L'Air de Rien (As if Nothing was the Matter) by Miller Harris was launched in 2006 as a bespoke fragrance for Franco-British actress and songstress Jane Birkin. This year, a flanker was issued called Un Petit Rien, which is really a misnomer as the scent seems to riff further and deeper on the animalic notes of the first. But nobody said you could not play with perfume-wearers' expectations...
Newspaper The Independent is offering an interview of both Jane Birkin and perfumer Lyn Harris who composed the fragrance in close collaboration with the actress. In fact, it was an opportunity for Harris to discover for the first the phenomenon of depersonalization that perfumers can experience in their work when they become more interpreters than creators, and more listeners than conversationalists. Harris exclaims, "and for the first time I felt, "Oh my God, this isn't my fragrance." But that's what my job is about." She explains further about L'Air de Rien,
"We wouldn't have been interested in making a celebrity fragrance - most are gone in six months; it's such an appalling market. So we are quite protective of Jane's scent. We didn't push it too hard but I think she hit a nerve with what she created - she really is a true artist. At the launch everyone said, "This is so different", and for the first time I felt, "Oh my God, this isn't my fragrance." But that's what my job is about. "
Jane Birkin reminisces about the whole creative process. One thing we learn thanks to Harris is that the spirit of Serge Gainsbourg was ominipresent in the time it took - 2 years - to create the perfume.
"I met Lyn because of a mutual friend [the photographer] Gabrielle Crawford, who I have known for years. I've never really liked scents, probably because of going to Harrods with my mother when I was five and being overpowered in the lifts by five ladies all wearing different perfumes. But my brother was making the film Perfume [which came out in 2006], doing a lot of research into the history and techniques of perfume-making, and I thought I'd try to make one with everything I like."
Read more in How We Met: Jane Birkin & Lyn Harris
Picture: via Le Grand Figaro