The perfume Rozu Aesop: a tribute to the designer Charlotte Perriand
With Rozu, the perfume he has just imagined for Aesop, Barnabé Fillion draws a portrait of Charlotte Perriand.
When Barnabé Fillion went to Japan for the first time, at the age of 21, he put only one book in his backpack: Charlotte Perriand’s autobiography (Une vie de création, ed. Odile Jacob). “This woman has always been a guide, like a mentor to me. I’ve always been fascinated by this alliance between Japanese minimalism and the intelligence of social design with the use of tubular metal,” says the perfumer, who has just created Rozu, a fragrance in homage to the designer, for Aesop.
The Australian skincare brand has always had links with the world of culture. Firstly through its name, inspired by that of the Greek writer Aesop; but also through Virginia Woolf’s enigma inscribed on the façade of the company’s headquarters in Melbourne – “Why are women so much more interesting to men than men to women? “(Why are women so much more interesting to men than men to women?) – or through the many collaborations with architects for its boutiques around the world (Snøhetta in London, Düsseldorf and Singapore; Dimorestudio in Milan; the Campana brothers in Sao Paulo; Simplicity, Shinichiro Ogata’s agency in Tokyo…). This is no doubt why the brand entrusts its essences to Barnabé Fillion, a nose that draws on other disciplines to create. “I’m developing a very synesthetic relationship with perfume. When I smell something, I first see textures, cultural inspirations. I want to open up the territory of perfume and, to do so, I often collaborate with artists,” he confides.
For Rozu, it all started with a rose developed in honor of Charlotte Perriand – she whose terrace on the rue de Montalembert in Paris (7th arrondissement) was covered with roses – by a collective of Japanese horticulturists who live north of Kyoto, near Lake Biwa. “It is a beige variety with a slightly coppery tone. Fascinated by this metallic hue, I used it to develop this perfume, inspired by one of Perriand’s favorite materials,” says the designer. To this top note, he added a touch of Vetiver, “the perfume (by Guerlain, editor’s note) that Charlotte was wearing,” recalls Pernette Perriand-Barsac, his daughter. “But also shiso, or Japanese basil, which resembles the Alpine plants that Charlotte loved so much. Finally, I added cumin, for its malice, and myrrh as a base note, which represents the art brut photos of minerals she was taking,” explains Barnabé Fillion, who relied on her gifts as a synaesthete for this woody, unisex scent that embodies the creator perfectly.