Paolo Castelli Code

MADE-TO-MEASURE TAKES OVER PERFUMERY

7 Marzo 2019

A journey through the most exclusive fragrances and the places where they are created.

Tailor made suits curated in every single detail by the client’s taste and the tailor’s expertise, customised cars that can be personalised in all their aspects, from the colour intensity to the seats’ stitching, restaurants that involve clients in the creation of a dish allowing them to choose the ingredients and their quantities according to their taste. Personalisation starts with the research of specific elements, materials and ingredients necessary to create something unique, up to the actual production that is carefully created following the client’s style choices and necessities. The possibility of making something one’s own, shaping it according to personal taste, is now something achievable in many aspects of our lives. It satisfies a feeling of exclusivity showing traits, characteristics and sides of a personality perhaps never seen before.

Yet there is one product that above all we consider to be the most characterizing and unique for every one of us, even without its personalisation. It’s something that leads us to discover, recognise, love, hate, dream and remember, and that tells each one of us apart from the other being different every time: perfumes.

The art of perfumery dates back to centuries ago, yet its spread considerably grew during the renaissance period thanks to the introduction of chemistry, catching then on in European courts starting from the Eighteenth century, when the first perfumery maisons were born, some of which still exist today.

One of the oldest, still leading the market today, is Creed. Founded in London back in 1760, the maison soon became loved by the British court and other courts all over Europe. Its original and refined fragrances were appreciated by Franz Joseph and Elizabeth of Austria and Hungary, Queen Cristina of Spain and Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie, and it was for their will that the maison moved to Paris under their protection in the second half of the Nineteenth century. The creation of made-to-measure perfumes for the international jet-set is funded in their origins, and in their many years of activity they can praise to have designed fragrances loved by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, United States president John Fitzgerald Kennedy and style icon Audrey Hepburn. The maison is today led by Olivier Creed, exceptional perfumer and sixth descendant of the family who, as incredible as it may seem, personally creates all of his fragrances. The meticulous research of natural ingredients and the decision to follow the traditional production techniques, make the timings dedicated to research and travels a consistent part of the process necessary to the creation of a fragrance, making the waiting list for the production of a personalised perfume quite long. In the meantime, the maison offers exclusive fragrances for him and for her. One of the most iconic, Green Irish Tweed, is said to have been created in the Seventies for a client of the cinema industry. Thanks to the delicate mix of violet, sandal, amber and iris, it’s the perfect fragrance to be worn from a walk in the countryside to one on the red carpet.

Another iconic fragrance house still active today is the French maison Guerlain, founded in 1828. Among the well-known fragrances of the maison, one of the most iconic is Vétiver, unique for its interesting contrast between freshness and warmth, harmony and chaos that evoke the fascinating dualism of nature. Other than the collection, the maison offers the possibility of creating made-to-measure perfumes, a tradition that started with the founder Pierre-François-Pascal, who created exclusive perfumes upon request of his upper-class clients such as Balzac. The tradition has gone on till today, and the creation of a bespoke fragrance by the maison is a real masterpiece. The process starts with the director of perfume development who guides the client with her flawless intuition into a magical sensorial journey at Maison Guerlain in Avenue des Champs-Élysées or during a special consultation upon request. Through the understanding of the feelings and desires of the client, she translates feelings into scents, and then passes them on to the perfumer who then creates the perfume of a lifetime. At the end of the process, that lasts about one year, the client receives his or her fragrance in quantities that correspond to five years of usage: various bottles of which one 500ml bottle made of baccarat crystal. For those who are intimidated by the length of the process, the maison offers another solution: The Private Collection. A series of about ten original fragrances, each one can be owned by one person only in the world. In fact, as soon as they are chosen, they are removed from the collection.

Another excellence of perfumery is hidden in the core of Italian Renaissance. The atelier of Florentine perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi is nested on the top floor of an ancestral family-owned house located in Via de Bardi, symbol of the most ancient and noble part of the city. This is where, between bottles and ampoules placed on the olive tree wooden shelves, Villoresi creates his art where the colours of Tuscany meet the spices and essences of the East. It is during a travel in the beginning of the Eighties that Villoresi discovered his passion for fragrances, and this same experience gave life to Alamut, a fragrance that tells the story of a warm journey in the East, created with exotic flowers that remind of hidden gardens, rose and jasmine that infuse sensuality and Ylang Ylang, amber, musk and patchouli that lead to a deep state of meditation. At the base of the blends created by the artist, who has been collaborating with the excellence of Italian craftmanship since the beginning to create unique masterpieces, we can find crystal, alabaster from Volterra, marble from Carrara and Florentine leather. The collections signed by his name are available in many countries worldwide, but the essence of the craftmanship is treasured in his atelier, where Villoresi still creates bespoke fragrances upon appointment. The latest project of the maison is the creation of an academy and museum dedicated to fragrances in the family-owned building. The museum will allow to get closer to this fascinating world through different sensorial experiences. The academy on the other hand, is the meeting point between an atelier, a training centre and a riad with its own secret garden, that will host courses and events dedicated to the art of perfumery. The goal is to involve a wide and varied audience, from insiders, students and professionals of the restaurant business to the youngest ones, opening up a door to endless feelings.

As much as fragrances are already strictly connected to a world of senses and personalities, made-to-measure perfumery really allows a story to be told first-hand, on one’s own skin. Exclusive journeys where the excellence of art meets enchanted spaces, giving life to a unique and perfumed experience.