July 11, 2010
Annick Goutal Parfums is one of the original independent niche perfumeries, created in 1981 by the legendary Annick Goutal.
In this interview with the Camille Goutal, Ms. Goutal’s daughter who has led the Company's endeavors, including its famous fragrances (her "partner in perfume" is nose Isabelle Doyen), we have an insider’s view of the complex relationships between scent, memory, tradition and innovation, mother and daughters, as well as Mme. Goutal’s personal memories of one of the most innovative and influential women of modern fragrance.
Please give our readers a brief overiew of Annick Goutal Parfums
Camille Goutal: Annick Goutal is a Perfumery House, guided by the values of its creator and characterized by its remarkable sophistication and the excellent quality of its raw materials. Annick Goutal’s secret lies in its talent for transforming emotions into fragrances. Each unique creation represents a moment of happiness, a treasured emotion, or a powerful memory connected to a significant event or even a loved one.
What is your first olfactive memory?
Camille Goutal: Growing up with my mother, every moment was tied to scent. Whether it was hours spent playing in the lab experiencing each raw ingredient, or walking the lavender fields. Scent is a part of every memory.
Annick Goutal was the first woman to lead niche perfumery … what is her favorite memory of her mother?
Camille Goutal: I remember having breakfast in bed with my mother on Sunday mornings and cuddling up against her. I loved the smell of coffee and toasted bread in our house, the feeling of calm and happiness.
Did you always wanted to be in the family business?
Camille Goutal: I first wanted to become a photographer but fragrance was also a passion for me at a very young age. I involved myself in the creative process as much as I could.
How has the brand changed over the years, continuing to flourish when there are thousands of new offerings introduced and discontinued every year?
Camille Goutal: People have a passionate love for the brand. Each fragrance has stood the test of time because they speak so clearly to the women and men that covet them. The company has always been a labor of love, and I believe that clients can sense that.
What is your signature fragrance? What was Annick's?
Camille Goutal : If I had to pick one, I would say Songes. It was the first scent that I created. I love white flowers and powdery scents.
My mother was fond of roses, and created Ce Soir ou Jamais in their honor. This perfume was her dream and her quest.
What inspired Les Orientalistes?
Camille Goutal: It was mainly the rough material. My inspiration came from materials: the texture of an oriental fabric, the resine ingredients and the color used in the oriental paintings.
I was fascinated by the fact that the Orientalist painters use their imagination to depict a harem scene as they were not allowed to enter in a harem. They were in the same spirit state than we are when we compose. I was also touched by the sensuality depicted in the oriental paintings and I wanted to create very sensual and warm perfumes.
What role does perfume play in our memories and in our lives. Which fragrance from the Annick Goutal line expresses this best?
Camille Goutal: As you probably know our perfumes are the reflection of our lives, the people we met, and the people we love. We launch a perfume when we have finally succeeded to describe the emotion we have chosen. I find it really interesting when people, wearing my creation, share my feelings! You convey a message. I am so pleased when I see mothers buying Petite Cherie (little darling) for their daughters. It is the same love declaration that my mother did to me when created this perfume.
Please tell the story of Petite Cherie…
Camille Goutal: My mother created this perfume for me when I was 20 to mark the special time in life when a girl becomes a young woman.
Petite Cherie or “my little darling,” is a fresh combination of fruity and floral ingredients including peach, musk rose, pear, fresh cut grass and vanilla. The fragrance was created as a symbol of a mother’s love for her child.
Do you have a daughter/s? If so is she/they interested in perfumery?
Camille Goutal: I have 2 daughters. They're 6 and 9 and like wearing perfumes. They steal mine in our bathroom as soon as I turn my back… Especially the little one who literally "bathes" herself in Vanille Exquise…
Un Matin d’Orage is your newest fragrance. What was its inspiration?
Camille Goutal: Imagine yourself in a Japanese garden — not a Buddhist Zen-type place.
A real garden with lots of greenery — and smell the plants, leaves and white flowers after a storm as the sun creates a scented mist.
What is next?
Camille Goutal: We are continuing to develop Annick Goutal into a lifestyle brand beyond fragrance; we are expanding our skincare in 2009. Within the next two years we will be introducing an Annick Goutal cosmetics line, extending the brand into Potpourri, household linens and jewelry company designed by Virginie Monroe are also in the works.
We will be busy!
–Michelyn Camen, Editor-in Chief
Editor's Note: I have been wearing Heure Exquise Eau de Parfum, since the late 1980s (created by Isabel Doyen for Annick Goutal 1984). With its rich orris and rose heart notes and powdery sandalwood drydown, it is as quintessentially elegant and modern, but over the past eight years it is scarce and hard to find in the United States. I did manage to find a bottle recently in France, but the formula, obviously, has changed. I introduced L'Heure Exquise le parfum to my friend in fragrance Carol Tatti, who looks remarkably like Madame X, which is the image that best expresses the scent of this perfume.
I found myself ,reaching for the artwork of 'Another' Camille, Camille Pissaro….( he was a French impressionist painter and a Portugese Sephardic Jew)
Since this article in 2009, Annick Goutal released Ninfeo Mio, which is reviewed by Mark Behnke. http://www.cafleurebon.com/annick-goutals-sunlit-summer-garden-ninfeo-mio/
Contributor Felicia Hazzard wrote a lovely piece on Songes Sweet Dreams Are Made of This- Annick Goutal Songes
Alex Lee wrote about meeting Ms. Doyen http://www.cafleurebon.com/perview-alexander-lee-an-american-perfume-student-in-paris/
The company recently announced a new fragrance, perhaps a memorial to Annick Goutal passion for roses…. ‘Splendide de Rose’ will be launched in September 2010