lundi 14 mai 2012

The Perfume Lover presentation in Soho House, London, with Katie Puckrik

Last Tuesday I was invited to London to present The Perfume Lover at Soho House, a club for members of the media, creative and entertainment industries. The TV presenter, performer and perfume reviewer extraordinaire (as well as all-round lovely person) Katie Puckrik is a member there, she’s been based in London for the past weeks, she loved the book and the scent, so she whipped up the event and found an interesting angle: how our choice of fragrances not only reflects our personalities, but can also be a projection, an anticipation of the personas we dream of becoming.

This is a major thread of The Perfume Lover: how to interpret a life through successive fragrances. The way their stories weave themselves into yours, and the way they can influence who you become. Katie and I had picked milestones that clearly resonated with the audience: Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, the first drop of perfume to touch my skin; Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, my mom’s secret fragrance; Habanita, the perfume that turned me into “Carmen, la del Canada”; Carnal Flower, because tuberose was the olfactory emblem of one of the greatest loves of my life…

We also smelled raw materials: indolene (a Schiff base of indole and hydroxycitronellal) to speak about skank, galaxolide when musk came up, orange blossom absolute which triggered the memory of Seville I told Bertrand Duchaufour. And then, as we discussed my involvement in the development of Séville à l’aube, I pulled out three of the 130 mods, most of which I’ve kept (N°3, N°63 and N°123) so that the audience could get a rare insight on how a composition evolves.

Katie was, of course, a well-prepared, consummately professional interviewer, and putting myself into her able hands made the evening an effortless, enjoyable, lively moment, with lots of interaction and relaxed banter.

My thanks to Katie then, but also to Vanessa of Soho House for organizing the event and to my friend Silvia who agreed to be my blotter minion – I’ve never seen anyone do such elegant blotter fans to dip or spray them before passing them around!

While I’m at it, I’d also like to recommend the Dean Street Townhouse, which is Soho House’s London Hotel (and, no, this isn’t a plug because I got a freebie, I did pay for the night): the staff is lovely and friendly, the rooms overflowing with amenities (full-power blow-drier, flat iron, full bottles of Cowshed grooming products, and delicious ginger cookies). The pillows are as soft as if they’d been filled with down plucked from a prepubescent swan’s butt.  In fact, the rooms are so pleasant that lounging listening to Chet Baker from the iPhone dock, I didn’t even feel like poking my nose outside…

My only regret is that this was an event for Soho House members only. I hope to be coming back to London to do a couple of events when Séville à l’aube comes out. No dates are set yet, but for those of you who are in the UK, please feel free to pester your local L’Artisan Parfumeur counter for more information!

12 commentaires:

  1. Sounds like a great event, Denyse. I'm jealous of those who got to go. I'm looking forward to the release of Séville à l'aube, and getting my own bottle. (Can't wait, really).

  2. Is there any chance parts of this event were videotaped (and able to be shared)?

    I'm glad you had such a marvelous time!


  3. Jarvis, Katie and I were so happy with it we're hoping it's a test run for another talk that would be open to the public. In principle this would be in London again though.
    As for Séville à l'aube, I know testers have started appearing in Paris very recently. Pretty soon now!

  4. Taffy, we weren't filmed that I was aware of, which is a pity... If and when there's a next time it would be great to set that up.

  5. I met Katie very briefly in New York a few years ago, and yes, she is wonderful. She smelled Nuit de Tubereuse from my wrist. :) I like to think back on the perfumes that symbolized who I wanted to be: Tommy Girl at age 13, Opium at 15, Chanel No. 5 at 18, Miss Dior (The original one, not Cherie) at 20. Miss Dior was the biggest revelation for me because it was the first chypre I had ever smelled. All of the women in my family wore orientals and huge florals (and now they all wear Angel). When I first tried Miss Dior in a Berlin perfumery, I quickly became addicted!

  6. Ah, Denyse, you've just brought all the good times back again. It is a shame this event wasn't video'd - I didn't even have the presence of mind to grab a snap of us! I was just living in the moment, man. Bringing the earlier mods of Séville à l'aube was a great stroke - it really engaged the group in the the perfume's journey. Looking forward to our "rematch" - hopefully in July.

  7. Elizabeth, you certainly know how to pick'em! I think we could all write our life stories via the perfumes of our life -- at least up to the stage where we started experimenting like crazy, but that's a life story too!

  8. Katie, it never occurred to me either to immortalize the scene, though I think I saw B. take a picture at the end with her iPad. If we get that re-match, we'll have to make a podcast out of it. Crossing fingers! And thanks again for all the fun and insights.

  9. It must have been quite fascinating to follow the evolution of a perfume.

    Everytime I walk by the L'Artisan Parfumeur counter in Ogilvy's, the SA's say... "Pas encore... fin août!" I guess they know what my next L'AP perfume will be.

    Thanks for sharing the evening.


  10. Normand, the testers have arrived in Paris, and the SAs are hiding them, since they say they'd be empty by now if they left them on the counter... Apparently there are already waiting lists, and people stamping their feet because they can't buy it right now! I know the perfume is due out in July in London and Paris. I guess it'll take a bit longer to roll out in other countries...

  11. WAH!Tonsillitis prevented my attendance and I was so disappointed. Less selfishly I am so happy to hear the event was a success and adding my voice to the "hurry up L'AP" chorus!

  12. Nicola, your sore throat did, indeed, make you sorely missed. I hope you got that sample Silvia took for you and are enjoying it. L'Artisan Parfumeur is organising an event in London on July 25th, I'll post when I have confirmation.