Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Neela Vermeire On Working With Duchaufour

Following on from my recent sample give-away and last Friday's review of a Duchaufour scent, I thought you might be interested in reading Neela Vermeire's responses to some questions on her brand and on working with one of perfumery's most prolific artists.

Persolaise: Did you have to establish any ground rules before you started working with Bertrand Duchaufour? Did he try to impose some of his own ideas on the project, or was his role simply to 'deliver' your vision?

Neela Vermeire: Every journey is unique. In my case, I had a clear idea about the historic periods, the concept of using raw materials that were representative of those eras and would make the perfumes rich and complex. 

There was no question of either “imposing” or “delivering” in this project because it is based on collective olfactory experiences focusing on the varied historic eras. Bertrand is a very experienced perfumer and has
travelled extensively and has had different experiences from mine. I grew up in India with a lot of olfactory memories and they are a part of me and therefore each period also represents a part of my life. We discussed in detail during the development of the trials of these perfumes - over the course of a year - what these perfumes could/should/would hopefully evoke.

P: So would you say the perfumes are yours or Duchaufour's?

NV: I would call this a real collaboration/co-creation/co-development. They are all based on my concept, followed by Bertrand's masterful technical genius. There were many aspects we decided on bringing into Trayee, Mohur and Bombay Bling! with our mutual olfactory experiences of India. Both of us are spiritual in nature and BD is a very thoughtful perfumer and that comes through in the India trio.

P: Were there any particular challenges that you faced during the creative process? 

NV: The main challenge in the creation of Trayee was going down the deep-rooted spiritual memory lane to various family and Hindu rituals and getting the atmosphere correct. The top note was always fleeting and the reason is that the heart notes are powerful and almost immediately draw us in. With Mohur the challenge was to create an opulent yet gentle perfume.

P: What role do you think perfume criticism has to play in the industry? Do you think any degree of objectivity can be achieved in perfume appreciation?

NV: Tough question. Like art, films, books etc - a rose is a rose is a rose. And a fragrance is a fragrance. However, it is based on a subjective viewpoint. It is not easy to be objective about emotion-evoking products like art and perfume,  in my opinion.

One perfume may stir your heart in a positive manner and it may not stir others. I think what a number of talented perfume writers on the net are doing is paving the way for traditional print journalists to actually get passionate about the subject. I am certain many print journalists are keen perfumistas, but not ALL. However, MOST or ALL perfume writers/bloggers are keen and rather passionate, and their main reason for writing is to share their passion. At least I hope so!

As I do not have any PR agents, any honest appreciation through articles on these perfumes has helped spread the word around. I am truly grateful for all the encouragement I have received from all perfume writers who really love and appreciate the concept and the India trio perfumes.

I'm off to London later today for a meeting in which my fellow Jasmine Award winners and I will have to choose the finalists for the FiFi UK Independent Perfume prize. Wish us luck!

Don't forget that on Friday, at 1:30 pm UK time, the Esxence website should display a live stream of a discussion entitled Translating Perfume Into Words. One of the speakers will be Grant Osborne of Basenotes.


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