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A peek into the world of Frédéric Malle

The First Twenty Years

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle turned twenty years old on June 6 this year. A BOOK has just been published by Rizzoli New York to pay homage to its founder and to its first twenty years. Here we offer you a glimpse, a little appetizer…

When the first advance copies of EDITIONS DE PARFUMS FREDERIC MALLE: THE FIRST TWENTY YEARS arrived at his Long Island home, Frédéric Malle tells us that he had a real emotional moment. A moment shared with the family, his wife and children. But this isn’t Frédéric Malle’s first book. 2011 saw the publication of FREDERIC MALLE: ON PERFUME MAKING illustrated by Konstantin Kakanias, which talks about each of the perfumes published by the house. But, this time, it’s different. As the title suggests, The First Twenty Years offers a retrospective look over the first twenty years of EDPFM. Twenty years of dedication to the creation and development of the first and only perfume publishing house in the world.

“The book is like an album of souvenirs. It retraces and gives an overview of twenty years of work, gradual development, adventures, and, of course, creation.”

He won’t say so, but the perfume publisher is proud and delighted to celebrate the first twenty years of the brand he founded in 2000. Frédéric Malle is a man who works by affinities. For the text of this book, he turned to French journalist Marion Vignal, a perfume lover and design specialist—two passions she shares with Malle. As for art direction, there was only one possible choice—Patrick Li, a hugely talented graphical designer who has collaborated with the house for more than a decade, and who has been artistic director of T: The New York Times Style Magazine since 2012.

Guided by his artistic side, Frédéric Malle wanted the book to be a kind of "luxury scrapbook," an album that contains a lot of images, because that's how he works personally. His relationship to things is extremely visual. This is why he insisted that, on the basis of the synopsis he worked on with Marion Vignal, Benjamin Bachelier illustrate the story of the creation of three legendary perfumes from Editions de Parfums: Musc Ravageur, French Lover and Portrait of a Lady, respectively signed in 2000 by Maurice Roucel, in 2007 by Pierre Bourdon and in 2010 by Dominique Ropion. Frédéric Malle thus delivers his "publishing adventures" to us in the form of comics, some excerpts of which we share with you here.

A glimpse inside the book

For readers, the first emotional moment comes with the preface, penned on January 6, 2020 by Jean-Claude Ellena, one of the star perfumers of Editions de Parfums, and an author himself. How better to begin EDPFM: The First Twenty Years than with this beautiful homage from a perfumer, in the name of all his colleagues, to the man who gave them the opportunity to exercise their talent in total freedom, and to be recognized as true artists?

Jean-Claude Ellena photographed by Brigitte Lacombe

Reading the book, we cannot help but be impressed. By the multiple talents of Frédéric Malle. By his apposite and singular vision. By the scale of his passion for perfume and the perfumer’s craft. We’re suddenly overcome by a paradoxical urge to drop a note to the perfume publisher or to whisper in his ear: “Looking forward to the next twenty years, and all the future masterpieces that will make up the perfume of our lives.”