FRA­GRANCE FOLIE À PLUSIEURS

Per­fumes with a me­thod­i­cal mad­ness.

Neue Luxury - - Front Page - By Dan Thaw­ley

There are few sen­sa­tions that speak to our col­lec­tive con­scious­ness the way per­fume does – its frag­ile, ephemeral nu­ances con­jur­ing both fan­tasy and mem­ory in our minds and bod­ies, with lay­ered pos­si­bil­i­ties shift­ing be­tween the wearer and those who share their per­sonal space. The am­bi­gu­ity of scent holds its own fas­ci­na­tion, the in­con­gru­ous ex­pe­ri­ences of dif­fer­ent re­spon­ders rais­ing ques­tions of re­ac­tiv­ity and per­cep­tion. Do we smell the same things? Do they evoke the same emo­tions and feel­ings?

Cre­ative Direc­tor, Kaya Sorhaindo, is re-defin­ing the col­lab­o­ra­tive and artis­tic bar­ri­ers of the per­fume in­dus­try with his lat­est fra­grance project: Folie à Plusieurs. Trans­lated as ‘mad­ness of many’, the name stems from the idea (and med­i­cal con­di­tion) of shared delu­sions. For Sorhaindo it en­cap­su­lates the col­lec­tive spirit of cre­ation within his new brand – where artists make per­fumes and per­fumers make ‘scent tracks’ for film, in­tro­duc­ing a new melt­ing pot of scent-based cre­ation. Sorhaindo’s first projects have in­cluded tap­ping nose Mark Bux­ton to scent a screen­ing of Art House Direc­tor Michel Gondry’s film Mood Indigo in Ber­lin this May and a fra­grance with pho­tog­ra­pher David Lachapelle in the works for Septem­ber. Neue Lux­ury spoke with the vagabond cre­ative on the ex­is­ten­tial sig­nif­i­cance of the fourth sense and how he plans to cel­e­brate it. DAN THAW­LEY: So, why per­fume? KAYA SORHAINDO: Well rather why me? I ask my­self this ques­tion many times, be­cause scent is a medium that found me - she chose me. Through the medium, I have been able to ex­pand a way of work­ing as a Cre­ative Direc­tor ways. With my client projects it has al­ways been about in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary col­lab­o­ra­tions and cre­at­ing a multi-sen­sory and emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ence through per­fume I was able to push this even fur­ther. This is def­i­nitely far from my child­hood dreams of be­ing a reg­gae dance­hall singer or a com­mu­ni­ca­tion and de­sign stu­dent in uni­ver­sity, but in the end I think the am­bi­tions are the same - to com­mu­ni­cate. I am re­ally hon­oured to be able to cre­ate and com­mu­ni­cate within the medium of per­fumery. DT: How do you choose your ‘plusieurs’, your col­lab­o­ra­tors? Do you choose peo­ple who push you? KS: In all cases we def­i­nitely look for folie or mad­ness in their work. There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent ol­fac­tory projects and col­lec­tions within Folie à Plusieurs - each col­lec­tion has dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria for cu­ra­tion. Our main Gallery Col­lec­tion launches in Septem­ber and fo­cuses on very es­tab­lished artists from a di­verse range of dis­ci­plines such as per­for­mance art, mu­sic, film, lit­er­a­ture, pho­tog­ra­phy and fine art. For projects like our Ol­fac­tive Li­brary, we are work­ing with emerg­ing artists whose work we gen­er­ally just love. In our Art Depart­ment I have a bright young cu­ra­tor named Rita; we are very much aligned taste-wise, but she is con­stantly in­tro­duc­ing me to new artists. This is the beauty of con­stantly hav­ing young tal­ent and en­ergy around me. How­ever, the gen­eral prin­ci­ples that we have out­lined to­gether and that cover all col­lec­tions and prod­uct col­lab­o­ra­tions is that the artists must con­tinue to rein­vent them­selves, are cross-dis­ci­plinary, pro­duce a high qual­ity level of work and have made a firm state­ment in what­ever dis­ci­pline they are pri­mar­ily en­gaged. DT: Who do you want to wear your cre­ations? KS: For us it is not about wear­ing a per­fume, it is about liv­ing them and liv­ing through them in the same way that one lives through mu­sic, lit­er­a­ture, art and food. We are in­ter­ested in peo­ple who un­der­stand new no­tions of lux­ury and what should con­sti­tute a mean­ing­ful hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. We are in­ter­ested in peo­ple that de­mand more from a prod­uct, and use these prod­ucts to aid larger hu­man pur­suits. It could be that per­son who goes to a Phillip Glass con­cert or vis­its an Ai Wei­wei show at the Tate, for ex­am­ple. DT: Where and how is a Folie à Plusieurs per­fume cre­ated, man­u­fac­tured, and sold? KS: We have a cre­ative studio in Ber­lin and studio in Paris. The con­cept de­vel­op­ment and de­sign hap­pens in Ber­lin, and the ol­fac­tory de­vel­op­ment in Paris - de­pend­ing on the project we work with dif­fer­ent in­de­pen­dent per­fumers and fra­grance houses. A lot of our spe­cial projects such as Le Cin­ema Ol­fac­tif with Soho House will be sold ex­clu­sively on our web­site. How­ever, for our main Gallery Col­lec­tion, each fra­grance is cre­ated in two parts - the Art Box and the Fra­grance Box. The first con­tains the fra­grance and a lim­ited edi­tion art­work by the con­tribut­ing artist, sold through a very ex­clu­sive dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel of gal­leries, mu­se­ums and one con­cept bou­tique per mar­ket. The Fra­grance Box is purely the per­fume, sold at se­lect apothe­caries and depart­ment stores. Each fra­grance in the main line is first launched in a gallery and then in stores a month later. DT: Tell me about the pack­ag­ing… KS: The ob­jects vary for each col­lec­tion. For ex­am­ple, for the Le Cin­ema Ol­fac­tif Col­lec­tion (with Soho House & Mark Bux­ton), each piece serves as a mem­ory box, where you can re­visit mo­ments from the film on your own terms, so it is pack­aged in a small black box with a 12ml bot­tle and a ce­ramic ap­pli­ca­tor. For our main Gallery Col­lec­tion, two to three scents a year are com­mis­sioned by prom­i­nent artists, and UN­COM­MON MAT­TERS jew­ellery de­signer Amelie Riech will de­sign the bot­tles to cor­re­spond to each artist. The black bot­tle is en­cased in a surlyn ma­te­rial so you have the feel­ing that the bot­tle is float­ing, al­most like a Damien Hirst sculp­ture. The cas­ing and the bot­tle change with each artist, but the bot­tle re­mains black with no brand­ing. Once empty, it can be used for an­other pur­pose, such as a vase for a rose or ink, etc. DT: Do you think about the en­vi­ron­ment when you make your per­fumes? KS: Ab­so­lutely. As men­tioned, our pack­ag­ing specif­i­cally for the Main Col­lec­tion is about ex­tend­ing the use of an ob­ject, de­sign­ing it in such a way that it lives far be­yond its ini­tial in­tent. I am re­ally tired of this dis­pos­able cul­ture. I be­lieve if you cre­ate you should cre­ate with mean­ing and every­thing should be hu­man and en­vi­ron­men­tally con­sid­ered. This is not 100% achiev­able all the time, but the more you try, the more pieces fall into place and you come closer to the goal/ideal.

