Find Your Perfume

At Editions de Frédéric Malleicon, matching a person to the right perfume – whether in person or virtually – has always been a crucial part of the brand’s mission. «From the get-go – twenty years ago – I thought that, while a face-to-face session with one of our specialists was always going to be the ultimate, you shouldn’t have to go to a store to get a great experience or find the right match,» says Frédéric Malle today. «Not everyone was able to visit our stores, but we had a perfume for almost everyone. That’s why we were the first perfumers to launch a website, which at the time seemed to many people counterintuitive. I always knew that a virtual experience could eventually be just as fun and accurate – a similar type of exchange, but in a way, more intimate, and quite extraordinary

With Frédéric Malle

The original e-commerce site contained the first attempt, an almost Proustian questionnaire that – seemingly by magic, or intuition – produced amazingly accurate recommendations. At first, Malle answered each one personally. It was so good it’s still there, 20 years later.

This acuity was a triumph of study and observation of people’s visual language, individual style choices, and aesthetic preferences. In the early years, Malle had made a point of personally working the floor at the rue de Grenelle boutique, getting to know the clientele, learning the art of pairing customer and scent, and training his perfume consultants to be expert matchmakers. This felt crucial: the combination of rationality and instinct, meticulous refinement and fantasy, was to Malle the ethos of the company embodied. «By simply observing and really listening to people, we learn so much,» he says, «and as a result, we can give really precise advice. And this made-to-measure, very careful way of looking at people, helps them to find the freedom they really want – the freedom to be themselves. And they, in turn, because they are so varied and multifaceted, allow us the freedom of incredible creativity and the desire to generate an even-more eclectic perfume collection.»

Enter Kakanias. The Athens-born, LA-based artist, known for the whimsy and theatrical drama of his illustration, would seem at first glance an unlikely match for the painstaking Malle. «When I work with him, I try to get into his skin,» says Kakanias. «He’s so precise – and I’m not.» And yet, the two are not only longtime collaborators, but have become dear friends. Their skill-sets are in fact complementary and both share a fascination with observing and capturing the world in all its fabulous, glamorous, complex dimensions. Together, they combined their different landscapes, experiences, and intuitions to create a series of deft visual character sketches.

The Find your Match quiz combines both: at first glance a beautiful collage of images, of characters, the questionnaire will, in fact, result in the perfect perfume. What’s your ideal setting?  What shoes do you wear – what coat – and what underwear? What do you drive? This self representation is reflected by an algorithm, based on Malle’s years of observation, that he calls «a true representation of my brain,» translated into images with Kakanias‘s inimitable whimsical grace («It wasn’t easy – there were so many objects!») and leads to a result of uncanny accuracy.

What starts as a delightful escape from your day can become so much more. How do you want to use perfume – as weapon, as seduction, as discretion, as disguise? Will you want to sparkle, dominate, charm? What are the important moments in life, when you want to shine? Do you see yourself running a board meeting in Louboutins? Trysting in the woods with abandoned hair? Meeting in-laws while carrying a Birkin? Riding a Vespa across the Bridge of Sighs at midnight, en route to a highly exclusive and vaguely sinister after-hours club, with Dante in your pocket? Maybe all four at once!

It’s almost like going to a psychologist, a meeting of the minds in your telephone – but at the end, you’ll have the perfect scent. Who are you? Who do you want to be? What was your childhood like? (OK, maybe not that – but who knows? This stuff is powerful.) You’ll gradually hone in on a reflection of how you see yourself, and how you wish to be seen: your perfect match. And it will change your life.

Here are my results. Musc Ravageuricon is one of my favorite scents. So the quiz truly works… have fun! YOU CAN START THE QUIZ HERE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Frédéric Malle and © Sandra Bauknecht
 – #whoareyou? – #findyourperfume
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20 Year Anniversary Limited Editions

To mark the brand’s twentieth anniversary, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle celebrates the thirty-two perfumes created so far by looking back to the year of their creation and offering a number of limited editions.

Seven of the most popular perfumes, Bigarade Concentrée, Vétiver Extraordinaire, French Lover, L’Eau d’Hiver, Musc Ravageur, Carnal Flower and Portrait of a Lady, are presented for this special occasion in 100ml featuring a red bakelite cap – the brand’s signature color. The packaging and the bottles are elegantly clad in a frieze designed by Patrick Li, creative director of The New York Times’ T Magazine, that tells the story of twenty years of creation.

Bigarade Concentrée – € 215 (100ml)
French Lover – € 215 (100ml)
L’Eau d’Hiver – € 185 (100ml)
Vetiver Extraordinaire – €245 (100ml)
Musc Ravageur – € 215 (100ml)
Carnal Flower – € 285 (100ml)
Portrait of a Lady – € 285 (100ml)

The same imagery adorns two travel sets featuring a selection of three perfumes for him or her, offering a dream opportunity to enhance your getaways or widen your olfactive horizons. And finally, a twenty-year limited-edition discovery coffret allows you to treat yourself, or a fellow perfume lover, to the joy of discovering twelve emblematic masterpieces from the collection.

Discovery Set – €45 (12 x 1.2ml)
20Y Men Set – € 170 (3 x 10ml)
20Y Women Set – € 195 (3 x 10ml)

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle

20 Years of Creative Freedom

Let’s celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Born in the year 2000, as the result of Frédéric Malle’s mission to restore the dignity of haute parfumerie. A desire to return to the fundamentals of the craft: its authors, the perfumers, their expertise, exceptional ingredients, and an artistic approach to perfumery. Born into the world of perfume (his grandfather was the founder of Parfums Christian Dior) and with more than thirty years of experience behind him, Frédéric Malle is the world’s greatest perfumery expert. The greatest perfumers in the world have placed their confidence in him, joining forces with him in this venture, delighted at the opportunity to exercise total creative freedom, and to be able to sign their work with their own name. No marketing brief. The freedom to compose: no restriction on either quantity or quality of ingredients. Freedom from time constraints: no schedule; all that counts is the excellence of the result.

