Caroline Gallay and Kate Stukenberg
- October 01, 2012
Two French perfume houses are making fragrance into art again. Frederic Malle’s Editions de Parfums and Eddie Roschi and Fabrice Penot’s Le Labo have taken the emphasis off marketing and put it back in the bottle, eschewing generic scents that cater to the masses for expertly crafted fragrances that, in the words of Penot, “make life more beautiful.” Here, Malle and Penot discuss their rebellious methods and why customers are thanking them.
In one sentence, your philosophy on perfumery?
Penot: We focus on the creation and hope for business, instead of focusing on business and hoping to be creative.
Malle: Fragrances are very sort of primal things, and people can see the difference between good perfume and generic right away. The best way to explain is to put one on each arm, and people will see that there’s an ocean of sophistication compared to the other. It’s like fine wine.
What’s the proper way to care for a proper fragrance with fragile ingredients such as yours?
Penot: Keep it in the fridge, away from light and heat, which are the worst enemies of perfumes.
Malle: It depends on how often you use it and what kind of fragrance it is. If you protect it from the light and don’t change temperature all the time, it will stay much longer. The window is the worst place to keep perfume. But if you’re slightly more careful, it can last for a very long time.
Where and how should one apply perfume?
Penot: When they asked Coco Chanel this question, she remarked, “Wherever you want to be kissed.” There is truth in that! I like it on the neck, on the cleavage of a woman because, indeed, these points are more personal.
Malle: Too much perfume is a terrible thing. In the ’80s, fragrances were like logos, and people were putting too much on and would layer throughout the day. That extra oomph is an atomic bomb, basically. When you start wearing a fragrance, be very conscious of how much you wear. If it’s a light fragrance, put one, two or three spritz and stick to that.
Penot: Our first intention is to make your life more beautiful. That’s it. If a perfume doesn’t make your life more beautiful, it doesn’t deserve to exist.
Frederic Malle’s Editions de Parfums and Le Labo are exclusive to Saks Fifth Avenue.