Presentation of emblematic olfactory creations by Serge Lutens
For more than 20 years, Serge Lutens has been producing fine perfumery with Proustian accents. From “Femininity of wood” to “Ambre sultan” and “La fille de Berlin”, each creation tells its own exceptional story with its own signature.
Born in Lille, France, Serge Lutens began his career in 1963 as a stylist for French Vogue magazine. He directed the makeup, hair, and accessories for that year’s Christmas issue. Lutens never doubted his extraordinary talents: “I believe a lot in destiny… when I started to put on make-up, I knew how to put on make-up. And when I started doing photography, I knew how to take pictures. Such was his reputation that Dior hired him to create the house’s first collection of cosmetics. “I invented a new way of doing color,” he told journalists Jean Jacques Gay and Anne-Marie Morice. “Before, we used fabrics and paper, while I mixed the colors directly in the dishes. In my work, color is as important as the scenography of my images. Color is everywhere. “
Lutens traveled a lot. Marrakech, in particular, fascinated him. “I discovered it in 1968 and, in every sense of the word, it was mine; an awakening, a refuge because with its smells, its sounds, its colors, its light. I was caught in the lively crowd that invaded me, ”he recalls. “Marrakech produced this taste for perfume, but these fragrances are the result of both a choice, a taste for the Arab world, and a reaction to a perceived opposition. A culture that I did not know. “
In 1980, the Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido retained Lutens to reshape the international image of the company. He took on the task using his distinctive aesthetic, a sense of French luxury, a Moroccan eye for detail and a Japanese passion for simple and graceful forms, always covered in black.
During his two-year stint at Shiseido, Lutens directed the creation of Nombre noir by Shiseido (1982), composed by perfumer Jean-Yves Leroy. Perfume critic Luca Turin recalls, “One day in 1982, out of nowhere, on the floors of my local Galeries Lafayette, a shiny black monolith displaying a new fragrance called Nombre noir, made by Shiseido and signed SL, the initials of its mysterious creator, Serge Lutens. I asked to feel it and my life was forever changed. I wrote that Black Number was the best perfume ever, ”said Turin. In addition to its extraordinary fragrance, Nombre noir has been praised for its innovative packaging and posters, designed by Lutens himself.
Indeed, only a few people were able to appreciate the game with the nuances of fine perfumery, and as intuitive as Lutens. He compares a perfume “In music, there is a set of chords. It is the emergence of one note, electrified by its collision with the next, a chain reaction. In writing, it’s called syntax, and it produces poetry. He continued, “If we combine all the notes from Mozart’s requiem, do you think we would then be able to create a masterpiece just because we used the same notes? Or do you think taking Proust’s words would produce extraordinary emotion in your audience? “Carefully selected, the marriage of two or three essences, whether natural or synthetic, disrupts and redefines the expression of a composition. But taken alone, they are just ingredients. “