Why «Editions de Parfums»? Because Frédéric Malle works with perfumers the same way a literary editor works with his authors. Since they speak the same language and share technical expertise, Frédéric Malle is able to push perfumers to give their very best. They interact on a technical and an artistic level—no brief, no images, no following trends or targeting consumers.

Frédéric Malle’s design for the bottles.

Once finished, the perfumes are presented in a neutral flask, in elegant packaging reminiscent of the book covers of Gallimard—the most celebrated French publishing house—bearing evocative names such as Portrait of a Lady, Carnal Flower, Musc Ravageur, En Passant, Vétiver Extraordinaire, French Lover, Dans Tes Bras…. All signed by the greatest perfumers in the profession, including Dominique Ropion, Jean-Claude Ellena, Pierre Bourdon, Carlos Benaïm, Maurice Roucel and Edmond Roudnitska.

Frédéric Malle and his famous noses

For Frédéric Malle, perfumes are far more than a fashion accessory or a way to promote a brand image. Beyond ensuring the excellence of every juice, his ambition is to enable everyone to find the perfume or perfumes that perfectly suit their personality. To aid in this discovery, the advisors who staff the boutiques are Perfume Experts, qualified to give personalized consultations. Their goal is to help customers find the perfume in the collection that suits them best. Because these perfumes are all different, each one unique, they offer the greatest freedom of choice and expression for everyone, depending on their current desires, the season, their way of life, or even their next rendezvous. An invisible but powerful way to express one’s style and singularity.

Inside Frédéric Malle’s first boutique at 37 rue de Grenelle in Paris.

On June 6, 2000, Frédéric Malle opened his first Paris boutique at 37 rue de Grenelle. At a time when the self-service sale of perfumes was on the rise, Malle chose to open a boutique that would provide a luxurious setting for the perfumes he «publishes,» and to make sure to offer each visitor a personal experience. This pioneering boutique, conceived by architect Andrée Putman and Frédéric Malle, is a hybrid space combining the aesthetics and intimate comfort of a Parisian interior with the expertise of a perfume laboratory.

«Smelling columns» 

The boutiques of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, each with its own distinctive architecture, offer a series of interpretations of this overarching idea—at once a welcoming apartment and a perfume laboratory, where you will find the same iconic features of the house: portraits of perfumers in the style of the photos of authors found in bookstores, refrigerated cabinets in which the flasks of perfumes are kept at just the right temperature (as in a laboratory), consultation spaces, and the famous and unique «smelling columns.» A patented design by Frédéric Malle himself, the smelling columns are like olfactive mirrors, allowing one to experience the complete tableau of a perfume, its entire sillage. Each in their own way, the boutiques express their founder’s quest for aesthetics, functionality, and an avant-garde approach.
As a designer, renowned expert, and art lover, Frédéric Malle heads up the design of each boutique personally, working with carefully chosen architects.

Jakob + MacFarlane and Frédéric Malle joined forces to defy the laws of nature with a sea of floating islands, suspended in time and space inside their Paris store, 13 Rue des Francs Bourgeois.

2020 marks a historic date for the house: Twenty years of audacity and creativity. Twenty years of shifting paradigms in the exacting world of perfumery. From today, and for the rest of the year, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle will share a series of events to celebrate this anniversary.

This week marks a new step for the house with the opening of its first boutique in China, at Shanghai’s luxurious IFC Mall, as well as a counter to open soon afterwards at SKP in Beijing. These two sales outlets see the debut of a new concept, with resolutely modern architecture, redesigned «smelling columns» with enhanced functionality, and an interactive tool to help customers select their perfume. EDPFM’s powerful fusion of ideas brought together in a new experiential space, to be rolled out internationally over the coming months.

Special Instagram Live streams will take place @fredericmalle, a window into the artistic, cinematic, and cultural influences of the founder. The perfumers of Editions de Parfums will be honored and will freely share their knowledge and their thoughts in live conversations. From September, you can also flick through the Editions online, with the launch of its new digital magazine.

Returning from the summer vacation, the house will present an entirely new Limited Edition of its iconic flasks and perfumes, restyled in anniversary colors. Seven of the most popular perfumes from the collection will be presented in new flasks, their cases elegantly clad with a frieze that tells the story of twenty years of creation.

She is languid in the bath, as on a chaise longue, as though she is taking in the sun, as though taking in Bizet, a glint with water and steam, maybe with a book in her hands, surrounded by billowing clouds of foam. Alone, of course—this is a private pleasure. She sinks into the voluptuous waters: a generous measure of rose and a mixture of amber, patchouli, and sandalwood, one might think the scent was carved in her likeness. She abandons herself to it, and it to her. She loves the intimate resonance of its perfume, dream-distilled. Perhaps it is she who is scenting the waters.

And she steps out reborn from the spume, trailing the note of this suspended moment.

The newest product you shouldn’t miss is this new addition to Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle’s bestseller created by Dominique Ropion and Frédéric Malle:

Portrait of a Lady – The Foam Bath
Available now for €110.

Top Note
: Rose
Middle Notes: Blackcurrant, Raspberry, Clove
Base Notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Frankincense


LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht and Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle
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