The other day when I hugged a friend of mine, she exclaimed, “Oh my god, you smell so good! What is it and is it out yet??”
It’s Starck Paris Peau d”Ailleurs. And yes, it’s out this week, at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
“You smell like backyard!” my friend continued, inhaling with her eyes closed.
I smell like backyard. Well said. When I inhale Starck’s new fragrance (one of three), I am reverted back to the safety of my childhood. Specifically, summers at my grandmother’s when days were spent mostly outside. In the yard. We’ve all heard how childhood memories impact the scents we gravitate toward, which would explain the popularity of vanilla and other cookie-related fragrances. And why not dirt? If someone came out with a fragrance that called Swimming Pool, I’d be all over that one, too.
“Dirt is used in a few fragrances,” says David Durga, co-founder of fragrance brand DS & Durga. “It comes from an ingredient called fenchyl alcohol. It lends a realism to earthy notes, for sure.”
When I spoke with Starck about this, he seemed pleased that I had chosen not his feminine Peau de Soie or the more masculine Peau de Pierre, the other two that rounded out his new—and first—collection, but this more elusive scent.
“Peau d’Ailleurs is for the next generation, the the future, where there is not a man or a woman that are labeled and put in boxes,” he said. “You can’t recognize if it’s a men’s or a women’s perfume.”
That would explain my utilitarian style of dressing. But back to him.
“I made this perfume without any sexuality, no easy image of sex,” he continued. “I told the perfumer that I wanted the smell of emptiness, but there is a rich emptiness in this perfume. It’s like when you hear music, it’s not so much the music itself that you like, but suddenly, you receive a territory that makes you happy. You think, ‘I am home. I am safe.’ It’s the same with this perfume. Perfume is a mental territory.”
Fragrance creator Christopher Brosius must agree with that sentiment. His CB I Hate Perfume have put us in various mental territories for years. He even went so far as to name one of his very first creations Dirt, back in 1996 for his former brand Demeter, which became known for its un-fragrancey fragrances, like Laundry, Snow and Tomato.
“Dirt is still a note I use in a lot of my work,” says Brosius. “I've always thought dirt resonates so strongly with everyone because at some point in everyone’s childhood everyone has played in the dirt.”
Of course, Brosius points out, the dirt you grew up in might be very different from the dirt that I played in, so olfactory recollection varies enormously, which is why CB I Hate Perfumes makes close to half a dozen fragrances with strong dirt notes. “The smell itself is so archetypal,” he says. “So it's always recognized and loved.”
Now, roll up your sleeves and come play in the dirt with me.
(Translation by Google Translate from Japanese to English; please pardon errors)
■ Venetian Belladonna (2016 years)
Pierre Constantine Gueros in by the perfumer, theme belladonna. As it is Bella Donna, that is beautiful meaning with that woman, strong that there can be fatal poisonous plant of the representative. But, to become a medicine if you observe the capacity, it is the perfect plant to exactly brand of theme. Revere is in the sweet smell of the poison that was used when you poisoned the Emperor Augustus, likely it aphrodisiac witch in northern Italy has been used to captivate men.
Black currant, violet water, plum, Surutanen, stay Lux, ambrette seed, sambac jasmine, honey, iris, tuberose, patchouli, labdanum, suede, saffron, beeswax, sandalwood, vetiver
It smells like the very symbol of this line. San back Jasmine on a compilation in Honey floral axis, suede and patchouli, because it was adding the oriental tone scent of dull in labdanum. At the top, but we play the aromatic notes such as spices, yet cool floral feeling like beyond description is a word, not even futher nor Shipure, we together as a completely new form of aromatic Reza Lee floral. I feel the black currant as a whole of an accent, but I think I'm not in the incense tone .... Once, there was a description When done at the Official Site. And the second half I feel also Dusty notes such as dust. (24/10/2016)
￭ Midnight Datura (2016 years)
In by perfumer Lisa Fleischmann, theme Datura. Solanaceae Datura plant, which is sometimes taken up to the fragrance of the theme. Angel trumpet whereas bloom pointing down, Datura is in bloom is characterized facing up, excitement, has been known to have anesthetic action.
Green leaf, mandarin, bergamot, Davana, rum, jasmine, tuberose, magnolia, lily of the valley, rose, violet, lavender, heliotrope, Datura Accord, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, balsam, patchouli, vanilla, sandalwood, cedar wood, amber, musk
This is her debut fragrance, that is likely to be the first in the perfume was worked. In floral intertwined quite complex, a little smell of lipstick tone of Rose and Violet plus powdery notes and heliotrope, or would place such as summarized in the suite Woody. So also has worked spice, it's also cloves and nutmeg whiff, but it has become a good accent is dissolved in the sweetness. Using 10 kinds of floral notes, it is so sensual nuance continue to corruption lamb and spices were expressed. (24/10/2016)
￭ Digitalis (2016 years)
Famous as a masterpiece is, in Tom Ford of Black Orchid and Jo Malone of White Jasmine & David Apel by perfumer named Mint, theme digitalis. In a large plant, also known as foxglove (foxglove), horticultural varieties bloom more looks beautiful flowers. The Jigitasu of digitalis, in the sense of a finger in Latin, was named from the fact that flowers are similar to the finger sack likely. Although there is a poison in that? All the grass there was such a long time ago I finger sack, also becomes belladonna and Datura Similarly medicine, plants that have an image of a little witch system.
Galbanum, iris, cucumber, basil, pepper, ozone, coriander, floral ozone, Violet, neroli, rose, jasmine, gentian, frankincense, Fern, Moss, Violet leaf
The only green scent in the ozone notes and Violet this line to match the galbanum in the leaf.You basically the green, but a little twisted perfumer named Violet and neroli scent along with Moss, you received a very sharp impression. While things other scent us the combined Tegowa likely yin and yang and say either, here in the impression that mixed with clean poison while feel a sense of transparency, violet leaf feel a little spicy the more it smells to vivid. Likely this digitalis from the fact that there is a plant that evoke the forest of elves and fairy (fairies), was a mysterious forest that dwells fairy expressed using the ozone. (24/10/2016)
￭ Bloodflower (2016 years)
Alexandra Carlin in by the perfumer, theme milkweed. It is much the plant is not a major, but perennial Apocynaceae, bloom red and orange of the small pretty flower. This toxic emulsions emanating from plant stems, likely they protect themselves from external by storing the toxin, such as butterflies and grasshoppers eat this plant in the body. Opal nera likely was expressed to put Brad Accord to the sweet liqueur of anise or licorice that sambuca of black called sambuca.
Licorice, anise, Brad Accord, claw Vernon, iris, dark rose, amber, patchouli
It is a very unique aroma. It means the smell of the shaft is not clear, but it is not the type that I ever. If you somehow thought that metallic smell, such as the iron is, the smell of blood Accord was used. I guess it. There is iron in the anise and amber, there is a rose as an accent, you have the feeling that. Type of you do not want to use too much everyday, hard-to-use (depending on the amount become bad smell) it is likely to say that scent you distinctive by dare use the perfume. (24/10/2016)
￭ Hemlock (2016 years)
Christelle Laprade in by the perfumer, hemlock that theme is said to have been used in (the death penalty by taking poison) that Socrates was poisoned in prison. In ancient Greek, it was used to the execution of sentenced prisoners guilty likely. So image is in evil black liquid.
Lamb, pink pepper, bergamot, crash leaf, white floral accord, cinnamon, cloves, sambac jasmine, stay Lux, black vinyl Accord, Black Magnolia, cyclamen, Salt Accord, benzoin, vanilla, suede, sandalwood, patchouli, tonka beans, musk, amber woody notes
It spices scent of sweet from the top, but the scent of the keynote will be found soon. It is Jasmine. Jasmine to the shaft, place the various suite notes and spices around it, to express wrapped in sweetness that was Tron as syrup of cold medicine. Marin notes firmly scent near Salt note, or rather an accent that clarity, unique places that have a smell how that can also be felt in as spice. As a whole is the atmosphere that was summarized in the jasmine sweet herbal medicine. (24/10/2016)
￭ Lily Of The Valley (2016 years)
Nathalie Benareau in by the perfumer, theme lily of the valley. So, lily of the valley is a toxic plant that can be fatal in only drank the water go. It wraps a lovely lily of the valley of lily of the valley with a black veil, likely the addition of wet nuance in order to express the tears. It is, when Jesus Christ was executed, because the tears that year-end gift Maria shed is even became a lily of the valley.
