a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
Frédéric Malle was no stranger to the perfume industry. He is the grandson of Parfums Christian Dior founder Serge Heftler-Louiche. Malle was born in 1962 in Paris to a family intricately involved in the industry. Malle’s mother even worked as an Art Director for Dior. It was just a matter of time before Frédéric Malle made his own mark.
Malle studied at the University of New York concentrating on Art History. Upon completion of his studies, Malle took a position at Roure Bertrand Dupont in 1988 and furthered his knowledge about raw materials and composition. Malle would learn the craft and traditions of perfume making but also meet some of the greatest contemporary perfumers of the time.
Malle has been a consultant to some well-known perfume houses such as Christian Lacroix, Chaurmet, Hermès International. He also collaborated with Pierre Bourdon in 1996 on the fragrance Mark Birley for Men.
Malle seems adequately prepared for an adventure of his own and started his own label in 2000 called les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle. Malle acts more like the curator who invites famous perfumers to create fragrances without boundaries of price. They also have only the best raw materials at their disposal. The perfumers are allowed as much time as necessary to work on their creations and they are free from the restrictions imposed by brands and marketers. The idea that the process of perfume creation was directly being affected by designer branding was a concern of Malle’s. Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle label was his way of combating this growing market. It was also a way of putting some of the best noses in the industry to the task of creating without limitation. Some of the most famous perfumers in the industry have created fragrances under the Frédéric Malle brand including: Pierre Bourdon, Jean-Claude Ellena, Edouard Fléchier, Olivia Giacobetti, Dominique Ropion, Maurice Roucel, Edmond Roudnitska, Michel Roudnitska, Sophia Grojsman and Ralf Schwieger.
Many aspects of Frédéric Malle’s brand was different that what was previously done in the fragrance industry. He was the first to advertise the name of the perfumers by printing directly on the bottle’s label. Usually these men and women remain anonymous or they might be connected with the creation of the fragrance but not given credit due. Malle prefers to give credit where credit is due.
Malle’s New York’s Upper East Side store opened in 2009 as his first free-standing location in the United States. The store’s interior was designed by Patrick Naggar. Malle took interest in 898 Madison Avenue while studying at the University of New York some 25 years earlier. Interestingly enough, Naggar’s interior included items from Malle’s own family collection, including a desk and chair that was his grandfather’s, Serge Heftler. Included in this somewhat Art Deco inspired interior or modern elements including, Malle’s smelling columns and refrigerators that house the perfume collection.
The Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle brand is featured in select department stores world wide. The current line consists of 20 fragrances with the latest release in 2010. The line is expanding to offer such products as candles, soaps and body products with the same standards he upholds as curator of perfumes.
Malle currently is celebrating the debut release of his book entitled “Frédéric Malle on Perfume Making”. In the book, Malle reveals many never-before-seen photographs and personal notes about each of his fragrances. There are also fragrance formulas that outline their ingredients. “This book was a great opportunity to show this business the way it is rather than romanticizing it to death like everybody does,” Malle says. “It’s really very beautiful just the way it is.”
Malle lives in New York and travels back to Paris on occasion.