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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Perfume Stars: Summer Favorites. Part 1

The perfumes that celebrities wear are a topic that seems to fascinate many. For a perfume-addict like me, a person who spends a lot of time thinking and reading about perfume, the term “celebrity” includes not just actors, singers, politicians and other “typical” kinds of famous people, but also perfumers, creators of fragrance lines and perfume experts and writers. In fact, this perfume nerd is much more likely to be all aflutter, star-struck and tongue-tied having accidentally bumped into say, Maurice Roucel or Lorenzo Villoresi rather than say, George Clooney or Bill Clinton. And while I am mildly curious to know what perfume the said Clooney, Clinton or even the much-admired Catherine Deneuve wear, it is far more interesting for me to find out about the favorite fragrances of the perfume stars. So this summer I decided to gather my courage and to talk to some of the most fascinating people in the perfume industry, about their warm-weather favorites. As a bonus juicy tidbit, I also asked them about their preferred holiday destinations. In the course of the next couple of weeks I will be posting the answers. Today is the first installment. I hope you enjoy reading the feature as much as I have enjoyed preparing it.

Linda Pilkington, Ormonde Jayne

What are your favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“My favourite summer fragrances are Osmanthus and Frangipani… Osmanthus when traveling in a hot country, together with an Osmanthus bath & shower crème, you can’t go wrong, it cuts through the heat and keeps you going, when the heat is on. Frangipani for European summers, slightly more floral, but in a soft captivating way. The type of perfume people ask, what are you wearing? Men find it highly attractive.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“Holidays are usually 50% work as well, so Laos, to visit the growers I use for our perfumes and it’s an undiscovered area, so it’s more special for a holiday but also the South of France, Grasse. I have a close relationship with a few small companies and like to meet up. You can’t beat good food, rose wine, the sea and arrogant chauvinistic good looking French men.”

Keiko Mecheri

What are your favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“In my private collection, I love the Jasmine de Provence, which looks like a field of Jasmine in a summer morning. I just finished creating for the home fragrance collection, a wonderful fragrance of fig leaves and green almonds with a refreshing zest of argumes, a souvenir from a sojourn to Tunisia. I also love fragrances that are reminiscent of my sailing cruise with my two little boys to Bora Bora, with the smell of monoi (coconut oil) / tiare with a hint of vanilla and ylang-ylang oil. I even imagine creating a fragrance with mother of pearl. (Does it have a smell?)

It is my favorite season of the year as it is the greatest time for inspiration. The characteristics of my ideal summer scent is very much a reflection of how I spend my summers with my loved ones, a time of relaxation, reflection, carefree expression, a time of discovery, perhaps even a suspension of time, or even transcending time and space. Whether I am staying in my home in California or traveling abroad, it is always a time of evocation, inspiration. Perfumes for me are always associated with precious moments.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“With recent discovery for sailing, I have rediscovered with my loved the beautiful coast of Sicily. We are planning a big sojourn to "discover" the atolls of Polynesia. One of my best vacation destinations is a leisure day in my garden.”

Mona di Orio

What are your favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“The summer brings so many intense and deep scents, especially in the South of France where I chose to live, for me it's a pure felicity, to smell again and again each year: in the market, the fresh basil, the ripe melon, the velvety peaches, the green tomato leaves... in the "garigue", the warm pine needles, the aromatic dried earth, the strong fig leaves, the wild fennel... and when the lukewarm breeze transports the lavender fields smell, I feel elated! But also the sunny sprays of seawater... And above all, the jasmine fragrance when the warm starry night comes...

During the summer time, I love to splash my neck and my shoulders with some very citrus fragrances like : "Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat" from Guerlain, "Eau Sauvage" from Christian Dior, "Eau d'Hadrien" from Annick Goutal, and my sparkling "Lux" !!!!!

During the evening, I enjoy to wear mysterious fragrances like "Vol de Nuit" from Guerlain, "Narcisse Noire" from Caron, or "Nuit Noire"...”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“All the Mediterranean beautiful and wild places, Corsica, Sardinia and Sicilia, and some parts of the Provence....because it's full of wonderful smells… [and] reminds of my magical childhood in my grandmother 's garden in the South of France, where I found my passion... to smell, and my vocation... to create fragrances...”

