16 dicembre 2015

Talks with wolves: interview with Thierry Blondeau

Probably you heard about Thierry Blondeau under the nickname Mechant Loup, the bad wolf, which is the signature of his blog Olfactorum. less likely you heard about his own perfumes line launched the last year in Paris. Always eager to meet young creators, I was looking forward to talk to him after smelling Narcisse Emoi (meaning Narcissus Trouble, but also sounding like Narcissus and me in French) which striked me for its finesse.
Thierry started ten years ago to play/practice with raw materials, composing accords and studying molecules interactions and the results they give. One year and a half ago comes the big change: after flawless room scents one of which, Ma Garrigue has turned also into a perfume, he felt it was the right time for a coming out proudly showing his creations. He doesn't look like a too bad wolf so don't be afraid and let me introduce him.

E: What are your first scented memories?
T: Since I was a child, I was attracted by smells. I love the smells of nature, the countryside, my granny's perfumes, the smell of her house and everything bearing an odor.

E: When did you realize the power of smell would have been so influential to you?
T:  felt something was going on actually when I discovered raw materials for the first time at the Osmothèque Versailles. Instinctively I saw myself playing and mixing them to create olfactory landscapes and perfumes.
I was a perfume junkie since longtime, but it was that precise moment that changes everything giving me a creative impulse, a new vision opening to my eyes.
But at 33 you are too old to get back to school, so my path to this should have been different.

E: So how did you train and when did you decide you would have created fragrances?
T: Since then, I felt the urge to better know raw materials, so I attended the courses at Cinquième Sens to learn them.
Then I started composing, testing accords, like a pianist practicing scales I practiced with perfume composition for almost eight years. So, by 2014 I felt I was ready to share what I created.

E: Where do you find the inspiration to create your fragrances?
T: Inspirations is everywhere. Thanks to my Italian origins, I have a weakness for light and landscapes, art(music and paintings) and surely by a certain aesthetics.
French culture inspires me with the everchanging landscapes of regions (Brittany, Auvergne, the French Riviera and wine territories). I love food, the countryside, the smell of woods and a crackling fireplace, everything related to taste and good food.
Given that I also like cars, I like to say I design a perfume like the shape of a car.

E: Speaking about masters and reference models, which are yours?
T: Jacques and Jean Paul Guerlain without doubt, they created my favourite perfumes. Nowadays my reference is Jean Claude Elléna because succeeds to perfectly balance top quality raw materials, emotional inspiration and aesthetics.

E: Is there any fragrance you particularly admire and you'd have created yourself?
T: Vol de nuit is the one I admire most of all. Among contemporary perfumes I like the work on Poivre Samarcande, which I find incredibly refined.
L'Artisan Parfumeur brings me far away with its travels, I enjoy the deep raw materials used by Serge Lutens and I like Liquides Imaginaires for its imaginary.

E: Each perfumers has his palette ruled by particular shades of colours. Which are the raw materials that fascinate you most of all?
T: Actually, while smelling a raw material I see a color so it's like having a palette when I create.
I like a lot narcissus, jonquil, rose and smoky woods like vétiver, birch and cade. But there's also a set of synthetics without which nothing would be possible, standalone they don't have a particular smell to my nose but they play a major role to render particular shades letting me as close as possible to what I have in mind.

E: How does it feel like being an indie perfumer in France that's the land of big distribution chains and old perfume houses?
T: Being independent means being free to go wherever you want, dare with different proposals without the urge to follow the market.
It's risky, because you never know if the public will be there for you, but I think being independent means being fair with your emotions and with the imaginary you share, it's playing with beautiful materials, even expensive sometimes, it's daring to go where the market wouldn't go.

E: Before being a perfumer, you also are a blogger. How do you think the web influenced perfumery?
T: The main contribution of the web was to break down myths about olfactory creation bringing perfume to its lovers. Thanks to the web perfumers are more easily allowed to speak about raw materials and the creative process in a more direct way.

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