Mathilde Laurent, the nose of Cartier to rethink luxury perfumery

8:30 PM, June 1, 2022

In the competition for the most beautiful flowering balcony on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in Paris, the Cartier house will have every chance. Its hanging garden, which overlooks the headquarters of its prestigious neighbor Hermes, breathes white flowers and aromatic plants. However, Mathilde Laurent hates the cliché of the perfumer who was photographed in a field of roses in Grasse. Cartier perfumer, who arrived in 2005 after 11 years in Guerlain, received an Albert Elbaz jacket, in what she calls it. ” apartment “.

Business plan sitting in ” Bedrooms “. From this white desk, the perfumers created the fine jewelry house by writing their inspirations on a blank page. In a lab set up in the next room, a small team translates their results into juice. “A perfumer is never in an organ; I write perfumes, not make them.” Mathilde Laurent explains. Over the course of the creation process, certain agreements will be entered into. It won’t be over until I feel what I had in mind. This can go through several hundred corrections. »

The goal is not to remake the hits of the 80s and 90s

Over the course of launches and original creations or bestsellers revisited, the nose has repositioned the Cartier perfume collection in the “high perfumery” category. The Tiger brand is no longer behind the commercial success it enjoyed in the ’80s and ’90s with Must, Pasha or Santos. Mathilde Laurent does not have a track record of making gondola ends duty free. You must imagine a new territory to express luxury in the style of Cartier, which breathes in its bottles or is reflected in its jewels.

Read also – Cyril Vigneron, CEO of Cartier: “We are in a period of overheating”

The Richemont Group, owner of Cartier, has the means to match her ambitions. Its annual turnover (which closed in March and was unveiled this week) reached an unprecedented level of €19.2 billion, up 46% over last year.

She wants to rehabilitate synthetic molecules

In his homes, as his shops are called, perfumes do not recede in a small corner. Mathilde Laurent imagined a wall of video screens that automatically broadcast a selection of visual elements as each perfume case was opened. The XXL tester was inspired by the group called Les Heures, which was launched in 2010 and which today includes about fifteen juices. “Each of them proves how far we can revisit the history of perfumery”The die-hard designer, who fought a crusade against a profession, insists, according to her, “lost”. Brands no longer call in designers and high-end perfumery is disappearing. They rely on component manufacturers or outsource design to marketing teams. To create an impulse to buy at the point of sale, smoothies are designed to explode before quickly losing their grip.

Do you think that the cut, dead and cooked flower, which will oxidize, decompose and ferment, will allow you to get the aroma of the plant in the field, alive and fresh?

Even worse, for Mathilde Laurent, the talk about natural ingredients misleads customers. She wants to rehabilitate the synthetic molecules that have accompanied the entire history of perfumery. “Do you think that a cut, dead and cooked flower, which will oxidize, decompose and ferment, will allow you to have the aroma of the plant in the field, alive and fresh? Mathilde asks Laurent. It is impossible, especially when part of the particles disappears in the extraction process. »

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The professional believes that modern perfumery, like any artistic creation, is born from the contemplation of nature and its beauty. But these natural components are not the only ones that can accompany the creative process. “The essence of the art of perfumery is to leave the only flower, the real one, in the fields and recreate it, Specifies the perfume maker. It is the desire to keep something ephemeral, imperceptible that should guide us. We should not support the concept of nature. » Mathilde Laurent is currently working on a very special order. A Comédie-Française actor asked him to make a perfume for his new role in a play on Molière. The smell of an animal as you imagine Paris at the time. The twelfth attempt may be the correct one.

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