They say three’s a trend: In 2012, Saint Laurent dropped “Yves”; Celine removed the accent aigu from its brand name this September and now, iconic French fragrance formerly known as Annick Goutal, too has repositioned itself with a new name – Goutal Paris. Nevertheless, this was a long time coming for the 37 year old cult brand and with the launch of its newest fragrance, Bois d’Hadrien EDP, I had to opportunity to speak to Camille herself on her creative process, the brand’s revamp, her mother and of course, the iconic perfume, Eau d’Hadrien EDP and its latest reinterpretation.
On her mother:
- My mother was strong-minded and very tough but she knew we needed special moments in life, and thanks to fragrances, she could share these moments.
- This is something that you might not be able to imagine but it can get very cold in France. My mother, she hated being cold and she loved the sun, the cypress and the sea because she was from the south of France.
- When she launched it [Eau d’Hadrien], I like this story because she was not very famous at that time, people would say “Oh, it would not work. It’s not the trend for fresh fragrances.” But very soon it became our best-selling fragrance in France and worldwide.
- [My mother] didn’t let anyone [dictate] what she should do and when she has an idea, she would just do it.
On the brand’s revamp:
- We’ve [already] been saying “Goutal” for years in the company and so without Annick or not, my mother is still here. She’s here with us.
- I’ve been wanting to change the brand for more than 10 years because the brand is very creative but sometimes it can look a bit old fashioned, which for me is a bit of a shame because there are so many great things that we can offer.
On Camille’s creative process:
- We draw our inspiration from many things. It can be food, clothes, colour and fabrics too. For example, if you touch the fabrics, they don’t have the same feeling and it’s the same for fragrance.
- It seems complicated for people who aren’t familiar with scents but actually if you smell everything and start to memorize the scents, you will be able to associate scents with emotions.
- Isabelle Doyen and I work together – it’s teamwork. Sometimes she has an idea and we’ll work on it, and sometimes I have an idea and we’ll work on it. There are no rules.
- I used to be a photographer so colours and shapes are very appealing to me. I have as much fun working on the packaging as I have on the fragrances.
On the iconic Eau d’Hadrien EDP and the latest Bois d’Hadrien EDP:
- There is a book called Mémoires d’Hadrien and it talks about the life of the emperor and my mother fell in love with the book as she was very inspired by the emperor, his feelings and emotions. So she created the perfume Eau d’Hadrien.
- This fragrance [Eau d’Hadrien] is very delicate, tender, vivid and dynamic at the same time so it was a real challenge for us to [reinterpret] the formula.
- When we thought about working on the fragrance again, the first idea that came into my mind was winter. Something crispy and freezing but I thought it might confuse our clients. So I thought about it again and Tuscany came into my mind. And what is Tuscany for me? It’s the sun, the colour of the earth and the shape of the hills.
- I haven’t been back in Tuscany for more than 20 years since my mother died. We used to go there every summer.
- I had all these impressions of the ochre soil so I tried to put in the woody aspect, the warmth, and the colour in the fragrance. We’ve also added a bit of sugary notes to make the scent rounder.
Visit www.goutalparis.com for more.