+ Portrait by Frederic Malle
Asking perfumers to work on the olfactory illustration of someone's world meant losing the closeness that Editions de Parfums had allowed us. The ease of communication between two perfume experts, and the fact that until now we did not have to be accountable to anyone, was to be replaced by a « ménage à trois »! From now on we were going to be fed with the world and the requirements of a creator foreign to our trade, but capable of enriching our creative process with his aesthetics, thoughts and ideas. It certainly made up for this breach in our intimacy.
I realized, during the 18 months that it took us to translate the world of Dries Van Noten into a single scent, how difficult it actually is to make a truly customized perfume. This is why I am convinced that the result of such combination of talents and energies had to be shared with the public.
That is the purpose of this new collection.
The designs of Dries van Noten have always made me think of those Nordic interiors, where baroque furniture and modern paintings, or other unexpected combinations, naturally come together. In this part of the world the clean style of each decor and the cool local light allow every element to fully express themselves. Dries Van Noten's world also shares with these very particular atmospheres a sense of comfort, never sacrificing to the idea of « style at any price », and never giving way to ostentation.
This aesthetic - composed of very diverse elements put side by side - and this sense of well-being are very close to the way I see my profession.
As soon as we decided to work together, my mission was to translate Dries Van Noten's world into a scent, all the while avoiding to simply translate a few individual elements of that rich alchemy into a scent, as Dries Van Noten's planet is too complex to be pinned down that way.
My first move was to ask Bruno Jovanovic to work on this project, as he is a great listener, his perfume technique allows him to master any subject, and he has a taste for warm scents that seemed adapted to my perception of Dries' desire. Then I tried to make Bruno understand the essence of Dries' world. I spoke about the different themes and recurrent materials that my hero often uses: Indian embroidery, XVIIIth century engravings, or the very graphic and colorful prints that he juxtaposes to create unexpected harmony - just like a perfumer does. I also told Bruno about the sober warmth of Flemish people - the world that Dries comes from - the softness of their cuisine and specifically of their deserts like waffles, speculoos biscuits or sugar tarts. I insisted that the sum of these elements generates the unique atmosphere that we needed to convey.
This is how Bruno came up with the idea of creating a perfume built around natural sandalwood, which he chose for its softness and its character, and the fact that it is simultaneously exotic and evocative of the tradition of « great classic perfumes ».
To the milky smell of Santal Mysore he added the vanilla sweetness of Flemish pastries with a hint of vanilla, ethyle maltol, sacrasol (sulfurol) and Peruvian balm. This monumental warmth is tempered by a large dose of jasmine absolute and a musk accord. A trace of saffron and patchouli gives this ensemble, already very distinct, a unique - almost leathery - vibration. An overdose of lemon and bergamot offers a boost to this particularly contemporary structure and gives it the timeless aspect of the great perfumes of the beginning of the XXth century.
This very short formula composed of very precious materials, generates a sober but distinct sensuality. It is, in my eyes, a fair parallel to Dries Van Noten's world.