A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a virtual masterclass with Frederic Malle and perfumer Anne Flipo all about the brand’s latest launch Synthetic Jungle. I was intrigued by the fragrance, of course (we will get on to that soon – patience please) but I was also curious about the name. Given all of the scaremongering around materials in perfumery – you know what I mean, the false narratives around chemicals being bad (literally everything is a chemical, oy), that natural is better (simply not true) and that clean beauty is a thing (I don’t even know where to start with this one) it seems somewhat brave to release a fragrance with “synthetic” in the name. I asked M. Malle whether the name was a statement and he, without hesitation said yes, it is.
In response, he told me that there is a misconception that synthetic materials are bad and naturals are good, adding that people don’t understand that interesting perfume started because of synthetics (it’s true, we wouldn’t have modern perfumery as it is today without aroma chemicals). As he explains, Synthetic Jungle’s name seeks to remind people that perfume is a paradox, and that synthetic materials are required to recreate the smells of nature. This is exactly what Synthetic Jungle achieves – a beautifully natural smelling perfume, evocative of a lush jungle, and made with a mixture of both natural and synthetic materials.
Now, moving past the name, what about Synthetic Jungle the perfume? This is the result of a long creative flirtation between Frederic Malle and Anne Flipo, where the former spent quite some in the corridors of IFF convincing the latter to work with him. The starting point for their fragrant collaboration was the green fragrances of the 1970s, specifically Estée Lauder’s Private Collection, which served as inspiration. Synthetic Jungle is Frederic Malle and Anne Flipo’s rendition of the green chypre accord – a simplified, modernised version that isolates the green accord and amplifies it with intense floralcy. The result? An accessible take on green that feels operatic in its execution.
Iconic, game changing, history making, and totally awesome luxury perfume brand Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. We’re big a fan of the brand here at Fume Chat so we thought we’d gatecrash the party and say “bon anniversaire” by chatting all things Frédéric Malle and of course, sniffing some of our favourites. Listen to the episode below the jump!
Candy Crush is where I write about scent-related things that I’m currently obsessed with.
This week my Candy Crush is a celebratory limited edition from Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the brand for a second. Celebrating 20 years this year, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is perhaps the most important and game-changing perfume brand to launch this side of the millennium. From its launch in 200, Malle brought a unique point of view to the industry and a revolutionary approach that put both the perfume, and the perfumer at the very centre of everything. Malle set the tone and standard for all other niche brands that followed.
It was a breath of fresh air, or maybe fresh perfume.
I’m always crushing on something scented or other. My nose knows no limits. Candy Crush is where I showcase the beautifully scented things I’m crushing on right now so you can hopefully develop a crush too.
I love Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. It is, hands down, one of my favourite fragrance brands and I’ve said many times before that it’s one of those rare cases where I would happily own every single fragrance in the collection. Honestly, there isn’t a single dud in the entire line and that too, is quite rare. Malle has curated a fine collection of scents – perfumes created by the greatest perfumers and presented without fuss, allowing the fragrances to speak for themselves. They are some of the best, if not the very best perfumes on the market – fact.
I’ve think I’ve hammered the point home, haven’t I? If I haven’t, let me summarise: Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is amazing. The end.
I may have said it before but Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very few fragrances brands where I’d happily own a bottle of each and every scent in the collection. I have many, many favourites and see the collection as one of the most finely curated out there. As a Creative Director, Frederic Malle has a real knack for bringing out the best in the perfumers he works with, resulting in wearable fragrances that tread the line between classic and modern perfectly. In short, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is one of the very best perfume brands on the market and you can come at me if you think otherwise…
“At a party on Paris’ rive gauche, a woman’s fur coat is lifted from her bare shoulders, exposing her neck to the candlelight. Aware of many eyes upon her, she pauses, smiling to herself, before emerging like a conqueror from the shadows.”
Malle’s latest fragrance is intriguingly-named Music for a While. Created by perfumer Carlos Benaïm (who also penned Malle’s Eau de Magnolia – one of my absolute favourites in the collection), Music for a While feels like somewhat of a break from tradition for Malle in the sense that it is quite a fun fragrance. It’s almost as if Malle is repenting for the erotic baroque nature of their last edition, the Alber Elbaz collaboration Supersitious (another favourite – I told you I had many!) and is cleaning up their collection with something a little bit more frivolous. I tell you what – I am here for it!
A few years back, Frederic Malle announced a capsule collection of fragrances that would sit just outside his main line, taking inspiration from a different source: those people that M. Malle admires deeply. Unlike most capsule collections, ‘par Frederic Malle’ launched only with one scent and it has taken a good few years for another fragrance to follow in the series. It seems that Frederic Malle’s painstakingly focused approach applies not only to his scents but to those he chooses to collaborate with. His first collaboration was with the Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten, a man known for his cerebral couture, and now Malle follows Dries with yet another designer, one who is on the other end of the fashion spectrum – this time Frederic Malle has collaborated with the incomparable designer Alber Elbaz (formerly of Lanvin).
