Master perfumer Frederic Malle celebrates the 20th anniversary of Editions de Parfums. Revered by fragrance connoisseurs and lovers alike, he created his namesake label to offer total creative freedom to the world’s greatest perfumers. Such names as Jean-Claude Ellena, Pierre Bourdon, Maurice Roucel, Anne Filipo, and Dominique Ropion have all penned their names to juices. Highlighting some of the collections best-selling blends like Carnal Flower and Portrait of a lady the celebration saw the release of limited-edition bottles. Here, Frederic Malle talks about the past, present, and future.
How has the world of fragrance changed in the past two decades?
I think that when I started the company the perfume industry was exclusively focusing on “one size fits all” perfumes that were adapted to self-service distribution. Since then, many artisanal companies opened for better or worse and with different fortunes and different levels of professionalism. More artisanal perfume companies opened their doors and created an alternative to what’s now considered mass-market perfumery.
What has been your greatest achievement within the world of fragrance in the past 20 years?
Putting perfumers forward by having them sign their own perfumes for the first time in history. Bringing back luxury to the world of perfumery and publishing some of the most memorable perfumes.
Has there been anything that has surprised you in terms of technology or trends?
No, nothing in the last 20 years except for what is truly surprising, although I was very happy to see, that some very interesting new natural raw materials were proposed to us and allowed us to create very novel perfumes. Raw materials such as the new vetiver that we used in Vetiver Extraordinaire, the bitter orange essence that we used in Bigarade. The molecularly distilled tuberose that we use in Carnal Flower and the Timut pepper that we used in Rose & Cuir. The molecularly distilled Turkish rose that we use in Portrait of a Lady. All of these are extraordinary raw materials that were premiered by Editions de Parfums perfumers.
Where do you see the world of fragrance in the next 20 years?
As always, the more personal and the more specific perfumes will prevail. And as always, new trends will be generated by new raw materials coming out of chemical labs. These are good surprises to look forward to.
What advice would you give to upcoming perfumers and noses?
To remain curious, to stick to their dreams, and to work very hard to be able to turn them into perfumes. This is a job which is so difficult, that success never comes without hard work.