What could best transcend the matter to reveal Philippe Starck’s love for the immaterial?
The head, the heart, the base. For the first time, the creator is revealing himself in a range of three fragrances that will usher in his new perfume label, STARCK PARIS. He has come to grasp the world of perfumes, discovered as a child, in his own way: by handing over to renowned master perfumers a personal vision filled with curiosity, audacity, sensitivity, elegance and generosity. Born out of his childhood dreams and his own unbridled, visionary imagination, the Peau de Soie, Peau de Pierre and Peau d’Ailleurs collection presents us with a bouquet of unexpected olfactory poems whose words are scents and every skin a palimpsest revealing unending possibilities.
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CHILDHOOD
The link between Philippe Starck and perfumes goes back a long way. Evoking this world inevitably takes him back to the olfactory sensations of a childhood still within reach, only skin deep: a far-off memory that says a great deal about the source of his interest in scents, perfumes and fragrances.
When memory takes a fragrant journey during which the top, heart and base notes so dear to perfumers are revealed.
To the source, the birthplace
Top note: an image, an emotion, a place? The memory of his mother’s perfume shop immediately comes to Philippe Starck’s mind. It was here, in the cramped back room, that he spent many hours, discovering the intoxicating, unique “aroma of tedium”. From the shelves in the stockroom and the shelves in the shop came an olfactory maelstrom that, with each breath, transported him to mysterious, faraway worlds. An undreamt-of place for games and future experiences: “I loved to take refuge in this place; I was nowhere and at the same time I was everywhere. Because of the aromas, the exponential sum of the perfumes, beauty creams, lotions and shampoos, I travelled through uncharted territory filled with incredible riches. What I did not know at the time was that I was growing up inside the most powerful vehicle for the mind and the unconscious.” The very essence of creativity.
The chemistry of time
It was “in this fabulous world that only perfume can offer, in contact with all the smells created by man,” that Philippe Starck found, very early on, the raw materials for his creativity. Although at the time he dearly wanted to remain in that universe, some vain attempts to create perfumes rapidly led him to try his luck elsewhere. A few short years were enough for him to become established as a creator with a multi-faceted inventiveness always ready to sail into the wind, with his senses ever on the alert. The evolution of the human species has always inspired him. He aspires to discover its mysteries, he feels it, he senses it… Along with music, smells are always part of what triggers in his mind an emotional, physical and mental call to action that leads to unending innovation. “Every time I came in contact with an aroma, every time I sensed the trail left by a woman passing by on the street, the effect was immediate. My mind was on the alert.” The unconscious is stubborn: it never lets go and today it has brought Philippe Starck back to the world of perfume. A universe understood with the desire to offer a personal perception that tends to come closer to the immaterial.
The essence of a brand, of a first collection
Which perfume can reveal the mysterious reality of female or male sensitivity? Which scent can have darkness, cosmic void or an asteroid? To grasp the ungraspable, to transcribe all the worlds that he has visited, is visiting and will visit as olfactory poems, Philippe Starck has turned to the talents of renowned master perfumers. With these scribes of scent, he has begun an unusual creative process: a cross-disciplinary dialogue as inspiring as it is impassioned and fascinating. “This open-minded way of talking about science and dematerialisation, of evoking paradoxical images was, I think, a novel approach to the craft that obliged us to invent a new language. The translation by these great technicians, these artists who transformed my words into three different but complementary fragrances, was perfect. It was letter perfect, everything was there”. A smell is a word, a perfume is a story, stories whose opening chapters are written with Peau de Soie, Peau de Pierre and Peau d’Ailleurs. Three perfumes born from one man’s vision and dreams.
ANATOMY OF A COLLECTION
Behind the magic of chemistry and science, what is a perfume but poetry, emotion, sharing and love? Because he creates nothing without making we humans his priority, Philippe Starck has designed these first three fragrances in perfect harmony with his idea of what we are: what we have been, what we are and what we perhaps will be.
After thousands of years, mankind is following the same path. From the first months in the womb, people are enveloped in this unique skin that will be with them for the rest of their lives. An immutable witness, a highly reactive messenger who inspired the name of the first collection of perfumes from Starck Paris.
With Peau de Soie, Peau de Pierre and Peau d’Ailleurs, their creator has stated the obvious, that a fragrance is an olfactory tattoo, a kind of intimate skin: “to wear a perfume is to create one’s own territory”. He has looked beyond this, searching for a dimension that teases, that questions. Is this not the original interface between what is real and what is unconscious, between the near and the far, between primitive instinct and genius? A mysterious “space between”, between what we know and what we do not yet know.
Perfumes are like an enigma: This word suits Starck.
With Daphné Bugey, Annick Ménardo and Dominique Ropion, the three master perfumers who helped him to produce this first collection, they have flown in the face of convention and conformism. In order to better explore and challenge the limits of their creativity, they had no forbidden territories, especially not regarding the materials. Each fragrance has its duo of creator and writer of scents. At each stage of its design, this diagonal conversation made it possible to create balanced notes accords, enigmatic enough to keep the identity of the different ingredients safe.
Apart from an absolute insistence regarding the high quality of the selected ingredients, there was no manifesto for the first collection of perfumes from STARCK PARIS, just some crazy but delightful aims. A total freedom which was under the only condition of having to confine these unseizable juices inside a bottle. In his craziest dreams, Philippe Starck imagined he was able to work away from the watchfulness of materiality. The packaging had to be minimal, able to hold the fragrance without taking away its mystery and immaterial quality that he was seeking for each fragrance.
