Image: Cock (symbol of France) Weathervane
The last two years have witnessed exponential expansion of the Paris niche fragrance market.
In 2012, the opening of two multi-brand niche fragrance shops, Jovoy and NOSE generated an important up-tick in activity for small to medium sized artistic niche brands and opened the door to an enormous influx of American and other ‘overseas’ brands on a market previously dominated by French and European brands.
I spoke of the significance of this for American brands in a December 2012 article for ThePerfumeMagazine.com. “The opening of these stores brought a certain critical mass and dynamism to the missing link at mid-level, and a significant opening for many small artistic niche fragrances. A window on the Parisian market, credibility, and new-found confidence.”
And the beat goes on.
2013 saw further expansion of the Paris niche fragrance retail scene with the May opening of Liquides, David Frossard’s bijoux ‘bar à parfums’ on the rue Normandy in the Marais district. In September, Atelier Cologne opened a Paris flagship store on the rue Saint-Florentin. And in January 2014, Ex Nihilo, a single brand luxury niche shop, opened on the rue St. Saint-Honoré.
In addition to department stores and the flagship shops of established niche fragrance brands, Paris now boasts 8 multi-brand niche fragrance shops and concept stores — Jovoy, NOSE, Liquides, Sens Unique, Marie-Antoinette, Arôma, L’Eclaireur, and Colette — all perfect seeding grounds for small to medium sized artistic fragrance brands.
Though not in the massive numbers of 2012, American niche brands continue to arrive. Zero Zero’s ‘Blood Perfume’ (available at Colette) is now installed in Paris alongside the 14 brands previously ensconced on Parisian turf (in alphabetical order, A Lab on Fire, Aedes de Venustas, Arquiste, D.S. & Durga, Demeter Fragrance Library, House of Sillage, Ineke, Keiko Mecheri, MCMC Fragrances, Odin New York, Robert Piguet, The Vagabond Prince, Ulrich Lang, and Von Eusersdorff.)
These American brands have been joined by other ‘overseas’ (non-European) brands from the four corners of the planet, further transforming the Paris niche fragrance landscape into a yeasty global crossroads.
From The Middle East, creator and perfumer Dhaher Bin Dhaher has established his brand, Tola Perfumery , at NOSE.
From Australia, Naomi Goodsir, who turned her millinery talents to perfumery and set up Naomi Goodsir Parfums near Grasse, is now available at NOSE.
Another Australian, Sydney based florist and author Saskia Havekes, has created a fragrance brand, Grandiflora, now available at Colette.
From Argentina, Creator and perfumer Julian Bedel’s company, Fueguia 1833, is available at Jovoy.
Other non-European brands already established in Paris before 2013 include:
Amouage, from the Sultanate of Oman, a star among the artistic luxury brands and under the guidance of Creative Director Christopher Chong, is available at Jovoy and Sens Unique.
From India, Neela Vermeire’s French based company, Neela Vermeire Creations, is available at Jovoy.
It shouldn’t be overlooked that this ‘invasion’ of Yankee and planetary energy is frequently teamed up with French talent at the creative level. With a few notable exceptions, the juices of these American and overseas brands are Franco-Français. King of the French noses among American and overseas niche brands is Bertrand Duchaufour (Aedes de Venustas, Neela Vermeire Creations, and The Vagabond Prince). Others French perfumers include Aurélien Guichard, the nose for Robert Piguet fragrances; Cécile Zarokian and Daniel Maurel for Amouage; Francis Camail and Mark Buxton for House of Sillage; Julien Rasquinet for Naomi Goodsir Parfums; Sandrine Videault (deceased) and Michel Roudnitska for Grandiflora; and this doesn’t count those who create for brands which prefer not to divulge the names of their perfumers, and when asked simply state, ‘…well-known French nose from the Grasse region.’