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Debonair goes behind the scenes with the nose of the new fragrance Missoni Parfum pour Homme, Natalie Gracia-Cetto
As the alchemist behind many luxury scents, what is your process of bringing fashion into a masculine fragrance?
The colours Missoni uses are always inspiring to me because they have strong inherent properties, symbolism and meanings unique to themselves, but at the same time can be crafted and combined to take the form of something truly unforgettable. For this perfume I was inspired by the colors of the Mediterranean landscape and seashore, a moving luminous palette of water that is at the same time blue, green and earthy-brown which is also depicted on the Missoni Parfum pour Homme bottle.
I wanted to create an aromatic bouquet that was very masculine by using sage and thyme to represent the vibrant greenish tones and lavender to express the blue colors of the Mediterranean seashore. A wind refreshed by Mediterranean maquis herbs, green lemon and pink pomelo, I also added patchouli to give it contrasting touches of brown.
Marking Missoni’s return to the male fragrance market, how does this scent speak to a new generation with a distinctly different take on the traditions of luxury perfumery?
This perfume has the energy of an extremely charismatic man, a traveller with a heart that is always in motion, elegant, vibrant and fresh but never conventional. In a way this is what makes him modern, but at the same time he is rooted in elegant woodnotes that bring a sense of reassurance in a traditional sense. He is very much his own man, filled with charismatic confidence but rooted in timeless elegance; he’s the Missoni man!
Elegance has always a touch of timelessness in it.
How do you construct expressive scents that are uniquely identifiable and still encapsulate a brand?
It has to be unexpected, full of contrasts and unforgettable. I would also say with passion — passion for the brand and its values, but also the passion behind inspirations. They all come to play when making a perfume, in different moments of the development process. Missoni put a part of itself in it adding more elements to the creative process.
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The science behind alchemy is almost poetic. What is your recipe to juxtapose senses and sensations?
Craftsmanship. It takes true craftsmanship to make all those elements come together, to create interesting contrasts that do not clash but instead create a sense of poetry such as the comforting feeling of woody pairings with the freshness of vegetation typical of the Mediterranean landscape. All of these contrasts and nuances give a perfume a soul.
It’s been said that scent ties into memory. What sentiments did you want to evoke with this composition?
Together with EuroItalia and the Missoni maison, we wanted to evoke memories of travels to the Mediterranean and communicate the unique vibrancy and landscape for a real signature. The seashore and landscape is incredibly rich in inspiration, and a challenge to capture. It evokes different moods and colours depending on the time of day, where you are in your life, the tides. It is an endless source of inspiration in this way.
When did you know that you have a nose for scent, a green nose?
Fragrant memories stretching back to my childhood and having spent much time in places such as Strasbourg, Grasse and Egypt always gave me a strong inkling for perfumery.
As a perfumer, how do you find inspiration and track the essence of various raw materials?
I find great inspiration in music, literature and photography. However, inspiration is everywhere. You always have to keep your eyes open. Anything can leave an impression and help craft a scent impression.
What are some of your tricks to make a fragrance last longer?
It is all in the types and the quality of the ingredients that are chosen. I always use the best quality ingredients. Some ingredients just naturally last longer than others, but in general, I take this into account when crafting the overall composition. I want a perfume to last, stay and become part of the body.
The perfume accompanies a bath and body line. How important is layering?
When you put on a scented body cream or bathe in scented beauty products that have a different scent than your perfume, it alters how your perfume ultimately smells on your skin. In this sense, it’s important to use the same scent in your perfume as in your personal care products so as not to disrupt the harmony of the composition. However, when you layer on creams and bathe products that have the same perfume, the layering process makes the perfume linger more on the body, and diffuse better.
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