A poppy and Kenzo go hand in hand. A symbol of the house’s fragrance empire, Flower By Kenzo launched in 2000 with unfathomed success. The original concept saw famed perfumer Alberto Morillas imagine the scent of a poppy – a scentless flower. Creating a powdery floral scent, it has remained beloved over the years. Welcoming in a new chapter, perfumer Amandine Marie discusses her story and the inspiration behind the house’s latest Flower by Kenzo scent – Eau de Lumière.
What drew you to the world of perfume?
Since I was a child, I have had a passion for perfume. My mother worked for an international fragrance house, and I would spend hours sitting next to her, learning, touching, and feeling raw ingredients. Creating perfume seems to be part of my DNA. My career ‘officially’ started in 2001, and I was pleased to join Firmenich in 2011.
What is your first memory of scent?
My earliest olfactive memories are of my grandfather’s home in Normandy where I wandered freely, discovering the natural world around me. I can still close my eyes and remember the pungent odors of grass and crumpled leaves bordering the garden pond with its wet, humid air – fresh, green, and aromatic. I also recall the smell of ripe apples which my grandfather made into his own beverage, a scent and taste I still love today.
How did you come to work with Kenzo?
The idea of inviting me in to bring a new vision into the successful Flower saga came from Alberto Morillas. I already enjoyed working with him on three other creations. I enjoyed the complicity we shared in this co-creation.
To you, who is the Kenzo woman?
Eau de Lumière was created for a confident and positive woman, with all the love that she can share. Joyful, serene, feminine, assertive, confident, and fragile at the same time, the radiant woman carries her own light, a fascinating magnetic energy. I imagine her surrounded by a luminous aura, but she is real!
Tell us about Flower by Kenzo Eau de Lumiere?
With Kenzo Eau de Lumière, the brand wanted to herald a new chapter in the fabulous history of Flower By Kenzo through a young and modern fragrance that brings the flower in the light. Like the poppy, light has no scent, but it evokes a sensation of beauty and strength. Light is life, it enables flowers to grow. Like no other, Eau de Lumière invents the radiant scent of light and continues to cultivate its free-spirit. Bursting with energy, the new dazzling Eau de Toilette is like a flash of emotion on the skin.
What inspires you when creating a new fragrance?
First and foremost, my inspiration is driven by raw materials. My palette as a perfumer offers me wide choice of high-quality ingredients which nourishes beautiful stories to tell. I particularly like the evaluation sessions during which we are presented with new qualities or even new ingredients. I dream up new accords and new combinations. My imagination knows no limits. Then, I would say meeting artists, whether they be designers or creative directors. I find it very stimulating to enter their world and share ideas with them. I truly admire Alberto’s passionate creative spirit full of energy, which also inspired me a lot as we crafted Kenzo Eau de Lumière.
What is your process?
One or two raw materials are my starting point, usually two. In the beginning, there is a specific accord that will give the signature its imprint. I start with strong character accords, unusual combinations of beautiful raw materials. With Alberto Morillas, we imagined the full spectrum of all lights for Eau de Lumière. Together we aimed to be surprising and we surprised each other in the incarnation of this creation. To illustrate this magical flower, Alberto let me reinterpret and create with my own emotions. I wanted to evoke a luminous energy, the luminous power of poppy. I could feel like a sculptor of the invisible.
Do you have a favorite ingredient to work with?
Rose is the most fascinating ingredient. Only the rose can offer such a multitude of facets and so many varieties. Perfumers have never ceased to explore roses and I doubt it will ever stop. Roses have all the qualities that can be expected in a perfume, and are, themselves, one of the most complex perfumes. Bulgarian rose is at the heart of the Flower By Kenzo saga. It is the central theme in all its fragrances. Grown in Bulgaria, in the valley of roses, it is a unique and noble ingredient. Its rich, sensual, and terribly feminine signature is identifiable among all others.