Thursday, December 9, 2010

Meet Paris’ "Nose" Extraordinaire

Rami Mekdachi On a balmy night during Paris’ last round of couture shows, a chic crowd gathered at haute cobbler Roger Vivier’s store on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Debuting that evening amongst the stiletto heeled confections and slim clutches carved out of wood, was a series of luscious fragrances created by Paris’ most sought after “nose,” Rami Mekdachi. Working closely with Inès de la Fressange, the brand’s ambassador, Mekdachi conceived five signature scents inspired by nature - Rose, Orange, Iris, Amber and Sandalwood.

That Vivier should call upon the talents of this 35 year-old olfactory wizard is no coincidence. Since launching his company, W, five years ago the Beirut-born Mekdachi has been sniffed out by an elite crowd of tastemakers. Among those who have cherry-picked him to create fragrances and scented candles, is Jean-Louis Costes of Paris’ hip Hotel Costes, Jacques Garcia, the star interior decorator of legendary temples of luxe such as La Mamounia in Marrakech and Jean-Georges in New York, as well as Colette’s Sarah Lerfel.

Part of Mekdachi’s allure, lies in his ability to weave together essences that allow others to experience the magic of a place. For Costes, a combination of rose and sandalwood conjures up the garnet-red velvets and silks of the famous hotel’s interiors, while for Jacques Garcia he created a tuberose rich scent that brings to life the sensuous opulence of the interior designer's décors.

“My goal is to create a perfume that would serve as a signature for my clients‚ much like it was done in the past,” explained Mekdachi, whose journey into the heady world of perfumery was anything but conventional.

In the mad rush to create the next “best seller,” Rami felt that an emotional connection had been lost in the creative process. After working as a musician and marketing director at L'Oréal, he decided to branch out on his own and seek out independent perfumers to create signature fragrances. For Mekdachi, perfume is similar to music in its ability to remind us of certain periods in our life or alter our mood.

This avant-garde approach and a respect for the art and history of perfumery, is the common thread that links all of Mekdachi's fragrances. It is a mantra that sets his work apart from both mainstream perfume companies with their focus on crowd pleasers and niche perfumers seeking new concepts and novel smells that may last only a season. According to the star perfumer, “It is not simply about following trends or inventing stories, but to create something timeless.”

© THE POLYGLOT (all rights reserved) CHICAGO-PARIS

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