April 11, 2014
The Annick Goutal Boutique opened their doors April 10, 2014 at 397 Bleecker Street. Photo Valerie Lee Vitale
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Artistic Director Camille Goutal, (the daughter of the legendary Annick Goutal) and Perfumer Isabelle Doyen on the opening day of Annick Goutal’s first boutique in the U.S. located in NYC. Our easy conversation left no doubt that this brand is in the amazing strong hands of two women who have kept and will continue to keep the brand authentic and innovative.
Annick Goutal's Portrait Photo Valerie Lee Vitale
It was fascinating to learn more about Annick Goutal -the perfumer and woman, who had an incredibly deep connection to nature along with a pioneering spirit that began when niche perfumery was just beginning. Camille Goutal said, “My mother was very special. She was strong minded, funny, generous, and a perfectionist. We (Doyen and Goutal) had a feeling that a part of her was missing in the collection, her craziness, wildness, and modern sensibilities. My mother was not classical in fact she was avant-garde.” They wanted to infuse this feeling into the brand.
Photo Valerie Lee Vitale
Two years ago they started to repackage some of the collection, and they felt it was the right time given the brand began almost 35 years ago, in 1981. They wanted to make an impactful statement an through an updated presentation. Soon the Soliflore Collection boxes changed to a pale pink color true to her mother’s sprit and mirroring the color palette of the Paris boutique. After the packaging they dreamed of a boutique in New York. In the end they chose Bleecker Street in the heart of the West Village, which we affectionately refer to as New York's Fragrance District. Camille Goutal explained, “We chose the location because of its fun and less traditional-feel, and we liked the Parisian atmosphere of the West Village. The boutique feels elegant yet warm and comfortable. There is even a fireplace that was specially made in France, and sits in the back of the shop. They kept the spirit of the wood throughout the boutique to reflect the very first boutique in Paris that was originally housed in a library. The brand’s symbol, a golden butterfly is beautifully represented in the shop. The butterflies seem almost filigree and generously embellish the walls. In the center of the shop there is a cascading silver metal sheet that seems to symbolize this desire to infused modernism.
Isabelle Doyen and Camille Goutal (Photo Valerie Lee Vitale)
Together Doyen and Goutal have the freedom not to follow the trends, and freely use their imagination and bring together all the things they love. Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen explained that collaboration equals curiosity. Everything is a source of inspiration. “Wood can be translated, the touch of stone, or fabric. Raw materials are very inspiring themselves, as well as paintings travel and journeys. A combination of everything not only scent, even the temperature of the place. Everything can be translated into scent”
Un Matin d'Orange EDP
Doyen recalled the differences and similarities that Annick and Camille share. Annick Goutal had a fascination with rose oil and Camille with white flowers. Isabelle recalled the subject of a gardenia flower. She told me how Annick had taken a trip to Paris with her husband, and on the trip she became fascinated with the scent of gardenia that was growing high on a wall that she passed every day. She told her husband wow this flower is fantastic and to her surprise her husband climbed the wall and handed her the gardenia. She came back to Paris with it on her lapel, and said to Isabelle let’s make a perfume based on this idea. Gardénia Passion (1989) was created. Doyen continued to tell me that a few years later Camille went to Japan, and she too became fascinated with the scent of gardenia that she found in a Japanese park. She too wanted to create her vision of a gardenia perfume and Un Matin D’Orage was created in 2009. Camille quickly showed us the photo of the gardenia in Japan that she said was bigger than her hand. In celebration of the opening of the boutique they are launching Un Matin D’Orage EDP. Doyen describes “a deeper storm comes back and makes the fragrance even more sensual. It uses the same base as EDT but more flowery.” Camille mentioned that the gardenia interpreted here is lighter greener with a feeling of mushroom. She said that Isabelle “captures the idea of mist and the dew inside the flower.” This fragrance alone is worth a trip to the boutique.
Photo:Valerie Lee Vitale
In closing Mme Goutal generously shared a memory of her mother, specifically a memory of being in the lab with her Mom. She described it like this, “I went every Wednesday to the lab, she was working a lot—very late most nights. On Wednesday afternoons there is no school in Paris. It was a special moment that we shared; we had lunch together.” Camille reminisced, “There are a lot of different memories. She was always interested in everything—exhibitions, beautiful places, walks in the countryside. She would take herbs, flowers and rub them in her hands, and smell them.” Camille emphasizes,” Even if she weren’t a perfumer she would have done this.”
Valerie Vitale, Editor
Editor's Note: If you havent't read my indepth interview with Camille Goutal in 2009, it is a wonderful prequel..as Un Matin d'Orage was just launching, please read it in its entirety here – Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief