Franco Algerian artist Neil Beloufa created an immersive piece to help celebrate the launch of Synthetic Jungle, the new scent from Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, at a cocktail party held Thursday evening in Paris.
Attendees were invited to visit the minus-one level of the Pavillon Rivé Gauche venue, where all of the walls and floor were part of an interactive video installation broadcasting colorful, otherworldly flora and fauna. Also dotting the room were columns emitting different olfactive components of the perfume. Catherine Deneuve was among the guests spotted milling about.
Beloufa doesn’t have in-depth knowledge of perfume, so he held separate discussions with Malle and Anne Flipo, the IFF master perfumer behind Synthetic Jungle.
“I interviewed them about fragrances, and how they described them in terms of color and image, and how they formulate — and tried to illustrate that,” said Beloufa, who worked with three different technologies for his oeuvre’s overlapping images.
For the storyline, Beloufa homed in on the oxymoron of a “synthetic jungle.” “I said: ‘I can play with that in terms of image,’” he explained.
Malle said he had been looking for an interactive way to show perfumers’ processes, though “not something that was going to be like a tutorial — but like a game, something that would indicate to people that perfume is made of layers, but often what you think is natural is synthetic. For instance, a good lily of the valley has to be synthetic.”
Flipo clearly had fun creating Synthetic Jungle, as well.
“The idea from the outset was to revisit a chypre from the 1970s, and to work with green notes also,” said Flipo, referring to the likes of galbanum and basil. The fragrance also has a heady dose of lily of the valley, among other ingredients, such as patchouli and blackcurrant. These she described to Beloufa during their hourslong Zoom session.
“He told the story of two mad scientists, who in my opinion are Frédéric and me,” said Flipo, referring to the art piece.
Vanessa Seward was at the party, too. “I have a book coming out in January,” she said. “It’s a bit about style and way of life…but it’s quirky.”
Olivier Theyskens’ favorite fragrance of all is Lys Méditerranée, from Malle’s collection. The designer’s interest in fragrances started in the ’80s.
“My sister was collecting the small samples, so we had a basket of them,” he reminisced.
Other partygoers included Vincent Darré and Bertrand Burgalat.
FOR MORE, SEE: