Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Do Not Pretend I'm A Perfumer: An Interview With Romano Ricci


A few months ago, Romano Ricci popped over to London to talk about his fragrance line, Juliette Has A Gun, and his latest release, Romantina, which was reviewed on Persolaise.com last week. Here are his responses to some of the topics that were raised during my chat with him.

On the concept behind his brand's name:

It Shakespeare's Juliet. But the name is all about symbols. It’s not about the gun. It’s not about Juliette. It presents fragrances in a cool way. The idea was to make it more dynamic, more playful. There is also some irony about it. I’m saying Juliette has a gun, but I’m not saying what she does with it.

On the reasons for making Not A Perfume (the second 'fragrance' to contain only ambroxan and nothing else): 

It is a very practical ingredient. Since it’s 100% synthetic, it has no allergens. I like the idea of this innocent and harmless smell. It’s called Not A Perfume because it’s not a composition. I like the extreme simplicity of it. Everybody thought I was crazy to launch it.

On his latest release, Romantina:

It’s quite light. Quite easy to wear. It’s the first flowery fragrance for Juliette. It’s a mix of jasmine, tuberose. A little bit of lily of the valley. But if you look, there’s also this big, musky heart. It’s just tinted by this flowery accord. It’s quite a simple formula. It has 37 ingredients. There is a hint of patchouli and vetivert, which makes the dissonance. It gives it a dark side. 

On the creative process:

It’s complicated to explain. I do 80% of the formula and then I get some advice. Sometimes from Francis [Kurkdjian]. Sometimes from other perfumers. Basically, I rent a laboratory. I build my fragrance. And then, when I get problems, I get advice. People help me. Building a fragrance is quite complicated. It requires a lot of experience. First you have to memorise at least 200 or 300 ingredients. You also have to know what effect they’ll have when you put them in a fragrance. This is what is difficult to determine without experience. So, no, I do not pretend I’m a perfumer, because I’m not able to make the fragrance 100% myself. But still, I know exactly where I want to go when I start a fragrance. I choose the ingredients. I know how the perfume is going to smell. Citizen Queen was the first fragrance I developed alone. It took 18 months and 140 ingredients. I really struggled a lot.

Persolaise.

8 comments:

  1. Not A Perfume was definitely a bad move (plus somebody did it before)

    But I still LOVE the brand, some amazing fragrances (Lady Vengeance, Citizen Queen indeed). Can't wait for Romantina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LCdP, thanks for writing. Romantina's top notes are quite different from everything else that RR has done for the brand.

      I look forward to seeing what you make of it when you try it.

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  2. I love how honest and reverent he is! Reading your interview makes me want to revisit his line. Doesn't hurt that he's gorgeous too. ��

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    Replies
    1. Sujaan, thanks very much. He certainly came across as very modest.

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  3. Great interview, Persolaise.

    I think Romano did a great job with Citizen Queen. That drydown is a giant swoon for me! For a not-perfumer, he's doing well. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Jen, yes, he is. But he wanted to make it very clear during the interview that he thinks a great deal of formal training is required before one can call oneself a perfumer.

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  4. You mentioned before how JHaG bridges the gap between niche-cool and mainstream appeal, and I agree with you heartily; despite the "Not a Perfume" debacle, it remains a line I have a lot of respect for. Citizen Queen and especially Calamity J are fragrances I love to wear. The impression of RR I get from this little excerpt fits nicely with my overall idea of the brand--- likable!

    Thank you Persolaise!

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    Replies
    1. deeHowe, thanks for writing. RR was forthright and thoughtful. And I particularly admired the fact that when another journalist asked if she could film him for her website, he issued a polite, but firm, refusal. Anyone who protects their privacy gets a thumbs up in my book.

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