Bergamot, neroli, Dewey over the petals, black currant, lily of the valley, orange blossom, dark rose, jasmine, black leather Grove Accord, labdanum, vetiver, vanilla, sandalwood
The theme is the theme of only, not to be a beautiful lily of the valley like Caron, it begins with the top green impressive leaf wet little or rather Aquatic (Dewey over petal). Neroli and citrus also I play at the top, but do say that lily of the valley likeness is too strong is not, a green floral axis, has been organized by the amber leather base. That the time will change to the leather together, not only there is no cuteness, last Naru rather very agonizing lily of the valley.(24/10/2016)
￭ Mandrake (2016 years)
Carlos J. Vinals in by the perfumer, theme mandrake. Pull out screaming and, plant that will die and hear it. In real Solanaceae plant, it is a herb that is used in witchcraft, which also appeared in Harry Potter. How I can did not know, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, for the treatment of male genital dysfunction (enhancer) were likely to be used. The actual plant is unlikely to have the smell of red apple. Also smell the image of a high-pitched sound in order to express the scream Toka he was using.
Apple, Pomeguraneito, Pachirifu, perch root, bergamot, mandrake Flower Accord, rhubarb, cardamom, suede, patchouli, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka beans, poisoning Accord
Apple along with the fresh note is the top scent refreshing. The would cocking somewhere neck while being fashion fragrance imagery, since feel somewhere combination ever. It is a birch leaf of synthetic fragrances. Usually cucumber-ish green note to be used, such as in fresh futher of men is, are you Ko' along with Apple and Pomeguraneito. Spices may be turned off with the top, since the middle will continue to spread a sweet aromatic fragrance. Suede and patchouli is not strong, vanilla and tonka beans will form a sweet fruity base. I contrast between the part and the birch leaf has created a harmony ever. I Green notes What a scream that was irritating of birch leaf. (24/10/2016)
￭ Poppy Soma (2016 years)
Emilie Coppermann in by the perfumer, theme opium famous poppy flowers. Bloom a huge flower of both hands size, let bear a large real than the palm of the hand. ... Boiled down the white juice in it. Every year in the spring, it will be open to the public through a fence at the Tokyo Metropolitan medicinal plant garden, a person the check is interested. In the sense of the month in the Vedic Sanskrit and Soma, when the moon is shining, likely gave from that which is said to give the bulbs a sweet milk. So it's there is also a tuberose.
Japanese pepper, curry leaf, red pepper, black gardenia, sambac jasmine, red rose, frankincense, labdanum, tuberose, stay Lux, Tonkin musk
It begins with a spice of the more obscure the fresh floral. Becomes the accent a little cumin-ish curry leaf, play the spicy floral, then slowly labdanum will continue to change to Furorientaru at the base. And sweetness of honey tone of the Institute Lux is not match and labdanum, will continue to smell the sexy firmly support the suite floral. Labdanum is usually used in making the aroma of oriental amber system but, because to smell sweet effectively in fresh note it is very unique. (24/10/2016)
￭ Wolfsbane (2016 years)
In Phillippe Paparella-Paris by the perfumer, theme is aconite the poisoning incident in Japan has been making headlines the world. I think it is also Tsumitsukuri feeling of bloom beautiful purple flowers. What with a Wolf in the name of the plant, but a long time ago, because I have attached to the arrow poison of aconite in order to reduce the number of individual wolf likely.
Angelica root, Figurifu, cumin, ginger, absinthe, patchouli, cedarwood, tuberose, tobacco flower, castor, benzoin, sandalwood, Purunoru, vetiver, Tonkin musk, black truffle
Oh, it appeared tuberose from in the moment that I thought it was fig !!, was out aroma along with the spices and herbs. If you say a word, witch of aphrodisiac made from flowers. Anyway, everything is in the smell, such as those formed a circle while set the hands and hand without melt together into one, we all are together to have a claim of the protagonists. Sweetness of honey tone has filled all the gaps, plum aroma of (Purunoru) spreads become a mysterious accent together with coumarin, but feel the tar of tobacco to the base. It is very cool !! scent reminiscent of the ... like there was also water tobacco of this kind of system but, in the suite fluoridation Enta Lumpur as a system, since the middle will disappear spread melted together into one. In addition to the brutality of the wolf, likely it was to express the absinthe that has been banned from that cause hallucinations in the accent. It's way is very unique together.(24/10/2016)
the world of fragrance is an ambiguous place, it reminds us a bit of wine making. complicated terminology, bubbling vats of plant particles, micro-distillation and complexed potions far removed from anyone's basic understanding of a recipe. for some, it takes years to find the perfect scent, something that resonates on multiple levels, an aromatic representation of who we are. for others, fragrance is more perfunctory, used to mask the undesirable traces of our basic humanity. personally, it's always been a tough one for me. a game of numbers and a frequent survey of kitsch bottles lined up at department stores, spritzing away on paper strips – only to discover that one's sense of smell is probably the easiest to overwhelm, and fast.
