Artists & Perfumers: 106 posts

Articles about perfumers, artists and other interesting personalities. Also, please see Interviews.

Perfumers on Perfume : Archives from the Osmotheque

I was preparing the materials for my ISIPCA lectures when I remembered a wonderful series of articles that the Osmothèque kindly made available to me. These articles were Ernest Beaux and Ernest Shiftan, two legendary perfumers representing different styles and times. Re-reading them made me realize once again how cultured and thoughtful were these great creators–and how much effort they put into each accord. One other article in the series was written by a perfumer Robert Bienaimé about Paul Parquet, the author of Fougère Royale and Le Parfum Idéal. The articles were translated into English by Will Inrig, so many thanks to him as well.

ErnestBeaux1-osmotheque-300chanel

I hope that you will enjoy reading these articles, if you haven’t done so already. Or perhaps, it’s time to revisit them. They’re as enjoyable and relevant as ever.

Perfumers on Perfume : Ernest Beaux on Fragrance Masterpieces

Perfumers on Perfume : Paul Parquet

Perfumers on Perfume : Ernest Shiftan

If you have any other historical topics that you would like me to explore, please let me know in the comments.

Perfume Treasure in Sicily Boudoir 36

Spend a day in Catania, a baroque jewel on the east coast of Sicily, and you will understand why Boudoir 36, an artisanal perfume boutique, is such a great fit for this exuberant city. Every scent, taste and color seems more intense—jasmine draping the building facades, oranges piled into ziggurats on the sidewalks, and even the blue of the sky with a dark triangle of Mount Etna. The perfume selection at Boudoir 36 can rival the finest boutiques in Paris and London, but its flamboyance and opulence are uniquely Sicilian.

Once behind the heavy red curtain of Boudoir 36, you leave behind the bustle of Via Santa Filomena and discover a calm, dark oasis. ‘Boudoir’ is an appropriate name; the boutique is small, only 22 square meters, and it has the intimate ambiance of a private salon. There are shelves upon shelves of perfume bottles, crystal glasses of scent strips, gilded candles, and soaps wrapped in colorful paper. Flowers spill out of vases in baroque arrangements and crystal chandeliers cast a soft glow over the antique furniture.

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In Memory of Olivier Pescheux

I was saddened to learn that perfumer Olivier Pescheux passed away on July 10 in Paris after battling a long illness. He was only 57 years old, too young to leave us. Olivier was one of the first perfumers I met when I first became interested in fragrance, and he was supportive of my interest. I found him down-to-earth and charismatic.

Born in Paris in 1966, Olivier started his perfumery career in Bangkok after graduating from ISIPCA. He also worked at Annick Goutal and Kao Corporation, but most of his work was done at Givaudan. Olivier was well known for his expressive, distinctive style and his successful masculine fragrances. It was he who designed the best-selling Paco Rabanne One Million scent.

Some of Olivier’s most interesting work can be found at Diptyque where he created Orphéon, Fleur de Peau, and Eau Mohéli. I also suggest trying Parfums de Marly Herod, Montblanc Explorer, and Roberto Cavalli Precious Leather. Olivier’s style lent itself to fragrances of different genres and types. “I want my fragrance to tell a story, but above all, I want to make the wearer feel good,” he told during one of our last meetings in Paris. Olivier, you will be missed.

My condolences to Olivier’s family and his colleagues.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

In Tribute to Lviv: Lonely Mozart in Lemberg and Reflections on Solitude

On Thursday, Russia launched a missile attack on Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, about 60 km from the Polish border. A jewel of Renaissance art, Lviv has a long history. Today it stands in mourning, grieving over the lives lost in the bombardment. Some of its beautiful buildings are in ruin. A few years ago, I spent a memorable time in Lviv with my mother and fell in love with the city. Below is my tribute to its fin-de-siècle allure–and the nostalgic beauty that unities Lviv with another gorgeous city on the other side of the border, Kraków.

In 1808 Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart, the youngest son of the famous composer, traveled to Lemberg. Today it’s Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, but when the eighteen year old pianist was packing his sheet music and books and setting off on his journey, it was located in Galicia, an entity created by Joseph II after the partition of Poland in 1772. (It was the same Joseph that commented about the Marriage of Figaro, “too many notes, Mozart.”) While young Mozart was aware that he was trading Vienna for the provinces, he was in dire straits. Lemberg seemed like a promising place for a pianist to build his career and return to the capital. Mozart ended up staying for more than two decades.

Young Mozart’s early letters to his family were filled with mentions of his “loneliness [Einsamkeit].” He acutely felt the Galician isolation and complained that his inspiration was deserting him. He envisioned all of the brilliant conversations he could have experienced in Vienna society, the music, the books, the arts, and despaired of finding anything similar in Lemberg. Franz Mozart’s output over his lifetime was indeed small, yet, what becomes obvious is how much he drew on the local surroundings and how creatively he interpreted them.

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The Original Miss Dior : Catherine Dior

Today’s article is written by Joan Ramirez, an ESL educator and author. Right now she is writing a historical suspense series that begins in occupied Paris in WWII and continues to present day. She is researching her new novel and the material in the article comes from the work she has been doing in the preparation. Perfume will have a role in the novel.

While she was the sister of Christian, the brilliant creator of the fashion House of Dior, Catherine Dior was a class act in a league of her own choosing. Born Ginette Dior on 2 August 1917, she later took Catherine as her name. At the age of fourteen, Catherine lost her mother, Madeleine Dior, to septicemia following an operation. She’d developed her love of fragrance from her mother. Her father, Maurice Dior, lost the family’s fortune in the Wall Street crash of 1929. The young Catherine had to accompany her father from her grand childhood home in Normandy to a small farmhouse in Provence.

Christian and Catherine were in Provence by the time Paris fell to Nazi occupation and France signed the Armistice on June 22,1940 with Germany. On a fateful day in November of 1941, Catherine bought a radio in Cannes. It enabled her to listen to Radio Londres, a station operated from the BBC by members of the Resistance to their supporters in occupied France. Around that time Catherine met Hervé des Charbonneries, an early member of the Resistance and fell in love. By the end of the year, Catherine joined him in a Parisian Resistance network.

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Latest Comments

  • Kathy in Alaia Paris by Azzedine Alaia : Perfume Review: I love this perfume, I cannot smell it when I first put it on, but I have never had so many good comments about how it smells on me. I… June 20, 2024 at 4:26am

  • BeckyR in Recommend Me a Perfume: May 2024: Hi Cat~ You are so welcome. The Lanvin ‘Arpege’ is definitely a keeper imo…Lanvin also makes ‘Arpege Eclat’ which is lighter and fresher than the original ‘Arpege’…in any case I’ve… June 18, 2024 at 8:13pm

  • Sara C in Coffee and Flowers: It feels like nobody loves Cafe Rose by Tom Ford but I adore this fragrance and I get the coffee (I have an old formulation), sandalwood, and a bright rose.… June 18, 2024 at 2:37pm

  • Aurora in Coffee and Flowers: I never had the pleasure to try Café Tuberosa, you make it sound very interesting. Not a fan of coffee in fragrance, I think only in Faviol Seferi Insomnia where… June 18, 2024 at 11:04am

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