It is worth asking Matilda Laurent, Cartier perfumer since 2005, what she loves most about her work, and she will give an amazing answer: "My office". Bright and with giant windows, it is located on the sixth floor of Foundation Cartier, overlooking the mansions of Boulevard Raspail. It is here that she listens, mixes and develops new fragrances, including her latest creation - Carat, Cartier.
It is not just a place that she loves, but also a place that serves as a kind of metaphor for her position in the perfume industry, which she has occupied for many years. Until recently, Laurent was one of the few women who headed the perfumery department of a large brand. In 2016, Christine Nagel shared this happy fate with her, who became a perfumer at Herme's House. Today, more and more women rise to the top of the "perfume pyramid" (not to be confused with the olfactory pyramid) and strive for well-deserved success. But honestly, how long it took for this process to finally begin!
Matilda Laurent dreamed of becoming a perfumer since childhood, but in adulthood everything turned out to be somewhat more complicated. To become a perfumer, she first earned a degree in chemistry and then prepared for the entrance examinations at ISIPCA, a school in Versailles. At that time, in the 1990s, the students and teachers there were mostly men. According to Dora Bagrish, author of You from Glossier, a range of YSL and Versace perfumes, there was a real "male kingdom" at ISIPC. Bagrish, who currently works at Firmenich, the largest privately owned perfume company in the world, says:
“It seemed to me that the strong half of humanity was openly dominating there. After looking at all this, I thought: it's time for women to take over. I decided it was very interesting to challenge such a challenge.”
Why have the gentlemen traditionally been the most influential in the fragrance industry? Most of the European perfume houses have been passed down exclusively through the male line for generations. In 2013, for example, Jacques Polge, the chief perfumer of Chanel, named his son, Olivier Polge, as his creative successor.
Creed, a perfume house that serves the royal family, has been passed down from father to son for seven generations. This dominance in the industry was partly due to the misconception that men are somehow more creative. Let's be frank, even if we remember the geniuses of painting, we would rather call Picasso than Natalia Goncharova or Bertha Morisot.
But at the same time, we must not forget that the weaker sex has been a part of perfumery from the very beginning, and it is we who need to be thanked for the fact that perfumes exist at all. The first "official" chemist was Tapputi-Belatekallim, who developed methods of odor extraction and laid the foundation for perfume production in Mesopotamia in 1200 BC. Agree, enough time has passed to make a brilliant career in the industry that we have "muddied".
And yet, something is definitely changing. Linda Levy became President of the Fragrance Foundation in 2017, a non-profit arm of the international perfume industry founded in 1949. This fact has greatly contributed to the widespread acceptance of women perfumers. Linda believes that the industry's marketing practices have changed a lot, and this has allowed “the queen to move. “For years, the perfumer looked like the wizard of Oz. Secrets, secrets, a little mysticism - this was the recipe for successful perfumes, says Madame Levy. “Now people want to know the whole story from and to: they are interested in who exactly created this or that composition.”
“Previously, having bought the Woman, Ralph Lauren fragrance, they would have considered Ralph Lauren the creator of it. Now everyone would focus on Ann Flipo, who is the nose of the respected House. " For example, during the presentation to the public of the same Carat, Cartier, the main word was given to Matilda Laurent, who said that she was inspired to create the composition by the light passing through the diamond.
She depicted his highlights with a bouquet of seven different floral notes. Only a woman can be so bewitched by a gem!
There are many pluses in the feminist-perfumery expansion. As with any art form, creativity thrives when it mixes different cultures, colors, countries and genders. The increased focus on “women’s” perfume also coincides with a time when marketing is becoming more feminist (see also: “5 perfume love novels”). For example, the Calvin Klein Women ad campaign, which features Lupita Nyong'o and Saoirse Ronan, is about women who inspire others to find themselves.
“This is a watershed moment,” says Linda Levy. - No one is interested in seeing a boy and a girl waking up together, and this is, in fact, the whole advertisement. Although it still has a lot about sex and rock 'n' roll, we are entering a time when people want to talk about inspiration, about the modern woman as such. Perfume can and should fit into this gender revolution."
Photo: Getty Images, calvinklein.ru
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