A Mighty Spectacle of Action and Adventure – An Interview with Etat Libre d’Orange Founder, Etienne de Swardt

Etat Libre d'Orange: The Most Scandalous Perfumery on the Planet

Etat Libre d’Orange: The Most Scandalous Perfumery on the Planet

If you were to ask me which fragrance house has really pushed the boundaries of what perfume can be I would answer Etat Libre d’Orange without a moment’s hesitation. They arrived on the scene in a whirlwind of spunk and accompanied by a plethora of bold olfactory characters, ranging from high class hookers to smoking sirens of the silver screen. The house rubs noses up both the wrong way and the right way, taking pleasure in the delightful and the depraved. In short, they are the most scandalous perfumery on the planet but they’re also one of the most substantial with fascinating fragrances that more than live up to their provocative names and inspirations.

The man behind Etat Libre d’Orange is Etienne de Swardt, a self-described troublemaker. Having spent many years ‘working for the man’ at LVMH, as it were, de Swardt broke free from the constraints of boring everyday big business perfumery, which included scents for cats and dogs, to create the ideal ‘anti-brand’. He launched his perfume house not with a slogan or a mission statement, but with a battle cry. Etat Libre d’Orange marched into war in the department stores screaming “Perfume is Dead, Long Live Perfume” at the top of its smoke-filled lungs. The scents were the weapons – missiles that exploded, destroying inhibitions and preconceptions. Etat Libre d’Orange was a chieftain tank and Etienne was the maniac at the wheel.

Having been a big fan of Etat Libre d’Orange ever since I encountered their phenomenal Jasmin et Cigarette one drunken evening, I jumped at the opportunity to pose some questions to the rebellious renegade that is Etienne de Swardt. In one of the most fascinating and frankly hilarious interviews I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in for The Candy Perfume Boy, Etienne tells us what led him to perfume, whether he could create anything more shocking than the blood, sweat, sperm and saliva of Sécrétions Magnifiques, and what is next for the brand. So buckle up, leave your inhibitions at the door and get ready for one hell of a ride, because Etienne de Swardt is in the building and he’s in a mischievous mood…

[Please note that there are a few NSFW images below]

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An Interview With The Perfume Shop + The Return of Super Scent

What's on The Candy Perfume Boy's Perfume Shellfie?

What’s on The Candy Perfume Boy’s Perfume Shellfie?

I am honoured to have taken part in an interview with British fragrance retailer, The Perfume Shop, to see what’s on my perfume shelfie. As you can imagine, there are quite a few scents on my shelf, so we talked about six that are in regular rotation at the moment, including a couple of my all-time favourites. We also covered some of my favourite ingredients, and non-perfume smells, as well as what perfume I’d like to make for myself. Click here to head on over to The Perfume Shop’s blog to read the interview.

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Rubbing Noses with Perfumer Liz Moores of Papillon Artisan Perfumes

Rubbing Noses With...

Rubbing Noses With…

“Rubbing Noses is a series, in which I, The Candy Perfume Boy, grill the most important members of the perfume industry – the perfumers. These are the brains and noses behind the perfumes we know and love, and their unrivalled insight into one of the world’s most ancient of arts is something to be treasured, enjoyed and shared.”

In chaos theory, it is said that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can cause a hurricane in another. Small actions have big repercussions and can cause a domino effect across the globe. With Papillon Artisan Perfumes, perfumer Liz Moores flapped her talented wings and created three fragrances that burst on to the scene and made a big impact on the industry. With her initial trio of scents, a small and muted launch, Liz showed the perfume industry that independent perfumers are a force to be reckoned with.

Liz is soon to be releasing her fourth perfume, the evocatively named Salome (swing by on Wesnesday for a review) and I caught up with her to discuss this new launch, her creative process and her inspirations, amongst other things. During our rubbing noses discussion we talked Flapper Girls, classic Guerlains, and most importantly, we chatted filth, lots and lots of filth. I think you’ll find Liz to be a fun, fascinating and fragrantly talented character who really brings something new and intriguing to the age-old world of perfume!

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The Soul of the Panther – In Conversation with Mathilde Laurent, Cartier’s In-House Perfumer

La Panthére - The Charisma of Cartier

La Panthére – The Charisma of Cartier

In the office of Cartier’s in-house perfumer, Mathilde Laurent, there sits a proud statue of a velvet panther. Serving more than ornamental purposes, this handsome wild cat stands guard over something really quite precious – not expensive perfumes, extravagant jewels or fastidiously crafted timepieces, no, this panther protects something altogether more priceless – the heritage of the house of Cartier. It seems to be working too, because in the modernist glass cube of the Jean Nouvel-designed Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain building that houses Laurent’s laboratory (i.e. where the magic happens) as well as a conceptual art space, this spirit of the brand is alive and kicking.

