Flaconneur's Perfume Blog
An informative interview with Frédéric Malle, the brains behind les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Malle is certainly not new to the industry but does present a new attitude to the art of perfume creation.
Frédéric Malle was no stranger to the perfume industry. He is the grandson of Dior Perfumes founder Serge Heftler. Malle was born in 1962 in Paris to a family intricately involved in the industry. Malle's mother even worked as an Art Director for Dior. It was just a matter of time before Frédéric Malle made his own mark.
Malle studied at the University of New York concentrating on Art History. Upon completion of his studies, Malle took a position at Roure Bertrand Dupont in 1988 and furthered his knowledge about raw materials and composition. Malle would learn the craft and traditions of perfume making but also meet some of the greatest contemporary perfumers of the time.
Malle has been a consultant to some well known perfume houses such as Christian Lacroix, Chaurmet, Hermès International. He also collaborated with Pierre Bourdon in 1996 on the fragrance Mark Birley for Men.
Malle seems adequately prepared for an adventure of his own and started his own label in 2000 called les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Malle acts more like the curator who invites famous perfumers to create fragrances without boundaries of price. They also have only the best raw materials at their disposal. The perfumers are allowed as much time as necessary to work on their creations and they are free from the restrictions imposed by brands and marketers. The idea that the process of perfume creation was directly being effected by designer branding was a concern of Malle's. Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle label was his way of combating this growing market. It was also a way of putting some of the best noses in the industry to the task or creating without limitation. Some of the most famous perfumers in the industry have created fragrances under the Frédéric Malle brand including: Pierre Bourdon, Jean-Claude Ellena, Edovard Fléchler, Olivia Blacobetti, Dominique Ropion, Maurice Roucel, Edmond Roudnitska, Michael Roudnitska and Ralf Schwieger.
Many aspects of Frédéric Malle's brand was different that what was previously done in the fragrance industry. He was the first to advertise the name of the perfumer by printing directly on the bottle's label. Usually these men and women remain anonymous or they might be connected with the creation of the fragrance but not given credit due. Malle prefers to give credit where credit is due.
Malle's New York's Upper East Side store opened in 2009 as his first free-standing location in the United States. The store's interior was designed by Patrick Naggar. Malle took interest in 898 Madison Avenue while studying at the University of New York some 25 years earlier. Interestingly enough, Naggar's interior included items from Malle's own family collection, including a desk and chair that was his grandfather's, Serge Heftler. Included in this somewhat Art Deco inspired interior or modern elements including, Malle's smelling columns and refrigerators that house the perfume collection.
The Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle brand is featured in select department store world wide. The current line consists of 19 fragrances with the latest release in 2010. The line is expanding to offer such products as candles, soaps and body products with the same standards he upholds as curator of perfumes.
Malle currently is celebrating the debut release of his book entitled "Frédéric Malle on Perfume Making". In the book, Malle reveals many never-before-seen photographs and personal notes about each of his fragrances. There are also fragrance formulas that outline their ingredients. “This book was a great opportunity to show this business the way it is rather than romanticizing it to death like everybody does,” Malle says. “It’s really very beautiful just the way it is.”
Malle lives in New York and travels back to Paris on occasion.
There are two basic skin types, dry and oily. Most fair-skinned and light haired people tend to have drier skin. This skin type can have trouble with fragrance longevity and generally they need to reapply after a few hours. This is because the fragrance is absorbed by the skin due to the skin's dryness.
On the other, hand brunettes generally have oilier skin with more natural moisture. Oiler skin will hold fragrance for many hours without any longevity issues. Generally, brunettes should be careful of this and apply less fragrance.
Acidity or alkalinity, otherwise known as pH levels, are different from person to person. The amount of acidity in you skin will also effect how a fragrance's ingredients will react with your body chemistry. A healthy normal skin pH is slightly acidic at pH 4 - 6.4, a neutral pH is pH 7 and an alkaline pH is usually pH 7 or above. Fragrances can smell differently on skin that is alkaline (pH 7 or above). They can be directly effected or altered by this alkaline pH in the skin. This is one reason that testing fragrances directly on the skin is the best evaluations to whether you truly like the scent. When testing on paper, you are not experiencing the fragrance's interaction with the pH of your skin.
There is a non-medical reason that skin can have an alkaline pH. Some bar soaps are actually alkaline. There are a few manufacturers that offer non alkaline soap such as Cetaphil, which is specifically made for people with dry skin. Alkaline bar soaps can upset your skin's natural balance. Medical conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and diabetes are the most common conditions that can lower the pH of a persons skin.
One method to make a fragrance last longer, especially for fair-skinned people, is to moisturize the skin before applying your fragrance. It is suggested that you choose a moisturizer that is unscented. This way you will not layer too many different scents on top of one another and subsequently combine your fragrance unintentionally. This method can be used by anyone that has an issue with fragrance holding to their skin.
One way to keep everyone happy about your zest for wearing fragrances is to practice the Perfume Bubble theory. People should not be able to smell your fragrance before they actually see you. If people can smell your fragrance in less than an arm's reach, you've applied too much.
It has been a while since I've regulary perused the Parfumo site. LIfe seems to keep me busy with other things. In the long run, as this fragrance inactivity has save my wallet. I have a list of new fragrances to test and subsequently reviews to write, so stay tuned.