“Curated by Colette,” a new concept developed by the Paris store Colette and fragrance laboratory Symrise, is attempting to add some personality and rejuvenation to the contemporary perfume market — not by hiring tabloid fodder, but instead collaborating with three Colette favorites: the small design houses As Four, Bless, and Hussein Chalayan.
Working with Symrise perfumers Mark Buxton in Paris and Frank Volkl in New York, each label managed to put their own highly personal spin on what a perfume should be — and the results, unsurprisingly, are all quite different. Chalayan used
his transnational background as inspiration and focused on travel and transition, an olfactory journey, if you will, departing from foggy London’s Victoria Station and arriving in warm, exotic Istanbul, with a structured scent that mixes bergamot, rose, and tea leaves with camphoric patchouli and cedarwood. The bottle presentation is based on airmail packaging.
Bless duo Désirée Heiss and Inès Kaag wanted to produce something more personal, something that reflected their daily, immediate environment. To wit, Nutella, tea, shampoo, and spices are evoked by the mixture of cardamom, ginger, geranium, and thyme; the effect, as the pair wished, is somehow more akin to an experience than a seductive scent. Likewise, As Four wanted to use specifically personal ingredients to express who they were, but they also wanted to create a new classic. With Frank Volkl, the trio mixed vetiver, ginger, and orris root and put the potion in a bottle with a rubber band marked “Three As Four,” to reinforce the fact that the original four are now three.
Symrise — which has created such scents as Fahrenheit and Dune for Dior, L’Instant de Guerlain, and Marc by Marc Jacobs, rarely, if ever, works one-on-one with designers when it produces scents (which says a lot about the state of designer perfume, especially when you read the sound bites). As Olivier Perrard, Symrise’s general director, noted, such close collaboration between perfumer and designer is “a sort of luxurious experience because today, time in itself is a luxury and each has made time for the other in a spirit of mutual creativity.”
The three “Curated by Colette” scents are available in 50ml spray bottles for 50EU, each perfume in a limited-edition run of 300 bottles, exclusive to Colette.
Photos: Hussein Chalayan, Bless, and As Four perfumes for Colette