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Atelier Flou: Reviving original French perfumery

French perfume brand Atelier Flou made its debut in the Middle East earlier this year, releasing six out of ten fragrances under its trademark, three of which are for men: Katana, Amarcord and Black Purple.

Aficionado sat down for a one-on-one talk with the brand’s creator, Jean-François Cabos, who revealed the inspiration behind each of the fragrances and how he communicated his emotional thoughts to the brand’s nose, Jacques Charbet, to create the unique Occidental collection.

Currently, Atelier Flou’s perfumes can be found in the UAE exclusively through Paris Gallery retail stores, but the brand is planning expansions to other GCC countries in the near future.

You are the owner of several businesses in the beauty field. What is perfumery to you?

To me, a fragrance is not a marketing product, it is a creation and an emption.

I’m not a perfumer, but I am a perfume lover. So to do each of the perfumes I had to describe to the perfumer a masculine atmosphere, and I thought about how I could describe what I’m feeling, so I ended up writing poems and doing drawings. For each fragrance I wrote a poem and did a drawing.

You are the owner of several businesses in the field of beauty. What is perfumery to you?

To me, a fragrance is not a marketing product; it is a creation and an emotion.

Can you tell us about the creation process with the company’s nose, Jacques Charbet?

I’m not a perfumer, but I am a perfume lover. To make each of the fragrances, I had to describe to the perfumer a masculine atmosphere; I thought about how I could describe what I’m feeling. So I ended up writing a poem and making a drawing for each fragrance.

Jacques Charbet started his career as an in-house perfumer for Chanel. He’s a very nice person and I trust him very much as a professional. We’ve been working together for at least ten years now.

How long did each perfume take in the making?

Each of the perfumes took between two and five years to create… We worked on several projects at the same time. Sometimes, it’s easy, but at other times, it can be difficult.

A perfume has to be well rounded with many façades and, sometimes, you can reach a balance, but when you touch or try to modify one façade or the other, the whole thing collapses.

When was this collection originally launched and why did you decide to bring it to the Middle East now?

This collection was launched two years ago and I didn’t know the region very well or how to step into it, but then I met House of Niche and decided to work together.

What is your view regarding the perfume market in this region?

In the region here, perfumeis part of the culture, and people know perfume.

It’s not like in the northern part of Europe or Japan, where it’s not part of the culture. are aware of the layering and we have very specific fragrances here that you cannot find in Europe or elsewhere.

Unlike the trend we are seeing this year, none of the perfumes are oud-based. Is the brand trying to stand out?

I don’t work with fashionable trends. Oud is an Arabic raw material and who can work with this material better than Arabs? Certainly not the French or the Europeans.

You smell beautiful oud perfumes from a traditional perfumery here, but when you smell oud from other brands, it’s not oud anymore. I think that everyone has their tradition and know-how and, personally, I cannot understand the people who copy others.