Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Interview with Master Perfumer Harry Fremont
While most people are familiar with perfume names and brands, few know the names behind the scents, or understand the workings of the master perfumer commissioned to create the scents that many of us swear by daily.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Harry Fremont, The man behind (to name only a few):
Ralph Lauren Polo Sport
Kenneth Cole Black for men (with Sabine de Tscharner)
50 Cent Power by 50 Cent (2009)
Giorgio Armani Sensi (2002, with Alberto Morillas)
Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir (2007, with Jacques Cavallier)
Calvin Klein CK One (1994, with Alberto Morillas)
Lancome Miracle Tendre Voyage (2009, with Alberto Morillas)
Victoria’s Secret Body by Victoria (2002)
Mr. Fremont and I spoke about his past projects, his vision as a Master Perfumer, and his love for creating.
Harry Fremont is not a man of many words, he didn't strike me as the type chasing fame or looking to be in the spotlight. What Fremont made clear was his passion for his art, his desire to continuously push himself to create quality product and his ability to bottle energy, emotions, and beauty.
One of the main focuses of Swagger 360 has been to inspire. It is not only those that I photograph on the street that are a source of (stylish) inspiration to me, it's also those behind the brands, the visionaries, the artists, and the businessmen/women who push me to be more passionate about my art. It is these ladies and gentlemen who embody swagger - because it's about more than a brand for them, it's a lifestyle. It continues to be my pleasure to visit and share with you Street Style that goes beyond the streets. I present to you Mr. Harry Fremont, Master Perfumer from the Firmenich International Fragrance Center (1 of 3 companies that produce 80% of all fragrances worldwide).
For those who don't know can you explain what is the Firmenich International Fragrance Center?
Very few houses have their own perfumers. People go to suppliers to create the perfume. They have the color, emotion, feel and name in mind, houses like Firmenich (there are very few) work with the client to develop what they want, and create the final product.
What's a Master Perfumer?
I've been in the business for over 30 years, in 2000 I received the title Master Perfumer. A Master Perfumer is considered one who is ground breaking within the industry, it's about what you bring and your overall understanding of the business.
What's the point in what you do?
After September 11th I questioned things. While having a conversation with a co-worker, he mentioned that people needed to be happy and feel good - I do this for those reasons. Smell is a crucial part of who we are - with no smell, we can't taste. People also identify things and experiences with smell. Smell can take you back and help relive those memories.
I've read that being born in Cannes, France, you've been around beauty all your life.
Cannes inspires. The flowers, fields, that's where it all started for me.
On June 28th. 2010 Firmenich was proud to publicly announce that The Fragrance Foundation had recently presented the 'Perfume Extraordinaire of the year' FIFI Award to Firmenich and you, Master Perfumer.
* The FIFI Award is considered the Oscar for the perfume industry.
That was an amazing experience. The Tom Ford Grey Vetiver project was recognized and I am extremely proud of that. It showed that quality was not forgotten.
How do you create a perfume?
3 elements come into me creating a perfume.
Inspiration, What a client wants, Women.
I draw inspiration via nature.
What a client wants:
Here we listen to the client to understand what they're looking for and we reproduce it.
I think about the woman who's going to wear the fragrance. I think about what they would want a man to wear.
Where do you start?
Companies come with ideas. They let you know what they're looking for, if the fragrance be it sexy, sensual, energetic, etc. We then begin to translate what they say using the material we have accessible for the project.
I've looked at the list of perfumes you've created, how did you come to work with 50 Cent which seems to be an unexpected collaboration?
As a perfumer, you create many possibilities. The potential client chooses what they like and from there you work to make it his. It's about creating a product and hopefully the potential client feels it's what they're looking for.
What was the process with 50 Cent?
The first things that come to mind are Dangerous, Dark, Energetic, but he's quite funny and lighter than you'd think. With the Power fragrance, it was about combining everything and creating something that was masculine, nice, and fun. Trying to capture his personality.
How do you choose the ingredients in general?
It depends on what the client wants. They may want something woodsy, fresh, invigorating, enjoyable. There are key scents that fit each feel and emotion.
What's the core value of a fragrance?
You smell it!
What do you wear?
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver
Raplh Lauren Purple Label
Any last words?
I would like to create that perfect scent.
If anyone can do it, it will be Harry Fremont.
Tom Ford Grey Vetiver received three FiFi's in the "Best Men's Fragrance in the Luxury/Exclusive" categories in the U.S., U.K. and Germany respectively.
Firmenich is the world's largest privately owned company (No.2 worldwide) in the fragrance and flavor business. Founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1895, it has created many of the world's best-known perfumes and flavors that we enjoy each day.
In addition to the Perfume Extraordinaire Award of the Year, perfume brands created with Firmenich fragrances received a total of six 2010 FiFi® Awards in New York, and sixteen worldwide.
Photo of Harry Fremont courtesy of the Firmenich International Fragrance Center