Crazy at Kenzo

It”s the season for the perfume launch – my diary”s packed with them. First up is Kenzo, with Madly Kenzo and a bit of a dream team for this eclectic French brand: Ron Arad designed the bottle; Aurelien Guichard created the scent; and Amber Anderson is the “little bit crazy” face, which in case you’re wondering, in Kenzo-speak means “open-minded to the world” rather than your Homeland sort of Bi-Polar “little bit crazy”. In other words, she strokes cats and puts butterflies in her hair. As you do.

They are all a little bit crazy at Kenzo though. In a good way. It’s more usual in the world of perfume to submit a brief to a perfume house, like Givaudan or IFF and then ask 20 or so perfumers to submit a composition, narrowing it down until the client finds the one they like most before committing to working with him or her. But in this instance they went straight to Aurelien and said:
“There’s no brief, no mood board, no marketing guidelines. Just three ideas: freedom; non-conformism and happiness.”

Aurelien went off and spent his summer in Provence with a sculptor friend and was inspired by the shapes she carved to make something quite beautiful: an accord of heliotrope and cedarwood. It’s combined with Damascena Rose in the resulting Eau de Parfum and with pear, lychee and jasmine in the Eau de Toilette. “I was lucky to come up with the idea,” he says “as with only one month to go I hadn’t found anything.” We were the lucky ones – imagine if he’d spent his summer stuck in the office in Paris, what would it smell of then? La Duree Macaroons and Absinthe? (Now there”s an idea..)

Ron Arad is also a little bit crazy. He wears a felt hat which reminds me of my velour school hat, only with the back brim tucked underneath and the front brim worn down, as if he got into a fight with a fellow-pupil who mussed it up and jammed it down hard on his head in a fit of pique. This is his first perfume bottle – he tried something before which he showed us, that was about the size of a large pebble, metallic, so tactile I wanted to grab it from his hand while he talked about it, but by his own admission, while beautiful to look at, it was useless if you were left-handed as you couldn”t press the atomiser, and far too expensive to produce.

This bottle is no cheap offering either –it took Arad longer to design the one bottle than to design a whole museum he was working on at the same time and they had to create a special production line for it. It is exquisite, a dot of either pink or blue at the bottom of the bottle radiating upwards in a gentle wash of colour before fading away to clear at the top.

Obviously I’m gutted when I get home and find there isn’t a set of Ron Arad dining chairs in the customary perfume bag given out to Press. But I’m thrilled to see he’s signed my EdeP bottle. Now it really is a work of art.

On counter in July, although the Ede P is already on sale in Argentina and France. Time for a holiday, I”d say.  But that really would be a little bit crazy.

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