It appears that my secret it out! My little rendezvous has been discovered!
Seriously – I wanted to point people to the just-published article about my recent visit to IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances), which was referred to in my previous post.
The article, entitled “Journey to the Heart of Fragrance“, appeared today in Perfume Magazine. However, I really recommend that you go to the magazine’s front page, i.e. http://www.theperfumemagazine.com/, because there are quite a number of great articles in this end-of-year issue, including one about Baudelaire that has me very excited. If you’re looking for a bit of weekend relaxation, it would be hard to do better than curling up with some kind of hot drink, a few bottles of your favorite fragrances, and sniffing along with this winter issue.
I want to thank Raphaella Barkley for doing the layout on this rather hefty piece of writing. I thought she did a fantastic job – it really added a lot of refinement and flow to the article. I do appreciate the long and difficult job that it was, turning a rather forbidding and geeky bunch of text and pictures into something so visually appealing. Editorial art direction is pure ikebana, if you think about it. An important lesson that I got on Ca Fleure Bon is this one, which may surprise you: art direction can double or triple the appeal of writing.
A lot of writers don’t want to admit that. Nor do they want to admit how important editors are. Writers want to think that their writing stands on its own – and in some ways it does. But proper editing, layout, and art direction can really enhance writing, and cut the losses that occur every time a reader’s mind wanders, or boredom sets in. Mark Behnke has rescued several pieces I’ve done for him, acting as an editor. But the real magic – the force multiplier – is layout and art direction, where font, pictures, and arrangement can be used to modulate the feeling and mood of the writing. Michelyn does this all the time with my stuff on Ca Fleure Bon, and I’m always amazed at how much better things read after her magic touch.
It’s the same thing here. When I first saw what Raphaella had done with the layout and images in this article, I was overjoyed. It felt like somebody else had written the words, and I was reading it for the first time. It was glorious! And this thing was huge – about 2/3 the size of that 9-perfumer spread that Grant Osborne had to do for the Speed Smelling coverage in my previous IFF-related article. What can I say – I’ll admit it. I’m long-winded. I suppose I should work on that, but maybe on the next piece!
Anyway – after you read the article, you can come back here and check out the following photos and comments. I had some extra photos that I thought would be worth sharing. To put them in context, however, you really need the background that the article provides. Go ahead – take the plunge. These pictures will still be here when you get back.
And before I forget – simply this. Thanks for reading! :)
Here is another picture of IFF’s 57th-street side, viewed from down the street, looking up toward 10th Avenue. The main entrance is at the far end, facing the street.
Here is a shot inside the perfume lab. Bottles. Lots and lots and lots of bottles. G_d, I just wanted to go around opening bottles and sniffing stuff! But everybody seemed so professional, I just didn’t have the guts to act like a perfumaniac in the store. Ya know?
Check out these initials (more or less) on the end of a shelf. They mark where the “stuff” for different perfumers is stored. Can you guess some of the IFF perfumers from these codes? I can get a few of them. I’ll leave this as a bit of a mystery.
Here is Ron handing us blotters as Olivia is about to deconstruct a sample. I have a beautiful shot of Ron’s turquoise jewelry as he was pointing to a formula in a notebook, but it was confidential material, so I can’t show it. Let’s just say that I found the composition as interesting as his rings.
Here’s one of the students, Olivia. The picture in the article is the one after this, where she kept her composure. But this out-take is the one that I love! This is the way perfume school is – just a happy place. Notice all the dreamcatchers and other early/native Americana (I kinda don’t like using the word native any more). Ron is a guy after my own heart! Check out the bumper sticker – “Custer had it coming“. If you can imagine your kindergarten teacher saying it as a lesson, with a feeling of loving exasperation – that’s the way it reads when you’re in the perfumery school. I just couldn’t stop chuckling about it!
Here’s the wall where people come to get inspired, or to take courage. If you realized how hard these students work – how difficult of a level perfumery is taught at, here – you would appreciate how much they need this.
There are multiple prints and artworks throughout the IFF buildings that portray the unmistakable bottles in which their famous fragrances reside. Here’s Flowerbomb.
These may seem goofy and extravagant when Frederic Malle does them in Barney’s, but IFF is very, very serious about fragrance, and they have these suckers right next to offices and conference rooms where some very big decisions get made about fragrance. Think of these chambers as the whiteboards of the fragrance industry.
Here are the Malle scent chambers, for comparison.
… and again.
Here’s the ladies’ Euphoria bottle as an abstract print. I think this is a great fragrance and one of the most innovative bottles out there – I simply had to take a picture.
This is, hands down, my favorite photo from the entire trip. You want an explanation of who “Grizz” is? Ahem. (cough) Like I said…..READ THE ARTICLE! Here.