December 8, 2016
Jean Phillipe Clermont Creative Director of Atelier des Ors
I will start by telling you something of my background. I grew up in the French countryside in Brittany and enjoyed a quiet, happy and simple childhood. Nature has always been part of my spare time and still today there is nothing else I like more than a stroll on Brittany’s shores when storms are throwing massive swells onto the coastline. The sky is low and merges with the grey sea at some stage. It is truly inspiring.
Claude Monet – Belle-Ile Rain Effect 1886 Brittany
I love my ancestor’s ground where stories of druids, Breton goblins and foggy weather suggest the existence of another world filled with mystery and fantasy. I always feel at home when I am going back there. My love for tradition and heritage comes certainly from there. I have always been interested in creativity and commerce. When I was young these passions first came together when I sold seashell necklaces to my parents’ friends and even though the idea didn’t really take off I was already interested in making and selling beautiful creations. I also liked to draw and grew up with my mother’s paintings and being around her art and creativity has always made me want to seek the aesthetically pleasing. My family also had a business that specialised in the retail of fine table glass and china. I spent many hours with my grandparents listening to all of the stories behind the creations, the manufacturing process, design and also the history of these pieces of art. I believe this time spent with my grandparents encouraged and inspired me to think about the importance of craftsmanship behind the objects.
Vincent van Gogh – Breton Women 1888
There are some early memories of specific smells from this time that I can recall. My grandmother made pear jam from their harvest at their countryside house. The pear trees were organic and very old. The “Gateau Petit Duc”, home made caramel and “œufs au lait” deserts were always cooking and the smell filled her home each time I visited her for holidays.
Dancing Scene in the West Indies’, Agostino Brunia
When I was 17 my life changed as my parents moved to the French West Indies and it was quite a shock for me, however I think it was also good too, as I realised I could be a global citizen in the world. I graduated from an International Business school and travelled for some time to explore the world. I was drawn to Asia and the Middle East. I also lived in Singapore and Beirut where I really fell in love with the culture in the Middle East, the literature, music, poetry, food and the lifestyle. In the French West Indies at the open market in Fort de France the smell of spices, Bois d’Inde for marinated fish, poudre de Colombo (curry variant made of a mix of spices), cinnamon, coconut, green citrus, guava, mango, piment oiseau were all around. I was a fan of the local gastronomy too. Boudin noir with piment oiseau, boudin blanc with lambi (sea shelf) and blanc manger coco desert.
Dubai photo by Pierre Gueros of Symrise
In Lebanon (where I lived for two years) there were more delicious aromas with oriental pastries and necklaces of jasmine flowers sold in the street by market sellers. The food was really incredible – zaatar (mix of spices used in Oriental Cuisine) manakishe and all the oriental mezze but also the Turkish cuisine with its variety of Ottoman dishes and fish from the Bosphorus. I still think of a sumptuous lamb ragout with quinces. I am even a greater fan of the oriental cuisine and the smell of the shisha.Back in Paris, I worked with fine handmade cigars and it was here that I really began to be intrigued by the world of scent. The smell of the cigars with their scented smoke involved a search for the perfect blend of materials that delivered an incredible odour. My work took me to the Middle East and then I set up my home in Dubai where I have lived until recently. I am now back in France living in the sunny South.
I developed Atelier Des Ors to bring my passion for art, refined craftsmanship and beauty together. My dream is to create perfumes that fuse together these elements to give the wearer something they will be proud to wear, will take pleasure in and find some inspiration at any given moment. When I first started Atelier Des Ors I didn’t really look too hard at what others were doing. I had a vision of what I wanted to create and I felt that there was a place for my dream.
Atelier Des Ors Display at Jovoy
There are currently five perfumes available in the range – Aube Rubis, Lune Féline, Rose Omeyadde, Cuir Sacré and L’Armes du Désert, however there will be two new arrivals very soon that I hope you will get to know better.
Atelier Des Ors at Harrods London
One is called Iris Fauve that we showed at Pitti Fragranze in September and the other is Musc Immortel that will be an exclusive limited release at Harrods in London.
Marie Salamagne of Firmenich
I first met Marie Salamagne, the perfumer for the range through a friend. On our first meeting we talked about art, craft and perfume and it was clear that she was the right choice to create the perfumes for Atelier Des Ors. She talks about creating perfumes like paintings.
Olivia Gaches (Fragrance Development Manager) with Jean-Phillipe Clermont and Marie Salamagne Atelier des Orsaube
She visualises her creations where hues create contrasts and I feel she has been able to bring the vision to life. Marie and I worked for three years and I also collaborated with designers and craftsmen to make the dream a reality.
Atelier des Ors Parfums
I wanted to bring the search for perfection to everything we do at Atelier Des Ors. The craftspeople involved in the making of the perfume, the boxes and the bottles are very important as they bring techniques they have learned over time and seek to improve them generation after generation. We have also chosen to work with great raw materials at every stage and we try to find the right balance for the perfect solution. Through the limited editions I am very happy to be able to showcase the amazing work of our talented gold gilders. I have always been in touch with craftsmen for bespoke projects I had in my cigar activity. It might be exotic leather cigar cases or wood marquetry humidors. I like to explore new directions and will soon expand the fine materials we use for our limited edition to wood and leather.
Atelier des Ors Lune Feline
With Atelier Des Ors the aim is to bring some mystery and aspiration to Haute Parfumerie along with poetic elegance.
Creative Director Jean-Phillipe Clermont
We pay special attention to every detail and work on each perfume as if it was a piece of art. Perfume in itself can also be considered as a “métiers d’art”. This is very important. I like to say that Atelier Des Ors is grounded in the French classicsm but we are reinterpreting our heritage with a modern twist.
Iris Fauve photo by Danu
The quest for beauty and a refined aesthetic are key for Atelier Des Ors and we do not like to compromise. The gold that we incorporate in our bottles symbolises the pursuit of perfection and the search for the absolute in ancient times. Gold was important to many cultures as a symbol of divinity and the ever lasting. Like gold, perfume (per fumum) was associated with the search for the divine, as priests in many ancient religions burnt incense to communicate with God.
Gustav Klimt Golden Tears
Future projects include a very specific one that I cherish which has been maturing in my mind for over a year now. Marie and I are going to explore the link between painting, music and perfume and the use of gold in art. I can’t wait to bring it alive!
–Jean-Phillipe Clermont of Atelier Des Ors
Jean-Phillipe Clermont with Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief of CaFleureBon photo taken by Rob at Osswald NYC November 10
Editor’s Note: I first met Jean-Phillipe at Esxence in 2015, where Pierre Guillaume of Parfumerie Generale hosted a dinner in Milan. Visiting the stall the next morning, I was immediately struck by his vision as a Creative Director. I was thrilled to see him once again last month at Osswald NYC who hosted A Gilded Evening with Atelier des Ors- Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief
All photos unless noted are courtesy of Atelier des Ors
Atelier des Ors Perfumes Aube Rubis, Lune Feline, Rose Ommeyade, Cuir Sacre
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