Fashion and fragrance: a creative dialogue that is heaven scent

The artistic festival of Hyères is a bold creative platform for designers and perfumers alike.
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Fashion, photography, and fragrance… it is in the pretty French seaside town of Hyères that the hottest names from the worlds of fashion and photography have gathered for 30 years to champion the next generation of rising stars.

Every year, the festival objective to showcase the ‘Creativity of Tomorrow’, providing a platform for a short-list of 10 exciting new couturiers, often launching long and luminous careers. Now sponsored by Chanel, the festival has provided a springboard for bright sparks who have become superstars in the fashion world. 

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Fragrance partnership

Supporting this ode to the visual arts is Givaudan, which has been involved since 2004. Initially present as a sponsor, five years ago we became an official partner of Hyères, invited to create fragrances for all the designers participating in the contest. Offering an exciting arena for our core team of head perfumers, the Hyères fragrance partnership helps each couturier express their aesthetic universe olfactively, in the spirit of the large fashion houses.

Frédéric is Creative Marketing Director at Givaudan and explains the importance of this event: “Fragrance, by its very nature, expresses our cultural ‘l’air du temps’ – think how Opium characterised the 1980s or Le Mâle in the 1990s – perfumes magically reflect the trends around us. As a fragrance house, we have our finger on the pulse. Being at Hyères is a great way for us to plug into emerging trends, interact with our customers as well as being a highly creative event.”

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Distilling the essence

With a desire to craft scents that have instant, and enduring, appeal, Hyères is an opportunity for Givaudan to really showcase our perfumers’ skills. Working to a tight timeframe and provided with just the designers’ mood-boards for inspiration, our perfumers must distill the essence of their craft – and their couturier’s vision – into a winning scent. Mood-boards from the ten international young fashion designers are sent to the Givaudan perfumers, who then browse each portfolio and pick the designer whose work most appeals to them.

Frédéric explains the process: “The designers’ fragrance is a key differentiating factor that also helps them illustrate their universe in front of the jury at Hyères, so it really needs to express the feel of the collection. There’s no packaging to distract from the scent, so it has to speak for itself. If the clothes are light and airy, the fragrance will reflect that; if they are complex and challenging, our perfumers will bring this to the scent. Our perfumers listen to the designer but also offer their expertise, in what is a true dialogue between two creative spirits.”

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Creation of Liselore Frowjin at Hyères festival 2015
The captivating look that inspired Quentin’s fragrance for Liselore Frowjin. © Peter Stigter. 

Our vision for tomorrow

An incubator for artistic exchange, Hyères is also an important event where the broader notion of ‘tomorrow’ is discussed, as everyone has one eye on creating a bright future... and that means a sustainable one. During the festival, fashion industry executives from all over the world flocked to the seminar hosted by Rencontres Internationales du Textile et de la Mode, which explored the links between creativity and sustainability.

As more designers seek to employ ethically sourced or totally recycled solutions, Givaudan can bring its expertise to the table. It’s a forum where we can highlight our ethical sourcing initiatives for natural ingredients, discuss the sustainability of our supply chain and long-term system for the materials we use, sharing our own creative – and beautiful – vision for tomorrow.

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    Portrait of a perfumer at Hyères

    Fashion, fragrance, photography… same vision, different materials


    Givaudan perfumer Quentin
    Quentin, fine fragrance perfumer

    “I was presented with all the fashion booklets from the designers at Hyères and one immediately jumped out at me, that of Liselore Frowjin. I loved the vibrant colour-palette she had used and her interesting textures – a mix of sheer and glossy fabrics – and I was lucky enough to get first choice as her perfumer.

    “What sprang to mind on seeing Liselore’s work was a ‘Matisse’ mood: dynamic, sporty, and full of contrasts. She had forged a different kind of visual universe – very modern and almost futuristic.

    “I based my fragrance on a particular garment that really grabbed my attention: a piece worked in a bright ‘frog’ green teamed with black. This daring dichotomy inspired my fragrance for Liselore, which had an equally dynamic and contrasting structure. I blended bright, crisp, juicy and modern notes with warmer, deep tones. Juicy, aqueous notes of shiso leaves, cucumber and apple were underscored by warm cinnamonic, cuminic, berry facets to create the required darker contrast.

    “I worked with Givaudan’s captive for shiso leaves, Shisolia, which has a spicy green character together with a deeper base note, Sylkolide a captive musk patented by Givaudan. The musk molecule has fruity facets and it married well with the juicy, blackberry heart of the perfume. The whole process was incredibly quick, as Liselore loved the fragrance right away. After tweaking the scent a few times it was ready in just over two weeks.

    “This type of creative process is typical of what Hyères inspires: a rapid, vibrant and stimulating exchange that enables us to craft scents which provoke an instant appeal. Just like a designer or a photographer, fragrance is another way of expressing a certain aesthetic – we can translate the image of a beautiful woman or the sound of children in a playground into something tangible and wearable. We’re all looking at the same snapshot, just using different materials.”