It was about 4 years ago, as I was wandering through the fragrance hall at House of Fraser Oxford Street, that I first noticed Olfactive Studio. It’s probably fair to say that for me, it was pretty much love at first sight. The brand stood out from the clutter of other fragrances at a time when niche fragrance was still quite new. The concept was so clear – an artistic collaboration bringing together photography and perfumery. I thought it was pure genius particularly as it appealed to two of my greatest passions! I was hooked and this was the start of a true fragrance love affair.
Each bottle of Olfactive Studio fragrance comes with a photograph creating a link between two of our senses, sight and smell. In some respects the idea wasn’t entirely new as imagery and fragrances often work together and we’ve seen brands create marketing campaigns and advertising visuals to support launches for years, often with famous photographers and film directors shooting iconic images and films (something we’ll be talking about in a Perfume Anorak feature very soon). With Olfactive Studio, however, the photograph comes first and is the inspiration for the fragrance. Creative Director Celine Verleure never knows when that inspiration will strike but she always knows when she has found the right image and this is the starting point. The photograph is given to the perfumer and that’s where the magic starts. Artistic freedom is everything and the photographer and the perfumer work together at every stage of the creative process.
The attention to detail is amazing and it is not only the fragrance that is influenced by photography. Everything from the bottle shape to the box that it is housed in reflects this brand’s photographic roots.
My imagination was initially caught by this slightly haunting image, the starting point for the fragrance Autoportrait. I was really struck by the sense of isolation that the image conveys, a feeling of remoteness. How would this translate to fragrance? Would I love it? I did and it is still my favourite scent from the range. Built on a woody base of oakmoss, cedarwood and vetiver, this gorgeous fragrance has a heart of benzoin, incense and musks and opens with fresh notes of bergamot and elemi. Perfumer Nathalie Lorson has created an intoxicating fragrance that perfectly reflects the mysterious nature of the photograph, which was shot by Luc Lapôtre.
Autoportrait is available from House of Fraser priced £84 f0r a 50ml.
Still Life in Rio (above), was the second fragrance to capture my attention. It was springtime and Britain was starting to enjoy the build up to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. This fragrance managed to embody all the excitement that everyone seemed to be feeling and while it was the image that I first noticed with Autopotrait, this time it was the fragrance. One sniff and I was transported to the carnival atmosphere of Rio – the warmth, the water, the sense of outdoors and that South American party spirit!
Brazilian photographer Flavio Veloso took the stunning picture, which was then interpreted by perfumer Dora Baghriche. The fragrance opens up with yuzu, ginger, mint and lemon essence which combine to give it a fun, energetic, fresh vibe. Heart notes of Jamaican hot peppers, pink & black pepper combined with coconut water develop into a base of rum, Brazilian copaiba essence and a touch of white leather for a totally uplifting experience. Perfect for a summer holiday or even to lift your spirits on a cold winter’s morning this fragrance promises to transport you to warmer climes – I’m hooked!
Still Life in Rio is available from House of Fraser priced £84 for a 50 ml.
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