In the $6 billion U.S. fragrance industry, Frédéric Malleand his company Editions de Parfumsis an anomaly. Instead of launching scents designed to appeal to a broad spectrum of tastes around the globe, scents that he says have no soul, Malle, 45, took another approach, inviting nine of the world's top noses to conjure up their ideal perfumes.
The idea for Editions de Parfums, launched in 2000, can be traced to Malle's frustration as a fragrance consultant in the mid-'90s. "I knew I had great perfumes," says Malle, "but corporations weren't willing to take risks on them." Fragrance professionals complained they weren't allowed to explore new scents, and the women Malle knew weren't interested in wearing the scents sold in stores because they all smelled alike. Malle, whose grandfather created Christian Dior's perfumes, saw a chance to do what no one else was doing: give the perfumer free rein with no budget restrictions.
The results are rich, authentic fragrances with concise notes such as iris, bergamot and tuberose. Eachincluding Lys Méditerranée, which evokes a hot summer night when ocean spray and the dense smell of lilies fill the airenvelops the wearer in a scent world.
Niche fragrances have become one of the fastest growing segments of the perfume industry. Malle plans to expand Editions de Parfums's 15 scents, launching a new fragrance this fall. He will also add two new U.S. boutiques to his four existing locations in Barneys. As Malle likes to say when collaborating on a scent, "A good perfumer knows exactly where he's going."
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