Haute Perfumery

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

Villa 88 - - Beauty -

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

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