Frederic Malle

An Evening with Frederic Malle: A Lila Das Gupta Interview

Big thanks to Olfactoria for sharing Lila Das Gupta interview with Frederic Malle – one the leading figures in the fragrance industry.  Here are some of the gems Mr. Malle shared with Lila but you should read the whole interview – it’s definitely eye opening.

“…there was a move to launch a new perfume all over the world at the same time.  As a result of this globalisation, the perfume had to appeal to the lowest common [denominator] in order to sell in huge quantities in many different countries.”

“There was another change in around 1997/98. Prior to that there were about 2,500 independent perfumeries in France. The staff would talk to the customers and help them find the right perfume. Then they were bought up by the big chains that were more like supermarkets with a “self-service” approach.”

My Favourite Quote:

“If a fragrance is too perfect or too pretty, it becomes boring. Fragrances – like people – have to have some kind of imperfection.”

“This is because they [Americans] like to be noticed and appear attractive. I could say they lack the French refinement but..!”

“Working with naturals is like writing with ready-made sentences.”

Olfactoria's Travels

By Tara

When you read about Frédéric Malle’s background, it does seem as if he was born with perfume in his DNA. His grandfather founded Christian Dior Parfums and his mother became their Art Director and collaborated on Eau Sauvage. Frédéric himself worked as a consultant in the perfume industry for many years before starting his own perfume house in 2000.


Editions de Parfums Frèdèric Malle put the perfumer centre-stage and indeed they were the first brand to put the perfumer’s name on the bottle. The perfumers were given artistic freedom without the usual restraints of marketers and focus groups and. The line started out with fragrances by nine of the world’s top perfumers.

The evening’s event was held in Liberty’s wood-panelled Heritage Suite which was once the office of its founder, Arthur Lasenby Liberty.


From his photograph, I had imagined Frédéric Malle to be very well groomed, but…

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