Choosing The Right Scent: Artisan Perfumer Frederic Malle of Edition de Parfums Answers it All
Tired of the same old scent? Interested in wearing a fragrance that has been personalized and created just for you?
Customized scents are a growing trend in the fragrance industry. While it is a cottage industry that has been around for a long time, more companies than perhaps ever before are now offering custom-ordered, personalized fragrances, including Scent Design, Esens, Neil Morris Fragrances and Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle.
So how do you navigate the process of finding your own personalized fragrance? To find out these answers, Luxist consulted with Frédéric Malle, world renowned artisan perfumer and founder of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, a Paris-based fragrance company.
Malle advises clients first to be prepared to dig deep into their imagination. Indeed, an artisan perfumer will ask you many questions to find out about your personality and desires.
Edition de Parfums is able to match the perfect fragrance for each client by having them first complete an in-depth questionnaire personally created by Malle. The questionnaire gives potential consumers the ease to tap into their imagination as they answer each question. The first question it asks clients to answer is "Do you have any particular desire at the moment?" Other questions include, "Why do you wear perfume?" (To seduce, refresh, add a final touch, etc.); "Is the perfume for yourself, or another or for all others?"; and "Which perfumes have most marked you?". The questionnaire inquires about the style of clothing a client will wear (formal attire, evening dress, city wear, sport, country, etc.) with the perfume and about his or her favorite clothing brands. Edition de Parfums also considers the weather and climate of where the client lives. The questionnaire can be filled out in Edition de Parfums stores or conveniently on line.
"Filling out the questionnaire on line is very similar to the experience that you would have when you walk in the store," says Malle. "It's almost better. Sometimes people want to fantasize about themselves and introduce themselves in the best way. For example when we ask 'what designers you wear?' on our website there are more people who wear Prada then Zara. People either answer the questions honestly or they may give an idealized version of themselves. It's fine to introduce yourself on the website in a slightly improved way other than reality because it gives us the style that you like best, not whether you can afford the style you like best."
"If you tell me that you want to buy a fragrance because you do a lot of running and after going to the gym and you need to feel refreshed before going into the office I won't point you towards the same fragrance as someone who tells me 'listen.... I just changed boyfriends and we go out every night and I want to be as attractive as possible after 9:00 pm...' It's a different deal," Malle adds.
The art of perfume is a science and artisan perfumers are experienced chemists who understand the complexities of chemical compounds. For a perfumer to create one single fragrance it can take upwards to one year to develop and perfect. This is not an easy or simple process. Before seeking out a fragrance that is specific to your needs, first find a perfume publisher with accreditation and experience (such as Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle). An experienced perfumer will compile information to "match your personality" with a fragrance that will be selected especially for you.
Malle, for example, has been a "perfume publisher" for more than 23 years. He was born into the world of perfume and is the grandson of Serge Heftler, founder of Dior Perfumes. In 1986 he joined the prestigious perfume laboratories of Roure Bertrand Dupont. There, he formed the foundation to cultivate his craft and befriended some of the world's most renowned noses thereby setting the stage for his future role as a creator of Edition de Parfums. Malle approached the best perfumers in the business who agreed to put their names one what eventually became some of their finest creations. Edition de Parfums was conceived in 2000.
Malle explained the inner workings of his company. "We have 18 different fragrances, all of which are very different from one another," he says. "There are so many options that could fit different personalities. This company works on two levels. One level we have the best fragrance creators who come up with very specific works of art. The second is at our stores or on our website where we do "match-making". We try to match the right person to the right fragrances within the collection."
The likelihood of walking into an accredited and experienced perfumery to make an inquiry about creating a personalized fragrance is close to zero. The process of creating a fragrance is so intricate and time consuming that most genuine perfumers do not offer this service. Edition de Parfums is one of the few perfumeries that takes the time to consult with each and every client to provide them with a fragrance that is customized to fit every facet of their individuality.
"It takes a year to get a fragrance right," says Malle. "So I don't see how it is possible for a sales person in any store could make a good fragrance in ten minutes. It is just impossible. It is a very long and tedious process and anyone that says otherwise would be lying."
Edition de Parfums fragrances can be purchased online or at one of its boutiques around the world. Fragrances range in price (depending on the scent) from 80 EUR ($108) to 130 EUR ($175) for a 50 ml perfume spray and 115 EUR ($155) to 200 EUR ($269) for a 100 ml spray. Soaps, shower gels and body lotions are also available for purchase. Edition de Parfums boutiques are located in Paris and New York.