Thursday, December 27, 2007

Frédéric Malle

Chatted at length with a sales person at the Frédéric Malle counter in Barnes New York. They claim to have enlisted the world's best noses to create perfumes with "no limitations". Translation? The perfumers had the liberty to pursue their "perfect" perfume, using whatever ingredients they desired.

"What do you mean? Isn't that how they normally work?"

"No," he explained. "Typically the idea of a new perfume would come from marketing. They decide who they'd like to target, the ideal demographic for the new product, the image they want to project, the appropriate spokesperson, and the price point, etc. It also cannot outshine what's already in the series - to keep an even playing field. The perfumer only becomes involved after the numbers have been crunched, and they must work within the set parameters. In a couple months, they whip up a dozen or so trials in tubes, and the company chooses which one they want to sell."

"At Frédéric Malle, however, we said the sky's the limit. The cost of ingredients is no object. Some of these took more than 600 trials and over two years to create."

I was particularly taken by the Lipstick Rose, courtsey of Ralf Schwieger, which reminded me of my mother's Chanel lipstick from when I was a kid. The whiff of the lipstick as she applied it before going out. Flashbacks. Chanel lipsticks don't smell powdery anymore, but I did save an empty tube or two from a few years ago simply because they did smell like that, the aura of old school, grown-up glamour.

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