It was admiration that led Frederic Malle to Alber Elbaz and through Malle’s wife’s love of his clothes these two wonderful minds were brought together. The collaboration is one of mutual respect and feels very organically grown yet and it pairs three creatives with who respect, above all, quality, artistry and beauty. Those creative men are Frederic Malle, Alber Elbaz and Dominique Ropion and the result of their trio of awesomeness is Superstitious (yes, I also think of the Stevie Wonder song whenever I hear the name, don’t worry) – a fragrance that feels entirely new yet wholeheartedly classic at the same time.
The scent itself started its life as a work in progress – a grand aldehydic floral with a “classic architecture” worked on by Malle and Ropion for more than a year. Alber Elbaz was introduced to the fragrance (after Malle reportedly had to convince Ropion to “give up his fragrance”), fell in love and then worked with the perfumer to bring it to completion. The rest, as they say, is history. The parallels between couture and fragrance are drawn quite strongly with Superstitious and Malle says that the scent was created in the manner that old fragrances were, with the perfumer working in isolation before presenting it to the client, who then requests it to be tailored to their needs, just like a piece of couture. The result? The most special of collaborations.
If you hadn’t have guessed from Friday’s post, I’m a bit of a Frederic Malle fan-boy. There simply isn’t a single dud within his finely curated Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle collection. I own many, I wear them often and as I’ve previously stated on this blog, Malle’s collection is one of the very few where I’d happily own a bottle of each scent (wouldn’t that be lovely?). So there you go, I’m a fan and I know that many of you are too!
One thing I also love about Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle is the fact that the brand also has a range of incredible products for the body and home. There are candles, room sprays and rubber incense, not to mention body butters, soaps and shower gels a plenty! But there are also a number of scent-specific products that belong solely to one fragrance in the collection, for example; hair mist and after sun scented with Carnal Flower; and hair & body oil scented with Portrait of a Lady. There’s a careful randomness to this, with the products picked because they compliment the odour profile and spirit of the product. It’s easy to bring a product out in every fragrance in the collection but it requires a measured restraint to pick out the best scents for the best products. So kudos, as always, has to go to Frederic Malle for curating everything so carefully.
The latest product from Frederic Malle that I’m obsessing over is the Iris Hand Cream (Creme Pour Les Mains au Beurre d’Iris) which boasts a beautiful iris scent created by Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. The cream contains a number of patented molecules that feature a film that clings to water molecules, thus preventing dehydration of the top layers of skin, in addition to a further film that protects against ageing and pollution. Its scent is a nod to the house of Medici, who brought the origins of perfume making to France and had a penchant for scenting their hands and gloves with iris hand cream. This is a very special product indeed, one filled with technology, history and beauty.
If you were to ask me if there was one perfume line that I think is so spectacular I’d happily own each and every fragrance within the collection, I would answer ‘Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle’ without skipping a beat. Malle’s line feels so carefully curated and it spans each and every corner of olfaction, making for a perfectly formed collection that is essentially the ultimate fragrance wardrobe. I have tried each and every one of them, and they would all be very welcome on my skin any day of the week.
A confession: I just fibbed to you. Up until recently I had tried every single Frederic Malle fragrance bar one: Outrageous! Created by none other than the legendary, nay the iconic, nay the perfume Queen, Sophia Grojsman (Paris, Tresor and all of the best 80s scents), Outrageous! was originally launched in 2007 as a Barneys exclusive, housed within slightly different packaging. Being a Brit I never managed to get my hands on a sample of this elusive beauty, but luckily for me, and for you, Frederic Malle is relaunching Outrageous (now sans exclamation point) as part of his impeccable collection. Brilliant, that’s one last tick off the list then!
Outrageous takes inspiration from the Caipirinha cocktail (try pronouncing that after you’ve had a pitcher of the Brazilian booze, its quite a hoot). Malle worked with Sophia Grojsman, a perfumer he had long admired to create this unusual scent which feels very much like a hidden treasure within Frederic Malle’s line. Outrageous now joins the likes of Cologne Bigarade, Eau de Magnolia and Cologne Indélébile as one of Malle’s thoroughly modern colognes however, this one has a really unusual and intriguing twist…
Newsflash, Perfume Lovers! Frederic Malle is coming to London for a meet and greet at Selfridges on Oxford Street on Thursday 17 November 2016. Being at the helm of one of perfumery’s greatest brands, Frederic Malle is quite the scented celebrity and he’ll be in Selfridges greeting customers and signing bottles of fragrance from his line. It’s an opportunity not to be missed!