“This new collection is inspired by the myth of the garden of Eden and the original sin” Kilian Hennessy explains “I wanted to express the contrast between innocence and sin, and the struggle with temptation. This is why the packaging is white, to symbolyze innocence, and gold, to represent vanity.”
“Regarding the packaging” I object “the refillable bottle with the box costs 205 euros, the refill with the fragrance, 85. Does it make sense that the packaging is worth 120 euro?”
“I’m surprised by this question.” More than surprised,Kilian looks shocked “There has always been a lot of attention to packaging in perfumery, just think about Guerlain… Why should’t packaging matter?”
“Because packaging has nothing to do with the smell you will carry around all day.”
“But the emotion of owning and using a beautiful thing also stays with you all day” he answers.
Then he sprays In the City of Sin on a paper strip. It smells of fruit and cedar wood, so I ask: “Is this a sort of reincarnation of the sadly discontinued and reformulated Feminitè du Bois by Serge Lutens?”
But I’m wrong: “I agree with you that it is sad that Feminitè du Bois was discontinued” Kilian says “because the reformulation of the new one is not the same!But I have to “slightly” disagree with you in regards to the “reincarnation”. For me, In the City of Sin takes its inspiration more in Femme by Rochas. Feminitè du Bois was already inspired by Femme, modernizing the prunol accord and overdosing the cedar wood. In The City of Sin goes one step further by overdosing the fruity accord of plum with apricot and overdosing the cardamom. If you smell both scents one next to the other, you will see that In the City of Sin is much less cedar wood and much less animalic!” I love it, I want it, but at this point I still think I’ll buy only the recharge.
Then Kilian sprays Good Girl Gone Bad (***). Is smells very fruity floral and his time I get the question right: “In the official pyramid on the press kit there are no fruit notes. Is it correct to think that the “forbidden fruit” that tempted Eve is represented by the apricot-smelling osmanthus, or is it just my idea?”
“Good Girl Gone Bad has actually a strong fruity accord based on a cranberry reconstitution and osmanthus absolute from China, so you are absolutely right! The osmanthus flower quality I chose has a very strong apricot facet to it. Not all osmanthus have the same facets, it is such an amazing flower: apricot mixed with violet mixed with leather! Not an easy combination to mix in a perfume.” He smiles.
Do the three fragrances of the new collection tell a sequential story, like the ones of L’Oeuvre Noire?
“Absolutely! My scents are always “chapters” of a bigger story. Here it was the myth of the “original sin” that I wanted to translate in this sequence: In the City of Sin is a metaphor of the location where temptation takes place, then Good Girl Gone Bad is a metaphor of Eve, and Forbidden Games (***) is a metaphor of forbidden pleasures.
Why did you stop giving “subtiles” to your fragrances, along with the names, like you did in L’Oeuvre Noire? I loved the idea…”
“It was not needed for this collection. But you may never know in the future!”
“Are refillable bottles the only eco-luxury feature of your company or are there other things, such as, for instance, the choice of environmentally safe ingredients or any other such thing?”
“Refillable bottles and reusable boxes and almost no use of plastic are a start. My ambition is to develop By Kilian as real environmentally safe company. It is just very expensive to do so. We are taking it step by step. In less than three months, you will see that our boxes for the travel spray and the refills will become reusable as well. I am devoted to put on the market only refillable/reusable products. But it makes things SO much more difficult…”
He smiles again, the he asks me a question: “have you seen the boxes of the new In the Garden of Good and Evil collection?” Actually, I haven’t, except in pictures. Kilian leaves the room and comes back carrying a white enamel box whit a sinouos, sensuos golden snake on the lid. His phrase “the emotion of owning and using a beautiful thing also stays with you all day” starts to resonate in my mind. And, suddently, spending 205 euros seem absolutely reasonable to me. The box, inspired by Art Deco cigarette holders, is absolutely necessary to carry my low cost Tuscan cigars and lighter, as the cardbord box always breaks and all my handbags are full of tobacco crumbs. There’s always a good excuse to splurge on real beauty…