French Perfume tradition lands on our shores in the form of Henry Jacques, a brand that, for nearly half a century, has propagated the personal touch when it comes to creating a distinctive scent
PROCURING A FRAGRANCE, HAS, FOR the most part, become a very commercialized routine: you walk into a well-lit department store or boutique, get spritzed with a few ready-made concoctions, and leave with your selection in a plastic or paper bag. Enter Henry Jacques’ newly-opened boutique at The Dubai Mall, however, and you get the immediate sense of being transported, perhaps to a chic home in the heart of Paris. Warm accents, intimate lighting, cozy furnishings, jazzy music, and only a conservative array of fragrances on display are certainly not the expectation in most perfumeries, and that is exactly the intention…
“Henry Jacques breaks the rules in terms of what has become normal within today’s industry of mass perfumery,” explains Anne-lise Cremona, the CEO of the company and the daughter of its founder and namesake. “On one hand, we follow tradition and the respect for ancestral know-how, but on the other, we see ourselves as contemporary and visionary…” she explains. “We strive for intimacy, introspection and contemplation.”
The Maison was founded by Henry Cremona in 1975, the product of his world travels, passion, and an inspiring encounter with one of the last great noses of the old French Perfume tradition. Since its founding, Henry Jacques has prided itself on treating every facet of fragrance-making as an art: from creating bespoke scents through indulgent, personalized experiences and working with skilled artisans to craft unique flacons, to developing a selection of perfumes following extended periods of study and reflection, and fully conceptualizing retail spaces that complement these distinctive qualities to establish a transcendent ambience. It therefore stands to reason that the Maison would have its very own Artistic Director: illustrious French architect Christophe Tollemer.
“This, to me, is comparable to the world of antiques and art: some specific and valuable pieces can only be found in the hands of one rare specialist,” Christophe muses. “Henry Jacques is such specialist in the realm of perfumes. This is what seduced me and has drawn me in from my background in architecture, this excellence and quality. I’m going to make a comparison, but in interior design: many use plastic imitations of woods, and others use rare antique woods. It is as simple as that; some use plastic, others use the real thing.”
One of the last remaining family-owned French perfume companies, Henry Jacques is flourishing in its second generation, in Anne-lise’s hands. “My creative contribution is, above all, a clear vision for Henry Jacques,” she says. “I had the dream of sharing a different vision of perfumery, with style and elegance. We had to dare to break codes, from the resurrection of wonderful gestures and rituals, to the delicate components in our perfumes and the creation of coherent collections, as well as countless other things.”
The Henry Jacques boutique in Dubai is only the brand’s second stand-alone boutique in the world, following the recent opening in Singapore and a longer presence at Harrod’s in London.
“You enter the boutique as you would a friend’s house, and you forget about time passing by,” says Anne-lise. “Everything is, for me, in accord with Emirati values. The selection of perfumes, notably the 30 Dubai exclusives, are not the result of a market study, but rather of a desire to share and a knowledge of the region.” @henryjacquesparfums