DT: If you were one in­gre­di­ent of a Folie à Plusieurs per­fume what would you be? KS: It is in­cense for sure: soft, mys­te­ri­ous and con­tem­pla­tive - but still sen­sual and ac­ces­si­ble. DT: Do you re­mem­ber the first ol­fac­tory ex­pe­ri­ence that pushed you to­wards the in­dus­try? KS: I grew up in An­tigua in the Caribbean. My mother is a de­signer who stud­ied at FIT in New York, where I stud­ied too. Al­though liv­ing and work­ing in An­tigua, she was well trav­elled, amaz­ingly tal­ented and an all round su­per cool lady. She al­ways had the most ex­quis­ite fra­grances from France and I would sneak a few sprays from her col­lec­tion. There is a cus­tom in parts of An­tigua where if you go to a spe­cial event or wed­ding, you spray a lit­tle of your per­fume in the air as you walk down the street. You do this for the peo­ple you are pass­ing, and if you didn’t do it peo­ple would prob­a­bly talk about you. I so en­joyed this story. I loved the idea of per­fume be­ing this thing that was shared and the idea of be­ing able to of­fer peo­ple the lux­ury of smelling, to be trans­ported to an­other place. DT: So you think that per­fume should be shared, not pro­tected? KS: I feel that the medium of scent is so­cial just by its na­ture and I think this is the beauty of fra­grance. As much as you want to keep it a se­cret, a good per­fume, like any bril­liant work of art, finds its way to an au­di­ence. Whether in­tended or not, it can­not be re­stricted and it af­fects oth­ers with whom you come into con­tact. This is my de­sire for per­fume and par­tially the in­spi­ra­tion for my brand name Folie à Plusieurs: this idea of shar­ing a mad­ness, shar­ing your fan­tasy, your way of see­ing the world.

Mood Indigo, Mark Bux­ton’s scent for Le Cinéma Ol­fac­tif. Photo: Alexan­dre de Bra­bant

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