Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Twenty Blotters For... Aurelien Guichard


Pick a blotter... read the question... give a short, snappy answer!

It was probably inevitable that Aurelien Guichard would become a perfumer. His family has had close ties with Grasse for decades, and his father Jean just happens to be the Head of the Givaudan School, arguably the most influential of the small crop of scent creation training institutions. Although he's relatively young, he already has several well-regarded fragrances on his portfolio (notably, the Robert Piguet reformulations) which perhaps explains why his recent appearance at the London launch of Pleats Please (Issey Miyake's latest feminine) generated considerable excitement. Amidst all the talk of Japanese minimalism and richly hued fabrics, I managed to accost him with my Twenty Blotters...


In The Beginning

At what age did you realise that you'd enter the perfume industry?

To me, it happened in two phases. I grew up in a family of perfumers. My grandparents grew flowers. My father is a perfumer. And I never wanted to be a perfumer, really. I spent my summers helping people pick flowers, and to me that was part of my life. I decided to leave France and to study Economics in England, because I thought that would look more like 'a job'. At the age of 20, I was offered work in the perfume industry, as a salesperson. That was the first time when I thought, 'Ok, maybe I'll work in the perfume industry, but not as a perfumer.' Then, in order to be a salesperson, I was asked to attend the Givaudan school. And at the age of 21, when I finished university, I started the school. And on that day - it was early September 2000 - I stepped into the school, and it took over my life. I knew that's what I wanted to do.

Who were your role models when you were growing up?

My mother. She is a sculptor. She always gave me a great image of creation and of being independently minded. My grandparents, for their love for ingredients. And my father, for his love for perfume.

What are some of your most memorable smell-related childhood experiences?

I have only one smell I can remember: L'Heure Bleue, when I was fourteen. I went to a brasserie with my parents and another couple who were friends of theirs. At the end of the dinner, I helped the woman put on her coat - it was winter, she had a fur coat - and she was wearing L'Heure Bleue, and instantly, I was... not in love... but I was attracted by her. That's when I realised that perfume is magic.

Can you remember who introduced you to perfume?

My teacher at the Givaudan school. His name is Bernard Escano. He told me that to be a perfumer, you just have to be happy and to be yourself.

If you could go back in time and meet your younger self, what advice would you give him?

The same advice that my teacher gave me: be happy and be yourself.

Complete The Following Sentences

One perfume which I particularly admire is... Diorissimo, the way I remember it. And L'Eau D'Issey.

One of my favourite smells in the world is... coffee on a boat, in the morning.

Modern perfumery is... colourful.

The perfume industry needs to... believe in itself.

The hardest thing about perfumery... is to believe in the future. 

Which Of These Do You Prefer?

London or Paris?

Paris.

The past or the future?

The future.

An early start or a late night?

An early night!

Main course or dessert?

Main course.

A movie or a book?

Book.

And Finally...

What's the worst thing that the Internet has done for the perfume industry?

They haven't managed to send a fragrance through a computer. You can't smell a perfume through the Internet yet.

What's the best thing that the Internet has done for the perfume industry?

To get everyone speaking their mind about fragrance.

Are IFRA and regulations harming perfumery?

Not at all. They're opening new ways of creation. In fact, if you look at creation in general, it has always been renewed thanks to barriers. It's a matter of challenging creation.

What would you say to someone who doesn't consider perfumery to be an art?

That I'm fine with that.

Does perfume have the power to change the world?

No. But to make people attractive, yes, I think so.

---
Persolaise.

2 comments:

  1. He sounds like a very down-to-earth perfumer, measured but with a healthy dose of optimism. Thanks for sharing this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smelly Vagabond, you're more than welcome. Yes, he did seem quite down-to-earth, and also fairly circumspect and diplomatic.

      Delete

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