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Haute Couture Fragrance Armani Noir Kogane Explores the Art of Kintsugi

Armani Noir Kogane

Photo: courtesy Armani

A tantalizing new fragrance from Armani/Privé and perfumer Sophie Labbé, Noir Kogane explores the artful concept of kintsugi through perfumery, with precious notes including an exclusive vetiver and rich red saffron. Paired with Blanc Kogane, a luminous musk and jasmine fragrance encased in an ivory flacon by perfumer Benoist Lapouza, the new duo joins the Les Terres Précieuses collection. The two haute couture fragrance releases are currently being presented at the spectacular L’Exposition Édition Nomade exhibition from January 9 to 14 at the Dubai Opera Garden. Perfumer for Armani Noir Kogane, Labbé speaks with Vogue Arabia’s Beauty Editor, Michaela Somerville, about the intriguing concept of kintsugi pottery and how the art inspired her approach to creating this newest fragrance.

How did you first approach this new composition?
When I started to work on this project, I really wanted to keep in mind all the values and the code of Armani/Privé that are excellent, the refinement and the uniqueness. Each ingredient is carefully selected for their exclusive quality. It is really a personal collection for Mr Armani, so they are immersing us in the memories, experiences and feelings of Mr Armani. There are pieces of heart, vision, and imagination in this project.

Armani Noir Kogane

Photo: courtesy Armani 

Tell us about the kintsugi concept.
Kintsugi is about revealing beauty from something that has been broken. It’s the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, with gold, so it becomes something new but still beautiful. I have admired the idea for many years and I have experienced it myself. Once I had received as a gift some beautiful plates, but they were broken at one point. I was so sad, I could not really throw these pieces away. So I decided to create a photo frame with these pieces, so I could keep on enjoying the beauty of the originals. When you have a beautiful piece of art that you love, you don’t want to throw it away even if it’s broken.

How has kintsugi influnced Armani Noir Kogane?
For the creation of the perfume, I really followed the same path and the principles of kintsugi. I decided to use the saffron, usually we call it the red gold in perfumery. It’s very expensive, and when you think of these little pieces of saffron, I realized that it could unify the scent, taking all the ingredients I had chosen for the formula and consolidating them. In the top of the fragrance, I have a beautiful quality of elemi and I realized that the addition of the saffron gives a lot of texture. It is much fresher, but it’s also very peppery and a little bit aromatic. And then in the heart, I have beautiful olibanum, which is a very dear ingredient to Mr Armani.

Sophie Labbé. Photo: courtesy Armani

The fragrance embodies an idea of contrasts, like as with kintsugi?
Yes, with the combination of the saffron and olibanum, there was this very interesting contrast of cold and warm, you have a lot of tension. It gives an interesting contrast in the heart and also in the dry down with the base. The saffron has polished this leathery note and it really gives the fragrance its mystery.

The vetiver used in both Noir Kogane and Blanc Kogane is also very precious, can you tell us about this note?
The vetiver used by Giorgio Armani is very special, the essence is extracted from the root in an intense method where it is distilled for 10 hours straight after harvesting, to keep its pureness. I really wanted to work with this specific vetiver which has been selected for its pure quality. It gives you the feeling of freshness and sparkles, and also the smoky earthiness, all in one note. Vetiver to me is really the scent of the earth. It’s deep, it’s grounded, it’s the soil. But then also it’s super precious, it’s exclusive. Combining with the other ingredients, it gives something very special. I think really that this ingredient, together with the saffron, they totally embodied the name of this collection, Les Terres Précieuses.

How does Noir Kogane pair with Blanc Kogane?
They both have the inspiration of the kintsugi, but there is also the vetiver used throughout that links them. Despite the connections, there’s also the contrasts.

How will Noir Kogane appeal to women in the Middle East, who of course are very discerning with their fragrances?
First, this fragrance is powerful, which is a very important point for the region. It’s also very precious because of this elemi heart which is really tailor-made to the perfume concept. Of course the saffron, which is the gold of perfume, is so valued here in the region.

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