The green revolution is pretty much taking over our lives; from the clothes we buy, to the food we eat, to the perfume we wear. A handful of companies are coming up with perfumes devoid of synthetics and chemicals, responding to the increasing need to cut out the contact we have with unnatural substances and toxins. The question is, do we really know which are best?
“The world of perfumes is a world of dreams. The role of a perfumer is to create a smell someone will fall in love with; the industry rotates around the notion of pleasure” explains Olivia Giacobetti, one of the most respectable ‘noses’ in the perfume industry.
Having created signature scents for the likes of Guerlain, L’Artisan Parfumeur and Diptique, her latest collaboration with Honoré des Pres a 100 per cent biological perfume (one of the few bearing the Eco Cert label) has made everyone follow her scent.
According to Giacobetti, claiming to be eco is simply not enough when it comes to creating a scent. She doesn’t believe creating an eco perfume is a concept in itself — what you need is backbone, heaps of creativity.
“Try and imagine the perfume world through the eyes of an architect. A perfume that is 100 per cent biological, it’s like building a house without concrete, bricks or steel. The end result will be only a straw house instead of a brick one. I set myself two rules; never attempt to build a brick house from straw, and never attempt to copy a synthetic perfume scent.
“For Honoré des Pres, I had to work towards something new. When I created the ‘Nu Green’ scent, I pictured it being sprayed with the swiftness of a draft of air or gushing water. Biological scents don’t last as long on the skin, so I played on the idea. It’s a bit like taking a magnifying glass and creating a raw, though-provoking smell where essentially the raw material is the smell.”
This is no cue for you to rush to your perfume cabinet and swap your bottles of Chanel or Guerlain for some herbal concoction of rose petals and lavender.
“That us perfumers believe chemistry and synthetics are dangerous is a huge misconception. A lot of the synthetic molecules used in perfumes are natural ones chemists have ‘isolated’ and reproduced. Nature has its drawbacks. Take Mandarin and Bergamot, both are 100 per cent natural, yet they can set off terrible allergic reactions.”