An interview with Michel Mane, president of Mane Fragrance and Flavors on how a fragrance becomes a global hit and his favorite notes of the season.
It’s not every day that you get Michel Mane, the president of global fragrance and flavors company Mane, to whip up a fragrance just for you, but that’s exactly what event-goers and this Beauty Editor had the treat of experiencing this past weekend (Sept 28-29) at the 2013 Taste of France, held at Bryant Park in New York City. Beakers, test tubes, vials, sprigs of lavender: Watching him create fragrances was like watching a magician. After choosing out of 10 top notes on litmus paper (the scent created for me is a mixtures of lavender, rose, cardamom and tonka bean) I quizzed him on the top notes of this season and the season to come and found out how – by the rules of chemistry – beautiful fragrances are born.
Stylesight: What are the top trends in fragrance for F/W 13?
Michel Mane: “When the weather gets cooler, we crave warmer, richer, deeper, more back-heavy perfumes. An amber-oriental or a spicy woody scent that we wouldn’t dream of wearing in summer can feel just right for colder months. FW 13 is the time to try a smoky oud, an oriental gourmand, or a rich ‘floriental.’ Many recent launches feature osmanthus, a Chinese flower with a fruity peach aroma. Osmanthus is a versatile note that can range in intensity from ethereal to lush. It’s a contemporary way of bringing fruity floralcy to the palette, with a lactonic aspect that works elegantly with woody or vanillic drydowns.”
SS: How about scent trends for and S/S 14?
“When spring returns in SS 14, we’ll crave scents that express the renewal, rebirth, regeneration of delicate flowers and leaves. It’s a time for fantasies of rooftop gardens, fragile blossoms, and tender olfactive colors. In summer, everyone wants refreshing, splashy scents, and that’s when you’ll see a lot of citrus cologne types, spiked with aromatic herbs and cooling spices, or watery floral impressions.”
SS: What, in your personal opinion, makes a fragrance a global hit? Is it a particular scent that registers with consumers?
MM: “When a fragrance qualifies as a global success, it’s either a brand phenomenon (Chanel is the gold standard), or it’s an olfactive composition that offers different things to different people. A prestige fine fragrance is complex, faceted and nuanced. When people from different cultures, lifestyles, or life phases all connect to it, it’s not because everyone in the world likes Granny Smith apple right now; it’s because we each find something we can connect with in the fragrance. Sometimes a handful of ingredients seem to be gaining popularity and driving newness, but what’s also true is that perfumery is continually evolving. Perfumers are creative artists who seek to express themselves with new constructions and surprising contradictions.”
SS: What is your favorite note at the moment?
MM: “Right now, I’m loving Namibian myrrh. We have an exquisite quality of ECOCERT certified myrrh, endemic to Namibia, harvested and extracted in accordance with Mane’s sustainability initiatives. Our Mane Namibian myrrh smells balsamic, peppery, resinous and warm.”
– Glynnis Mapp, Stylesight Beauty Editor