in the end, it was often back to a trusty deodorant stick and a sobering note to self: try to avoid suffocating on gallons of designer toxins next time. when we heard our friend joseph quartana had launched a new line of fragrances called parfums quartana, we pounced on the opportunity to flip the lid on the realm of redolence. quartana has an intriguing history in the fashion business. we met years ago when he was running seven new york, one of the only boutiques stateside at the time, that carried the more niche designer obscurity – think the likes of raf simons, bernhard willhelm, gareth pugh, and many others. he has also actively developed scents in collaboration with quite a few of our favourite designers over the years.
so, we felt certain we'd found the right person to interrogate, and requested a boat load of quartana potions. packaged in modernist psychedelia and masterful blurbs full of exotic base notes, delirious over tones and poisonous sounding sources, to be honest, there wasn't one concoction we didn't respond to. some we loved on us, others we loved just for their bold personalities. what we found most curious was the seamless fusion of modernity and esoterism behind each elixir – all pleasantly, and at times, alarmingly intoxicating. we caught up with joseph quartana recently for drinks, a brief history of scent, his background in the fashion industry, and how it lead to a career as an olfactory maestro.
tell us a bit about your background, of course we already know you as the guy who ran former avant-garde fashion shrine, seven new york. i accepted a scholarship to nyu in the early 1990s more to live in downtown new york, as i wanted to be there to eventually work in the music industry. when i graduated, napster came along so suddenly, the music business became unattractive as there was no money to be made! at the time, i was dating a fashion designer, who i later married, so i was exposed to that world and fell in love with it, and decided i wanted to apply my study of economics to that field instead, and to handle the business side of things, i.e. buying. with seed money i earned from investing my parents' savings during the first internet boom, i started seven back in 1999, and directed it for thirteen years, focusing on the more cutting-edge side of the fashion world, as no one was really doing that in new york city at the time.
what was it that drew you to fragrances, specifically given your leaning toward the obscure as a brand curator? by about 2007, i was getting bored with fashion as my boutique was 'humming' along, and the opportunity came up to develop a capsule fragrance collection. at the time i really knew nothing about the world of fragrance, other than that i liked it and considered a scent to be the finishing touch of my personal style. i thought it might be interesting to develop a series of fragrances with the edgy designers i had been working with at seven, namely guys like bernhard willhelm, jeremy scott, preen, gareth pugh, i.e. those designers influential enough in the industry that they shouldhave a fragrance but not necessarily big enough that they could have a fragrance. by doing six at a time, we could reach factory minimums, hence six scents parfums was born. it was niche, and pretty obscure from the get go because these designers were still pretty unknown at the time, although now some are quite famous.
can you break down the science of creating a fragrance in layman's terms? the easiest way to look at it is by drawing an analogy to recording a song. you start with a vision. then you work out the notes, and those notes must harmonize like the hook in a good track. you have a progression, which is how it changes and evolves once it's unleashed, which should take the wearer somewhere. and then you have a mix down where you work out the concentrations of the fragrance, specifically each note as they become 'louder' or 'softer', depending on the overall concentration of oil to alcohol, and which can be likened to mixing down an album in the studio where you are adjusting sound levels.
what makes a scent good in your mind? achieving a harmony is a lot more difficult than it might seem! with some of the new fragrances, we went through literally 150 variations and it was two years before they began to 'sing'. but what really makes a scent good, is how it reacts to your particular skin. you see, every fragrance has top notes, what you smell in the first 30 minutes, heart notes, which is what it settles into for most of the duration, and then base notes, which is what it ultimately dries down to. but you, the wearer, are the magical fourth note and depending upon your diet, genetics, health, ph level, and even ethnicity, your skin is going to warp the fragrance a bit. i guarantee you, if you and i put on the same scent, it will smell a bit different on each of us. so, you have to find what works specifically for you.