Lorenzo Villoresi

What are your favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“My favourite summer fragrances are fresh and herbaceous, with citrus notes and light spices (mint, cardamom, coriander). Not too heavy, not too strong. Something like my “Uomo” or “Dilmun”.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“My ideal holiday destination is a peaceful, silent, secluded spot where I can enjoy the sounds and the odours of Nature (real nature, the wilderness, no pretty gardens but real forests), possibly close to the sea. I am thinking of Tasmania, maybe…”

Claude Marchal, Parfums MDCI

What are your favorite summer fragrances? What are the characteristics of your ideal summer scent?

“If I had to pick a summer fragrance, I would definitely go towards something flowery and light (not very original a statement, sorry!) which would fit an outdoor, natural, sunny, free, relaxed way of life.

But if I had to tell which scent I really love and immediately associate to summer, I would definitely say....Monoï, or tiare. What???! Tiare? Yes. This may come as a disappointment to you, but this is simply true. Tiare will forever remind me of my younger days on the beaches of the Mediterranean, of happy, careless times when I paid for my vacations working as a sailing instructor at Club Med: there is prescription now as this was 30 years ago, but whenever I smell tiare, I am instantly brought back to Morocco, Corsica or other places and moments perfect happiness. The scent of oleanders under the sun, of salt on tanned skin, the sound of cicadas in the pinetrees, the blue blue Mediterranean sea in the back...

Simple, maybe simplistic, but this is what to me is the summer scent. Now if I had to pick one feminine fragrance for the summer, it would be L' Eau de Thé Vert by Roger & Gallet.”

What is your favorite holiday destination?

“Now a tough one, my favorite summer destination...the mountains! As far as possible from the elegant fashionable quarters of Paris, and the subtleties of the world of fragrances.

I love to be alone or with a good friend, on the glaciers of the French Alps near Chamonix, near the Mont Blanc, for two or three day long hunts for crystals; the mountains are so spectacular, so beautiful, so pure, it is like a spell which draws me year after year to these not always very friendly spots . Just magical. The search is as exciting as possible, a bit dangerous but the rewards are priceless in terms of what a find means and all the memories that go with it. This is my way to forget about Paris and its notorious traffic jams.

Other favorite destination - a bit more conventional- the beaches with my daughters and patient wife!

As you can see, I am a very simple person and my preferences go towards nature a thousand times more than towards sophisticated, fashionable, trendy destinations...I hope that this does not come as a disappointment, you may have imagined I was a sort of elegant Serge Lutens...Sorry...”

To be continued next week.

Images courtesy of,,, Claude Marchal.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an incredible post! I find this stuff positively fascinating!! I could read this stuff forever. Marina, you're a rockstar for getting this!!

10:50 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina, you're brave and, yeah, Kayliana is right: you're a rock star. A lot of those vacations sound like fun, don't they? If it weren't for my acrophobia, the French Alps one would be especially enticing.

Okay, but here's what I'm dying to read about: your and Ina's adventures perfume sniffing in New York!

12:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Bravo! This is wonderful post and wonderfully fascinating. I must say the scent of Monoi (specifically the Yves Rocher brand)always will remind me of the summer I spent in France, it is what my grandmother always wears.

1:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

A thousand kudos for this great post, Marina. Fascinating and so new - I truly enjoyed this, and am looking forward to all the further installments. So funny to see them all plugging their own scents - hopefully, some of them wear the classics, too! Good on for Mona di Orio for mentioning Guerlain et al: I haven't tried her scents yet, but I was under the impression that her marketing was kind of arrogant or self-aggrandizing - I heard this mentioned before - so this interview was a pleasant surprise. Oh, to be in the south of France!

1:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, this is such a fun post! I loved reading about their summer joys. Looking forward to more :-)

5:09 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

This is wonderful!! I am in awe of you for doing this! As everyone said, YOU are the real star!!

It's very interesting to read their choices, but I must say I have the most respect for those that at least mentioned fragrances other than their own!

Claude Marchal is an all-around doll--physically, mentally, personally! So [sigh} is his wife.:)

5:13 AM EDT  
Blogger poodlegirl said...

This is great stuff, Marina! Thanks for making the effort to contact all of these perfumers. Fascinating to see how their personalities come out in their answers to your questions.

7:52 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina, what great fun!! I agree with you, give me Pierre Bourdon over Harrison Ford, any day!!

This was a fantastic post, thank you!


8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Juvy Santos said...

Whoa, Marina, wow. I mean, did you speak unto the Perfume Gods and they granted your audience with the noses?!? wow. Rockstar indeed...

I have some monoi scented oil, and it's funny how something so heady is summery...I'll have to go dig it out now...