Cartier is not a house hung up on the past, however. They acknowledge their heritage and look firmly forward to the future, seeking to create perfumes that bring something new to the industry as well as to express emotion. Currently, the house has an extensive back catalogue of scent which is widely available (Eau de Cartier, Déclaration and Le Baiser du Dragon etc,) as well as an exclusive collection entitled Les Heures de Parfum. Since joining the house, Laurent has taken Cartier in a new direction, most notably creating the thoroughly modern Baiser Volé and La Panthère, as well as the aforementioned Les Heures de Parfum. In these new fragrances, Cartier and Laurent fuse tradition and heritage with a thirst for pushing the boundaries and adding something new, and worthwhile to the industry. This marriage between history and modernism, and Cartier and Laurent, serves to preserve the spirit of this legendary house – to protect the soul of the panther, as it were, and drive it forward for the years to come.

Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited to Paris to meet Mathilde Laurent and sit down with her, and a group of fellow journalists at the Fondation Cartier, to discuss her work for the house. During the enlightening discussion Laurent spoke about IFRA and the impact reformulations are having on the industry, as well as covering her creative process in detail, in addition to discussing the inspirations behind fragrances such as La Panthère and L’Heure Perdue, the latter of which is the latest addition to Les Heures de Parfum and a gorgeous condensed milk cuddle of a scent. I left Cartier with a new-found respect for the house and a desire to discover Laurent’s work in more detail. In the ensuing discussions, you will see that Laurent is refreshingly candid and a marvellously talented and creative individual – a true representative of the ideals of Cartier.

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Rubbing Noses with Perfumer Carlos Benaïm

Rubbing Noses With...

Rubbing Noses With…

“Rubbing Noses is a series, in which I, The Candy Perfume Boy, grill the most important members of the perfume industry – the perfumers. These are the brains and noses behind the perfumes we know and love, and their unrivalled insight into one of the world’s most ancient of arts is something to be treasured, enjoyed and shared.”

In celebration of the launch of Dunhill’s latest masculine fragrance, ICON I put some questions to the scent’s creator – legendary perfumer, Carlos Benaïm – the man behind such awesome scents as; Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle’s Eau de Magnolia, Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Dior’s Pure Poison and Polo Ralph Lauren. He is a perfumer with a varied body of work, leading one to wonder what he will come up with next.

ICON (which I shall be reviewing this coming Friday) is a bold statement for Dunhill and the brand is pegging it as an important launch for men. In our interview Carlos and I chat about ICON, and how it was composed, as well as an array of perfumery topics, including  IFRA, his origins in perfumery and his scientific background. As far as perfumers go, he’s a interesting talent with intriguing things to say, as you will learn if you read on…

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Rubbing Noses With Gorilla Perfumer, Simon Constantine

Rubbing Noses With...

Rubbing Noses With…

“Rubbing Noses is a series, in which I, The Candy Perfume Boy, grill the most important members of the perfume industry – the perfumers. These are the brains and noses behind the perfumes we know and love, and their unrivalled insight into one of the world’s most ancient of arts is something to be treasured, enjoyed and shared.”

This episode of Rubbing Noses focuses on one half of the dynamic father and son perfume crafting team responsible for Gorilla Perfumes, the perfume arm of cosmetics company, Lush. Simon Constantine is the son of Lush’s co-founder Mark Constantine and he has quickly proved himself to be a true talent within the world of perfume. He was the genius that mixed the two B Never to be Busy to be Beautiful fragrances ‘Inhale‘ and ‘Exhale‘ to create what we now as ‘Breath of God‘ – a truly unique and beautiful fragrance that is a shining star in the Gorilla Perfume range.

In this interview, Simon (and a tiny bit of Mark) talks about the inspiration behind three of the fragrances with Gorilla Perfume’s third volume of scent, ‘Death and Decay’, as well as discussing fragrance materials, IFRA and what makes a good perfume. I think you’ll agree that Simon has a unique view on the world of perfume, one that is shown not only here, but also in his olfactory creations which are anything but dull. Anyway, that’s enough of my babbling, let’s see what the Gorilla perfumer has to say…

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The Candy Perfume Boy Interviewed by Givaudan’s iPerfumer

iPerfumer's Fragrance Voices

iPerfumer’s Fragrance Voices

I’m back from Japan, yay! We, as in the husband and I, may have only been gone for 9 days but we have taken away a lifetime’s worth of wonderful experiences that will make for very precious memories in years to come. I will be detailing some of the fragrant-elements of our honeymoon in the next week or so, but whilst I fight the jet lag and before normal blog-service resumes, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I gave for Givaudan’s iPerfumer website.

If you’re not familiar with iPerfumer, it is an iPhone and Android app that keeps you updated with fragrant news and launches, as well as making perfume recommendations. I was asked to take part in a brief interview for the iPerfumer blog, in which I chatted perfume (of course) including my top 5, favourite launches this year so far, and how I decided to start blogging about the subject. If that sufficiently piques your interest, you can read my interview here!

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