Love Story

Li Ying Lim speaks to the cou­ple be­hind Ate­lier Cologne about the mak­ing of a whole new fra­grance cat­e­gory.

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They rev­elled in the evergreen fresh­ness of a clas­sic eau de cologne, but Christophe Cer­vasel and Sylvie Ganter were poised on tak­ing their love one step fur­ther by in­still­ing it with the char­ac­ter and last­ing qual­i­ties of a per­fume. Cer­vasel, co-founder of the new fra­grance brand Ate­lier Cologne, is an ex­pert racon­teur, and it shows in the beau­ti­ful sto­ries that give life to the “colognes ab­solues” he cre­ates along­side his wife. “The sto­ries are the first step to all our fra­grances – most of them were in­vented when we were on road trips in the car.”

Take for ex­am­ple, the Oolang In­fini, com­posed of Si­cil­ian berg­amot and oolang tea. It speaks of a man watch­ing his breath fog up the win­dow as he gazes out to a frozen lake on an es­cape from the city. Then there is the se­duc­tive Vanille Insen­sée that tells of a dark mo­ment when he catches a fa­mil­iar scent in a bar and turns to find his ex-lover. Mem­o­ries re­turn in al­lur­ing whiffs of Mada­gas­can vanilla, Ital­ian ce­drat, and Slove­nian oak­moss.

Above all these novel com­po­si­tions, is an iconic fra­grance: “Orange San­guine is the begin­ning of Ate­lier Cologne, which has now be­come our sig­na­ture. It’s made of blood or­anges from Italy that smell di­vine even from a mile away – you in­stantly smile at the scent of it.” It re­vis­its that mo­ment when every­one had gath­ered for break­fast on the ter­race, a sym­phony of their laugh­ter play­ing in the air as waves crashed against the cliffs.

Of course, their favourite story is one of love. Cer­vasel re­calls when he fell for his wife: “There were two moments. The first was when we first met. I re­mem­ber a full day of talk­ing – a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion that was end­less. That was when I knew she was the one,” he re­veals. “The sec­ond mo­ment was in a desert on the Ca­nary Is­lands. We started talk­ing while on a camel, then on a bus, and we fin­ished the con­ver­sa­tion on a bal­cony.”

It is pre­cisely this bond be­tween them that adds such a beau­ti­ful aura to the colognes ab­solues, a scent cat­e­gory they cre­ated. In 2009, the cou­ple com­bined their knowl­edge and at­ten­tion to de­tail, gained from pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence at lux­ury beauty houses, and set strong foun­da­tions for their own brand. Ev­ery note is made of raw ma­te­ri­als sourced by two ex­clu­sive bou­tique sup­pli­ers based in Grasse. The fla­cons are de­signed by Po­chet, with the caps hand­made by French watch­band mak­ers. “We are 100% made in France – more of South of France, as both of us were born there. Start­ing in the US was by ac­ci­dent,” shares Cer­vasel. Even­tu­ally they threw open their heir first Vene­tian blue doors (“In­spired by the Mediter­ranean skies and sea,”) in New York City, its ts invit­ing in­te­rior with echoes of a Man­hat­tan loft. t.

“It takes two to three years to make one scent. You need to let your first cre­ation ion sit for a while, come back af­ter six months, and still feel re­ally good about it. Oth­er­wise it won’t n’t last,” he smiles. “Sylvie and I have to agree 100%. 0%. If one is not con­vinced, then the other can­not ot de­cide.”

Ate­lier Cologne may be the he first per­fume house ever founded on cologne, e, but a shared pas­sion for scent and a fairy­tale ale mar­riage give it quin­tes­sence and char­ac­ter. “When we talk about el­e­gance in per­fumery, we see it in colognes,” says Cer­vasel. Avail­able ex­clu­sively at Kens Apothe­cary.

Ate­lier Cologne Orange San­guine cologne ab­solue, RM650 (200ml)

The Ate­lier Cologne bou­tique in New York

Christophe Cer­vasel and Sylvie Ganter

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