AR­TI­SANS

Henry Jac­ques is a well-kept se­cret among those seek­ing ex­quis­ite fra­grances. Now, the founder’s daugh­ter wants to share it with the world

Architectural Digest (UAE) - - Contents - WORDS TALIB CHOUDHRY

Henry Jac­ques is a well-kept se­cret among those seek­ing ex­quis­ite fra­grances

You may not have heard of Henry Jac­ques, but those seek­ing ol­fac­tory per­fec­tion in­vari­ably end up at the door of the French haute par­fumerie. In a world of masspro­duced, celebrity en­dorsed fra­grances, Henry Jac­ques is a rare thing - a fam­ily run per­fume house mak­ing be­spoke and small batch per­fumes, us­ing the finest in­gre­di­ents.

Founded in the Sev­en­ties by Henry and Yvette Cre­mona, it is now run by their daugh­ter Anne-Lise, who joined the com­pany when it was on the brink of clos­ing seven years ago. Hav­ing pre­vi­ously worked for a ma­jor com­mer­cial per­fume house for over a decade, Anne-Lise felt that Henry Jac­ques needed to re­main niche, but could grow by high­light­ing its rep­u­ta­tion for ex­cel­lence.

“For many years, we were in the shad­ows do­ing mainly be­spoke per­fumes for pri­vate clients, like an haute cou­ture house ” she says, “I wanted to share Henry Jac­ques with the pub­lic, but we can’t be very mass; for me, quan­tity and qual­ity don’t re­ally mix. It’s re­ally im­por­tant to have in­tegrity as a per­fumer.”

The com­pany’s lab­o­ra­tory is a ver­i­ta­ble trea­sure trove, hous­ing 1,200 com­po­nents sourced from all over the world. The fra­grances are made us­ing mainly pure nat­u­ral essences in the great French per­fume tra­di­tion, which means they are com­plex - some of Henry Jac­ques’ for­mu­las have 250 dif­fer­ent com­po­nents.

This em­pha­sis on qual­ity has led to dis­cern­ing clien­tele in the Mid­dle East, many of whom travel to Paris to com­mis­sion fra­grances, with pri­vate con­sul­ta­tions of­ten held at Anne-Lise’s apart­ment.

While she is un­der­stand­ably dis­creet about the house’s cur­rent high pro­file clients, she can say that they cre­ate be­spoke scents for roy­alty across the Mid­dle East, and it is pub­lic knowl­edge that Henry Jac­ques crafted fra­grances for the late H.H. Sheikh Zayed, surely the ul­ti­mate pa­tron­age in the UAE.

As well as be­spoke fra­grances, Henry Jac­ques cre­ates ‘mas­ter­pieces’ for se­lect clients, pair­ing a unique scent with ex­quis­ite bot­tles crafted from the cut crys­tal, pre­cious met­als and jew­els.

The chal­lenge for Anne-Lise was how to make the rar­i­fied ar­chive of some 3,000 for­mu­las and ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic. The re­sult is the Clas­sic col­lec­tion, 50 time­less scents that have proved en­dur­ingly pop­u­lar.

“The idea is not just to have one per­fume, but to live with sev­eral per­fumes,” she says, “In the 18th cen­tury peo­ple used to travel with a case of per­fumes, and it’s some­thing we en­cour­age. Our clients like to have scents for dif­fer­ent moods and times of day, to use our col­lec­tion like a wardrobe.”

The scents are bot­tled in el­e­gant crys­tal fla­cons, ex­act­ingly en­vi­sioned by the com­pany’s Artis­tic Di­rec­tor, the French ar­chi­tect Christophe Tolle­mer, who also de­signed Anne-Lise’s home and the new Henry Jac­ques Mid­dle Eastern flag­ship bou­tique in the Dubai Mall. In­spired by a French cas­tle, it is fit­ted with 18th cen­tury flag­stones, oak par­quet in­spired by the floor­ing at Ver­sailles and faux-stone cladding. All the wood pan­elling was built and as­sem­bled in France be­fore be­ing shipped to Dubai, en­sur­ing a per­fect fin­ish. Ab­stract art and a crisp, white panel which sweeps through the space pro­vide a mod­ern coun­ter­point.

The over­all ef­fect is grand but still en­velop­ing and cu­ri­ously re­lax­ing. “We wanted peo­ple to feel wel­come,” ex­plains Tolle­mer, “When you come into the bou­tique, time stands still. This is not a shop – you’re en­ter­ing into our home.” par­fums-henry-jac­ques.com

“For years, we were in the shad­ows mak­ing be­spoke per­fumes for clients”

1

1. Anne-Lise Cre­mona pho­tographed in her Paris apart­ment 2. Henry Jac­ques per­fumes are housed in ex­quis­ite crys­tal bot­tles2

1. The wood-pan­elled in­te­rior of the new Henry Jac­ques Dubai Mall flag­ship2. A show-stop­ping chan­de­lier with taxi­dermy doves hangs above Anne-Lise's din­ing ta­ble 3. A Henry Jac­ques jewel-stud­ded Mas­ter­piece4. Christophe Tolle­mer

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