8:13 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg, you said "perfume nerd"! I love that, and if there's any room on that bench I'd like to sit in as sort of a junior-neophyte perfume nerdette, please. yes, that fits me, foodie hedonist perfume nerdette. heh

great interviews, looking forward to reading more, thanks!

8:16 AM EDT  
Blogger Amarie said...

Hi Marina,
Great post. Yes please Lorenzo Villoresi, come and visit Tasmania.This is a truly unique place and I just wished our polititions appreciated it as much as we residents do.

8:17 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, I am so glad you enjoyed the post!

8:26 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd love to have a vacation in the Alps (I might opt for not climbing or even hiking though, heh). Or in Tasmania. Or in South of France...

The NYC report is coming tomorrow!

8:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you. I too think that Monoi is very summery.

8:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Such a fun post, thank you for doing this, Marina!

I'm trying to ignore my teensy crush on Claude. :)

8:32 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I've liked everything about the Oiro line since the moment I smelled Nuit Noire :-D
There will be more mentions of classics coming in the next posts. I also found it interesting that some of the people I interviewed think in term of essences/single notes/ingredients rather than actual perfumes.

8:33 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed!

8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I want to meet him too!
I also think that it is natural for perfumes/perfume line creators to mention their own scents, and not just in a sense that it is marketing, but because they live and breathe (pun not intended) the stuff they create/produce.

8:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! They personalities do come out, don't they? And all seem such likable personalities. It's like...they are real people! :-D

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Pierre Bourdon over Harrison Ford, totally!! :-)

8:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! :-)
You know, I find that the headiest florals are the best in summer. They blossom on my skin in the heat. Tuberose is like that and gardenia.

8:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yeah, I think "perfume nerd" fits me the best, even more so than the more chic sounding "perfumista" :-) Plenty of room on the bench, make yourself comfortable.

8:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I dream of visiting Tasmania, Australia in general. For now I just look at pictures and sigh :-)

8:43 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Everyone has a crush on Claude. :-)

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger saralevy said...

Brilliant! Bravo! now THIS is the kind of "what do you wear?" article I've always hoped to read.

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad you liked!!

9:23 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Fascinating and brilliant idea!

At first I just figured that their favorite summer fragrance part would just appeal to "perfume nerds" and make them long for the smells ... whilst making me long for a holiday!

But their decriptions of the smells AND the locations were so well done that enjoyed the whole thing!

And from ME ... that's saying a lot

They are all extremely creative people. So it probably shouldn't have surprised me they'd have such a way with words.


9:28 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Mr C,
Thank you!
And I guess often it is that a gifted person is gifted in more than one area.

9:32 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Lovely post M! Cracked up at "arrogant chauvinistic good looking French men".

12:04 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post - loved Mona di Orio's (I'm assuming) playful use of apostrophes after her mention of Lux. It's a shame her advertising and PR comes across as self-aggrandising in the saturated market - James Craven in Les Senteurs says she's a delightful person to meet and talk with and, well, I'm a massive fan.

Colombina, Mistress Fumetastic, I salute you!

12:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I loved that line too :-)

12:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You know, I fell in love with Nuit Noire the moment I smelled it (before there was even any info on the line) and ever since I am inclined everything di Orio does or the way she does it :-) She does seem incredibly nice, judging my email communication.

12:40 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

fascinating- and I am looking forward to reading more..

1:28 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Tom!

1:33 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I got round to NN a little later than you but it's one scent I was instantly addicted to. saving my pennies for a big ole bottle and, though I'll probably rarely wear it, Oiro too. Carnation is the only one that doesn't work with me, even though I like it.

All these perfumers sound like lovely people - we knew that of the marvellous Claude already...

1:39 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Carnation doesn't work on me either :-( And yes, we knew from the start that Claude was a charmer :-)

1:49 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good on you! What a great idea, and how wonderful to bring it to reality. It's just exactly right for all of us who wonder if these people are real, and then to discover they have memories and scent affinities. Perfect article!

2:50 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! I too loved the fact how the answers sort of turned the names into real people.

2:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fascinating! This does make these perfume stars more real and accessible. ;D Can't wait for more.

3:38 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, I am so glad you liked!

3:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

This was incredible to read...sensual , satisfying perfumed erotica. I adored it! Thank you Marina , for sharing such a delicious adventure with us!

8:57 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

LOL at perfume erotica :-DDD

9:04 PM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

LOVE this series!!! I'm so w/ you in being far more interested in what perfumers wear than what typical celebrities wear. And CM? Could the man possibly be more perfect?

7:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

He could try, but he would not be successful :-)

9:00 AM EDT  

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