Tell Me Your Perfume,
I’ll Tell You Who You Are
According to the creator of Editions de Parfums, there is a very clear connection between the perfume worn by an individual and their personality, their own particular attraction.
Frédéric Malle has taken an interest in perfume since his childhood. The perfume of flowers, the scents of houses, of the wind, of leather or of exercise books, but of course, above all, the per-fume of people.
A great seducer at heart but very shy, as an adolescent and a young man Malle would use his observation of the perfumes worn by girls he met to work out who he was dealing with.
Later on, when he joined the Roure perfume lab, he developed this purely instinctive observation into something more rational, finding that he was able to decode the parallels and interactions between the composition of a perfume and the character of a person.
When he founded Editions de Parfums in 2000, Frédéric Malle decided to make a system of his principle of correspondence: “Tell me your perfume, and I’ll tell you who you are.”
Not only does he want to constantly innovate perfume, continually pushing its limits thanks to the perfumers’ talents, but his other quest is to bring to each and every one the perfumes that will complement their identity, become one with their personality. Perfumes of the soul and heart which highlight the singularity of each individual.
There is nothing worse than perfumes that please everyone—constructed according to the lowest common denominator. For Frédéric Malle, while perfume always has a function, it also tells a story about the person who wears it. You can choose a perfume to conquer—the world, a special person—or on the contrary you can choose a perfume to provide comfort, to bring you back to yourself.
Created by ultra-talented and exacting perfumers who work on their creations as artists, the perfumes of the collection each have their own personality. All singular, they are made to touch different types of people and to answer to different uses. In the end, the freedom granted to the perfumers results in a richness and diversity that means everyone will find a perfume in the collection to suit them perfectly.
This is why Frédéric Malle has always recognized the crucial importance of how perfumes are sold in his boutiques. Finding the right match between perfume and individual calls for a perfume consultant who acts as a decoder, a guide for each customer. As the collection has grown over twenty years, this advisory role has become ever more important, whether delivered in person in the boutiques or on the website.
A mischievous Frédéric Malle tells us that his nocturnal life, particularly during the heyday of the great Parisian nightclub Le Palace, was real education for him that would stand him in good stead in later years. From his experiences as a night owl he drew numerous analyses that enabled him to set out a kind of sociological map.
This is also one of the reasons why he does not believe in trends, and will have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Take for example the release in 2000 of Musc Ravageur, a perfume that screamed sensuality at a time when the trend was toward ozonic perfumes like l’Eau d’Issey, or florals such as Dior J’adore…
Lipstick Rose, launched the same year, was a perfume both very colorful and very tender, gesturing toward a femininity of “shocking pink” softness inspired by Nastassja Kinski in Paris, Texas. For Iris Poudre, also in 2000, it was a matter of creating a sort of voluptuous warmth contrasted with a sharp freshness, suggesting a highly restrained femininity like that of Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour.
With En Passant, it was the idea of a natural purity: the evocation of a kind of hypermodern innocence that is a far cry from the blurry and outdated style of David Hamilton’s photographs, for instance. The attraction of L’Eau d’Hiver lies elsewhere: what prevails here is the desire to treat yourself well, to perfume yourself for your own comfort. A timeless perfume for those who live in their own world. Very different characters from those who are drawn to Carnal Flower, a perfume of sophisticated seduction which plays brilliantly with the figure of a contemporary femme fatale. Noir Épices is yet another story, more androgynous this time: a perfume that has all the attributes of a men’s perfume, but is so sophisticated and elegant that it becomes feminine. A perfume that echoes a very French idea of elegance, in the image of Betty Catroux in her Yves Saint Laurent tux…