Tell us about the start of LESQUENDIEU brand?
As a French fragrance house created by my grandfather in 1903, Lesquendieu was already over 100 years old when I relaunched it. The idea came to life when I realized the uniqueness of our DNA, which arises from our methodology: the finest materials crafted by the finest craftsmen. The initial decision was to launch the Historical Collection, comprising 5 of our most significant 20th-century fragrances, all created by Joseph Lesquendieu, Lilice being a great example. Created in the twenties for my grandmother only, it bears her nickname (her first name was Alice and he used to call her Lilice); this fragrance was reserved for her only. In 2020 we decided, under my artistic direction, to write a new chapter: The Oriental Collection, inspired by Joseph's travel diary to the Arabian Peninsula. Oud&Woods, Orris Amber, Oud Saffron or Cuir Vétiver are travel emotions translated into fragrances.
How would you define the style of your perfumes?
Modern and timeless. Our creations are defined by our will to push the boundaries of luxury, which is about innovating and forging tomorrow. This results in fragrances that don't abide by defined codes. They do not belong to a "style" or "fashion". An example of this approach is the use of 24 Karat pure gold, worked by our skilled craftsmen to finish the caps, or the decision, made by grandfather over a century ago and that I still uphold today, to create exceptionally long-lasting fragrances, with concentrations reaching nearly 30%.
Where do you seek and find inspiration for your perfumes? And once inspired, what is your creative process?
Inspiration often comes from our history and our archives. The brand's relaunch was based on a set of archives books written by my grandfather in later years, which helped me understand to the fullest what a Lesquendieu perfume meant. In the case of the Oriental Collection, it all started with my grandfather's travel notes, for instance! Our creative process always starts from an idea, an emotion. I am lucky to be accompanied by an excellent team of highly talented individuals who, step by step bridge the gap between the initial idea and the actual scent.
Describe a day in the life of a master perfumer when working on a project like LESQUENDIEU perfumes?
My schedule often starts around 08:00 in the morning with a quick meeting that sets forth the day’s priorities for everyone. The day is punctuated by unexpected calls or meetings but I always make sure to take the time needed to create and lay the foundations of next projects. One of those is the shift towards sustainability by working through our entire chain and eliminating all unnecessary processes and eliminating cellophane. The day ends late as I am usually more creative past midnight!
How do you find your ingredients?
We find our ingredients all over the world. We are lucky to have many trusted suppliers who provide us with the finest ingredients, such as Sicilian Mandarine or Vanilla from Madagascar.
Do you have any favourites among your fragrance collection?
I particularly enjoy Bonne Fortune from our historical collection and its "fresh warmth". It changes its notes throughout the day and shows many facets. Additionally, our Oriental Collection, Cuir Vetyver fascinates me. The leathery note reminds me of my grandfather's origins and Vetyver adds a lovely freshness to this fragrance - which characterizes Lesquendieu.
What would you say are the core values or philosophy of LESQUENDIEU?
Commitment. Commitment is essential for our brand. We are committed to our clients, committed to providing them with the very best of our craftsmanship and savoir-faire. This commitment to excellence is our driving force and shapes the Lesquendieu processes, from initial creative meetings to the final quality control.
Craftsmanship. Our products are handcrafted in Grasse, South of France, and we take pride in placing our skilled artisans at the very heart of our production. Lesquendieu fragrances have been handmade for over 100 years, and I indeed intend to keep doing so!
Sustainability. At the heart of a mesmerizing fragrance are fine raw materials, which we owe to nature. The least we can do, in turn, is to aim at reducing our carbon footprint whenever possible.
All creative projects have their challenges. What was your biggest challenge working on your collection?
Our biggest challenge is to keep being creative, carving the way ahead while remaining true to our foundations and history.
What is your favourite smell?
I do not have a single favourite scent. I enjoy working with Rose de Bulgarie, which we find in Lilice, or Orris (roots of Iris, stronger). It is a crucial ingredient in Orris Amber. The synergy that arises from accords is what I enjoy most, such as the leather note created from Birch and Black Tea. It defines very well our perfumery: a perpetually evolving quest.
What do you enjoy doing outside work?
I never truly feel that I am working as passion does not have working hours!