“The object is not what is important,” its creator loves to repeat. Here, it is the perfumes that count, the emotions that they produce, the sensory and sensual link that they create, what they say to us. Stories of men and women, adventures on the outer reaches of the imagination, of the cosmos. Or something very different, who knows?
The visual identity of the campaign was entrusted to the English graphic design studio GBH. A graphical universe that transcribes the immaterial as material, playing with appearance and disappearance, imprinting on the retina a mysterious, evocative vagueness.
PEAU DE SOIE
STATEMENT OF INTENT
Philippe Starck “I’m a man who is passionate about women, especially my wife; I’m fascinated by their mysteriousness. I also know that I will never understand them, that between men and women beauty exists at the heart of an undefined, paradoxical space where to find each other they have to let go, to give up a little of their femininity or masculinity. ”
Dominique Ropion has mastered the art of blending sometimes extreme scents, with no limits but with precision. Always ready to experiment with unexpected and even novel balances, he has understood the concept of this olfactory work to be a sensual, organic form in which, through the softness of the female skin, the mysterious, subterranean territory of feminine beauty can be sensed.
Ingredients, a few clues: cardinal points; unexpected slants; male/female duos that attract and respond to each other; a game of seduction in which ancient and modern raw materials and animal, woody and vegetable notes find a balance.
Peau de Soie is a paradox, a perfume whose femininity wraps around a man’s heart. A perfume that reveals the space between, between the surface and the core, where feminine mystery is evoked.
PEAU DE PIERRE
STATEMENT OF INTENT
Philippe Starck “The idea is to give a masculine slant to Peau de Soie. What would a man be like if he did not wish for that? I am a man who is proud to acknowledge his feminine side; I attribute my main qualities to it. I wanted a men’s perfume that reveals this femininity, that shadowy area where everything melds, without anything being lost. ”
Daphné Bugey has never sacrificed her instincts to the mastery of her art. Curious, imaginative, sensitive, her personality predisposed her to undertaking this research, for which no specific goal was set. It was from thinking about the fascinating beauty of a black hole, dense, attractive and enigmatic, that the idea of reconciling opposites arose: light and dark, masculine and feminine.
Ingredients, a few clues: big bang; exploring a mysterious unknown; gemstones; a woody, almost smoky intensity; the riddle of a synthetic molecule more real than nature.
Peau de Pierre is a masculine fragrance that reveals a man’s feminine side. It is the membrane, the symbol of that permanent ambiguity that filters our differences and personality.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
Philippe Starck “I wanted a perfume that you can’t remember because it doesn’t exist, that you can’t name because words grow silent when you want to talk about the perfume of a happy memory, the perfume of the shadows, of the cosmic scent of emptiness The idea was to grasp the ungraspable, to explore abstraction, to make the invisible visible, to make the air vibrate. This unending territory transports us into the total unknown, to that far-off place that sends us back into our unconscious, to pure spirit. ”
Annick Ménardo, among whose many talents is bringing free thought and an analytical spirit to her work, was inspired by a picture of a meteorite that offered an invitation to a long, new voyage: to somewhere close to the unknown, in this void that is everything but nothingness.
Ingredients, a few clues: meteorite; a circular mandala of light and dark; the heart of an earthly material, mineral, amber, musky and woody, whose notes are only revealed at the end of a long voyage.
Peau d’Ailleurs is strange, indefinable and elusive. An exploration into ourselves, through the elsewhere and the unconscious, its perfume is also an escape into the infinite territory of dematerialisation, where the scent of the cosmic void comes into contact with that of a Terra Incognita.
Despite his thousands of projects – completed or in the making – his global fame and his tireless protean inventiveness, never forget the essential. Philippe Starck has a mission and a vision: creation, whatever shape it takes, must make life better for the largest number of people possible. Starck believes this highly poetic, political, rebellious, benevolent, pragmatic and subversive duty must be borne by all and he resumes it with the humour that has accompanied his approach since the earliest days: “No one is forced to be a genius, but everyone has to take part.”
His anticipatory concern for environmental implications, his profound comprehension of contemporary mutations, his enthusiasm for imagining new lifestyles, his determination to change the world, his devotion to a positive reduction, his love of ideas, his desire to defend the intelligence of usefulness – and the usefulness of intelligence – have accompanied one iconic creation after the other… From everyday products such as furniture and lemon squeezers, to revolutionary mega-yachts, micro wind turbines, electric cars, and hotels that aspire to be wondrous, stimulating and intensely vibrant places, Starck never ceases to push the boundaries and criteria of contemporary design. His technological miracles are vectors of democratic ecology, focused on action and a respect for the future of both humans and nature. Predicting the phenomena of convergence and dematerialisation, Philippe Starck has always devised objects that demand the most from the least. The solutions provided by his dreams are so vital, so essential that he was the first Frenchman to be invited to the legendary TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design) conferences, talks that bring together such illustrious speakers as Bill Clinton and Richard Branson.
Inventor, creator, architect, designer, artistic director…
Philippe Starck is all of the above, but above all he is a man of honesty, in the purest tradition of the Renaissance artists.