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The Journey is the Destination: Interview with Clara Molloy, Co-Founder of MEMO Paris

"The Journey is the destination" is Memo's motto. For Memo the time of the journey is an integral part of the experience, it is essential for the encounter with beauty to occur. The Parisian fragrance house launched in 2007 by Clara Molloy and her husband John see fragrance as a journey, forging its identity around magical destinations and potent raw materials. This year Memo is celebrating its 15th anniversary! This was the perfect excuse to talk with Clara Molloy, co-founder of the brand, and discover the inspiration behind the newest scents from Memo Paris.
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How did you become a perfumer?

By opening a souvenirs box. I was always fascinated by the power of scents, the ones connected with the first experiences of things and their magic. The scent of Parisian stones after a shower. The typical smell of a bookshop… Then I published a book about the worldwide best perfumers to understand better their creative process. At that time, no one knew who was behind an iconic fragrance. It gave me the desire to make real my own idea of an olfactive world, connected to what I cherish most: discovering other cultures, languages, landscapes, rituals and sharing all of it through a perfumed gesture. That’s how Memo Paris began, as a tribute to the beauty of the world, to memorable places and moments that remains like a gift and enrich your own universe, and that you keep preciously inside your heart.

How would you define the style of your perfumes?

Intense. A touch of vintage. Precious as a souvenir. A longlasting effect. Beautiful natural elements. Likely to open your imagination. Never afraid of unexpected association of notes and accords to make it even more surprising.

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How do you find your ingredients?

We let our talented noses, like Alienor Massenet or Sophie Labbé, be inspired by the best raw ingredients, off limits. We don’t want to restrain their palette and creativity. We are concerned with sources and origins of ingredients, coming from sustainables plantations, and not over exploited.  

Memo is celebrating its 15th anniversary, tell us more about it!

It’s thrilling! Everything is still ahead at that age – like in a teenager phase -, but we want to keep this sparkle of youth and audacity, to still be free and independent, full of desires and new projects. We are celebrating this birthday with all the people that love perfumes, art and are part of Memo Paris blossoming, because it is a blessing to cruise with creation. It comes also true through an animated film retracing 15 years of perfumes, with the appearance of special guests, that we are so pleased to invite on board! We had a great time making it, and the result is a poetic and beautiful way to dive into Memo’s imaginary world.

Describe a day in the life of a master perfumer when working on a project like MEMO Paris? What is your schedule like?

Talk, do, talk again, redo, drink tea, coffee, try another shot, share it, feel it, make a radical move, prefer a slow adjustment… There is no real pattern, each fragrance gives its own rhythm, decides when it’s the right moment to come up.

Do you have any favourites among your fragrance collection?

It’s always difficult to choose among the members of a family. That said, I have a special bound to Lalibela, the first Memo perfume, where the mystical myrrh and the sensual rose get together. French Leather is as well dear to me, because it reminds me of Paris where I grew up and where I could build my emotional path, surrounded with so many cultural treasures and with this typical indolent and charming Parisian way of doing. I could add Eau de Memo, our 10th anniversary fragrance, and Irish Leather of course, a tribute to Ireland where my husband John, also cofounder of Memo Paris, was born.

How many scents should a woman have in their scent collection?

It surely depends on each personality, woman or man, as we don’t gender our fragrances. You can be bored with too many scents but always surprised with the same one! It’s a bit like love. For me, perfume is all about fredoom and the ability to choose for yourself what is the most appropriate to your personality, according to your mood, your desire… So I can’t establish a rule by numbers, or a perfume code. Even if I’ll be more than happy to see on someone’s beauty shelf a scent collection made of a vast range of Memo Paris perfumes!

All creative projects have their challenges. What was your biggest challenge working on your fragrances?

A fragrance able to say enough but still keeping a part of mystery. This balance is what I consider an achievement. Bold and discreet. Bright and dark. Not always opposite forces but with an inner strength and enlighment that gives its full presence through time.

What are your three favourite smells?

The smell of the stone of Paris after the rain. The smell of the sea mixed with umbrella pines. Home.

Pictures: PR

Webpage: www.memoparis.com

Instagram: @memo.paris

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