key us in on the main components of parfums quartana. the fragrances are certainly distinguished by a blend of hypnotic vs subtly narcotic. are you curating a mood with each or is it more cerebral? more of a mood, though there is a general feel that permeates the whole collection which acts as a common thread and then specific moods that apply to each, with each vastly different depending upon the folklore of each of the poison flowers which is where we took the bulk of our inspiration from. it's somewhat cerebral in as far as a fragrance can be; but i'd say they mainly appeal to the emotions, though how you interpret the scent and the emotions it conjures is what makes it cerebral.
with les potions fatales we did wish to conjure specific imagery in one's mind for each, and the short films that i'm making for each help to illustrate each direction, specifically the imaginary femme-fatale that symbolizes each, as we wished them to be deceptively beautiful but ultimately dark and sinister like a poison flower. and each [with the exception of digitalis which is fresh and sparkly and ozonic as that flower was used to conjure faeries] is quite dirty or boozy or narcotic; i kept telling the perfumers to think about gasoline, how it is sweet and alluring, but you know it is toxic.
there is an obvious relationship between fragrance and fashion, how do you go about pairing the two? through the packaging. remember that fragrance is essentially invisible! and it's extremely challenging to communicate what it smells like through a computer monitor, even if you list out all the accords. so, the packaging is quite vital, much like the album cover art of a record; it gives you the first hint of where it's going.
can you elaborate on the artistry and visuals you used for the project? for les potions fatales, my art director aerosyn-lex mestrovic and I decided the scope was already dark so we didn't want to do a black colour scheme, and instead did something quite the opposite: bright colours. and to get them to pop and to make the point they are more 'evening-y' fragrances, we set those bright colours against a midnight blue backdrop. we opted for silver chrome to suggest the magic mirror from snow white which figured into the belladonna lore, and anyway i think gold as a metal is tacky and overused in perfumery. the swirly patterns started from the concept of aposematism which is when organisms signal they are toxic through bright colours and bold patterns on their skin.
think frogs, snakes, fish, insects, even skunks are an example of this, and aerosyn-lex abstracted them out through his paintings to suggest the hallucinations one gets from getting poisoned. the colours of each are not arbitrary by the way, i had people smell the fragrances without telling them anything about it, and asked what were the first three colours that come to mind, and where there was overlap those become the essential colours of each poison flower perfume, so they look like they smell. finally, there's a blue-amethyst inspired bottle safely contained in a 'metal' box, as the ancient greeks stored their poisons in that medium.
from a market perspective, the fashion calendar is crammed with seasons, how does this apply to scent? it's one of the reasons i left the business, it's really too much these days! of course fragrances follow trend cycles too, but they are much longer, i'd say five to ten year cycles, whereas fashion is much, much faster, with yearly turnover. that said, chanel no. 5 is almost a 100 years old, and people still wear it. and viktor & rolf's flowerbomb, which is one of my favourite mainstream fragrances, is over ten years old and still going strong. also, some fragrances are more appropriate to the season, there are winter, spring, summer, and fall fragrances, so some people rotate through them. and then others, once they find their signature scent, never change it.
do you plan on expanding into other areas with fragrance in the future? i'd like to introduce candles next, and then plan to reissue the best-sellers of six scents in 2017 at some point, but in updated packaging. eventually six scents series 5, as it's totally overdue. as for parfums quartana, i'm not sure yet which direction i'll take it in next.
lastly, but whats your favourite of the current parfums quartana collection? that's like asking someone which of their children is a favorite! honestly, i love them all and put an equal amount of time into rendering and perfecting each. i wouldn't have dared put my name on any one of them if I didn't think they couldn't be further improved. each one points in a vastly different direction, but is related to the others, so there's something for everyone: green, gourmand, super florals, white florals, fruity florals, dirty animalics, narcotic orientals, etc. personally, i have been wearing the lily of the valley in the warmer weather, and wolfsbane in the cooler months, but i really adore the smell of venetian belladonna and midnight datura on women; they make me a little crazy in fact.
The nine scents in Parfums Quartana's line (spritzed by Bjork) are inspired by deadly buds such as digitalis. (Starting at $145 for 1.7 ounces, six-scents.com)