Exhibition devoted to the art of perfume adds an air of elegance to an annual affair

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 June, 2011, 12:00am


The scent of Le French May lingers into June with the launch of Perfume Tales and Legends, an exhibition of perfume objects and history from the golden age of European perfumery, from the 19th century to the present, at the Garden Court of Pacific Place.

The two-week display, which opened on Tuesday, features 120 perfume-related pieces, including antique bottles of scents created more than 150 years ago, as well as tools of the trade, the uses of which will be demonstrated in olfactory workshops during the exhibition.

Curator Anne Camilli put the exhibition together over nine months, 'just like having a baby', borrowing heavily from fellow perfume expert Jean-Marie Martin-Hattemberg's private collection of iconic branded scents from the likes of Lancome, Nina Ricci and Lanvin. She did, however, include some innovative scents from lesser-known houses.

'I think to strike out as relative unknowns in a market dominated by such well-known and historic ateliers is very brave,' Camilli said. 'I admire that, and wanted to showcase and applaud the smaller perfumeries.'

Luxury brand Guerlain contributed 55 pieces to the collection, one of which is the last of only 47 L'Abeille de Guerlain bottles ever made. Numbered 38, the bottle is valued at HK$160,000 and was bought by China Fashion Foundation founder Alex Yeung for his wife. 'Over the years, I've learned a great deal from my French friends about fine wines and food,' Yeung said. 'Recently, my wife said to me, 'Why don't you learn how to be romantic like the French?' This rare perfume for her ought to do the trick.'