“Perfume is a vector of very precise moments of life“

vor 3 years

Nathalie Gracia-Cetto is the creative head behind many perfumes.

Rouge by Comme des Garçons or Orange x Sandal for Essential Parfumes are just a few of her creations. She told us how to make a gender-neutral perfume, personality of scents and if the myth of “the one perfume” still exists…

Hello, Ms. Gracia-Cetto! Can you tell us what your favorite perfume is?
I don’t really have a favorite perfume. I prefer to say that some of the great perfumes, like Aromatics Elixir, Vent Vert or Femininity du Bois, are very important in my job as a perfumer.

How often do you change your fragrance?
In fact, I change perfume each day! Every day I wear one of my current creations to observe how it evolves on the skin.

What makes a fragrance unique?
For me, there are two important criteria that make a perfume unique: The wake and its simple and direct signature make a fragrance recognizable.

Your last fragrance, Rouge by Comme des Garçons, is an unisex fragrance. What is the difference of creating a gender-neutral perfume?
When I work on gender-neutral perfumes, I free myself from the classic codes of femininity and masculinity in perfumery. It is a form of olfactory freedom that is pleasant for a perfumer.

Is the search for (and the myth of) “the one, individual fragrance” still contemporary and relevant?
I think everyone wants to have their own personal fragrance, that’s why several brands are starting to offer bespoke perfumes.

How does one find their personal scent?
Perfume is an encounter, until the day you find the one that suits you by breaking the trends.

Especially in times of Covid and the shops being closed, it can be difficult to find a good fragrance. What can you recommend making the search for a perfume easier in these times?
You have to trust the olfactory history but especially according the ingredients that you like or not.

Does a fragrance still change after you buy it and as time goes on?
Yes of course, the perfume evolves on the skin and that’s good – the perfume will adapt to you.

The demand for room fragrances is also increasing. To what extent can perfumes, but also fragrance for home, influence our mental state?
Of course, scents can influence the mood and have physiological actions, also on memory. Perfume is a vector of very precise moments of life. That, is what makes it magical.

Are there certain smells that have a specific effect on one’s well-being? I’m thinking of lavender as an aid to falling asleep, for example.
Yes, it has a lot of wellbeing aromatic herbs. Lavender is a very good example. It soothes and relax.

Our relationship with luxury items is increasingly changing and more exclusive perfume brands such as Le Labo, Frederic Malle or Tom Ford seem more attainable and also more popular than ever before. How do you experience this?
This is a positive development as it pulls up the perfumery. And it’s also good that very qualitative and demanding brands are familiar for more people.

Would you say that perfumes are becoming a status symbol?
I think, consumers want to have a more intimate relationship with their perfumes. They will identify with it, it is a real meeting between a scent and a person. Perfume is no longer a lethal weapon to seduce. But a nice friend who makes you good and go with you every day.

That is beautifully said. Thank you!

Interview by Antonia Schmidt

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