Below are a couple of excerpts from an interview with Serge Lutens published in Stakes & Professions in Perfumery, a compilations of essays from perfume industry professionals published by Éditions d’Assalit in 2007. For those interested in the professions available in the perfume industry, this book would prove to be useful. More than a few dozen of essays in the volume were written by various industry journalists, researchers, creative directors and perfumers like Jean-Luc Ansel, Jean-Pierre Subrenat, Frédéric Malle, Christophe Laudamiel, Patricia de Nicolai and Thierry Wasser. The introduction is written by Michael Edwards. More information about the book is available from The Fragrance Foundation. …
You have a very special place in perfumery, probably unique. What is your background and what were your first steps in the wake of the perfume?
My life is twisted where my images, decors, perfumes, and options took shape. I have no real background and it could probably be said that I am a very curious autodidact. My first perfume is Nombre Noir in 1980, its name and its principle were stated by its colour: black on black, no gilding, a revolution in the field of packaging! The first big step ahead where I stamp my tastes starts with Féminité du Bois (creation date, 1990), a perfume with cedar, not used then in female perfumery and offering a refined vision, new, identity obsessed, leaving the sinuous roads of commercial marketing, “the first prize”. Route de Cèdre discovered in Marrakech, starting with Féminité du Bois and finishing like a character from Proust made up of lies which give my truth: Cèdre, Serge Lutens (launched in 2005).
We know that you live in Marrakech. When your creations are mentioned, and one smells them, one word is conjured up immediately: the Orient. Do you challenge this? If not, where do you find your sources?
I have only one idea: I am revealed by my truth. Marrakech is a choice; I chose it, it chose me. The Orient for me, is a sparkle. The sun rises in the East; it is the Orient! One says that a pearl, when perfect in its glitter and purity, is an orient. Morocco gave me the taste of perfume, of a sense which was only waiting to give its sense.
“Creation, a Source of Revelation: An Interview with Serge Lutens,” Stakes & Professions in Perfumery, p. 156, 2007. Image of Serge Lutens’s photography from Lumiere.