Frédéric Malle of Editions de Parfums has inaugurated a new collection of nominal perfumes with an olfactory portrait of fashion designer Dries Van Noten. He notes that a qualitative change has intervened in his work,
“It’s not a duet between the perfumer and myself [as in his previous Editions de Parfums fragrances], it’s literally a ménage à trois,” he noted...
He also remarks that from editor, he has turned into a translator.
The purpose of the new collection is to translate the personalities of "highly creative, interesting" persons from diverse fields such as the arts, photography, film and fashion.
“I felt for many reasons — partly personal and partly market reasons — that it would be nice to introduce a third person between perfumers and myself,” he said, adding, “It doesn’t have to be a gallery of fashion people and it won’t be a gallery of fashion people — it could be people from Hollywood, any interesting people that want to have a scent made around them but are not looking for a big paycheck. It’s a gallery of portraits. It’s a perfumer and myself trying to accomplish something which matches the exact rendition of a person of interest.”
It is interesting to see a niche perfume brand such as Editions de Parfums take up the art of olfactory portraiture. The word "celebrity" is never invoked but there is something to this new project that is not entirely separate from the personality-driven celebrity fragrance market. Malle does recognize a commercial aspect to his endeavor with his mention for part of "market reasons". Celebrities are also admittedly highly creative types although many are also mostly creative with their images and self-promotional skills. What we can expect with Frédéric Malle is the same curatorial care he has brought to co-creating Editons de Parfums scents. Just because you danced in front of millions of TV viewers won't be enough to qualify you as a highly creative person (even if you are). You get a sense that credentials will be checked and personal affinities will guide him together with his conceptions of art, style and intellectual stimulation.
Dries Van Noten said,
“It was really like a portrait,” he said. “It is a portrait of my vision of fashion. There are a lot of elements which are there. There’s a lot of tradition in it but there’s something also surprising, which I hope I evoke the same emotions with my clothes.” He added, “For me, it was a very interesting experience. I really liked it.”