieur, French Lover, Bigarade, Geranium Pour Monsieur and Musc Ravageur.
“We didn’t have a dry spice-slash-amber,” Malle said. “It’s interesting to put these perfumes into context.”
An art installation was created in-house for each of them, “showing the colors and the atmosphere that I see when I smell them,” said Malle, who also always envisions patterns.
Take Bigarade, for instance, in his mind’s eye Malle sees fluorescent pink, and minty green for Geranium. A gold disco à la Régine is how he envisages Monsieur.
“It’s a way to celebrate how extensive and varied the collection is,” said Malle, about the exhibit, adding: “There’s not one way to be a man — there are so many ways — and we wanted to remind people of that.”
Even pre-opening, the show has struck a chord. By Wednesday night about 1,000 people had already signed on to visit the “Le Vestiaire de Monsieur,” which runs through Sunday at 5 bis Rue de Beauce, in Paris’ third arrondissement.
“We are considering opening it in difference places,” Malle said.
That evening, he hosted in the three-story gallery a cocktail party for friends of the house. Attendees included Christian Louboutin, Olivier Theyskens, Pierre Hardy, Vincent Darré and Brigitte Lacombe.
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