Scents of a woman
French make-up master Terry de Gunzburg leaps into the perfume market, writes Kate O'Brien
As creator of the famous Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat highlighter wands and founder of the By Terry cosmetics line, Terry de Gunzburg is already renowned as a guru of colour. Now the make-up artist has made her foray into fragrance with a set of five eaux de parfums presented in solid glass bottles topped with her iconic mercury drop.
Formulated by Maison Robertet in Grasse, the collection is a brave endeavour in this saturated perfume market. De Gunzburg originally set out to create one classic. "I was looking for my perfect fragrance fit - just like a vintage couture dress, a precious stone or a sky-high stiletto," she explains. "But after the brief, I received hundreds of samples, and it was close to impossible for me to choose just one. I chose the five I loved the most."
Growing up in a family of scientists, de Gunzburg initially studied medicine but soon left the hospital environment behind for the artistic and creative world, studying at the renowned Carita beauty institute in Paris. It was during this time that a chance opportunity to work on a photo session for Vogue kick-started her career as a make-up artist.
Fifteen years of working with designer Yves Saint Laurent sharpened de Gunzburg's expertise and cemented her reputation as one of the world's most sought-after make-up artists. She launched By Terry in 1998, quickly gaining a following for her Baume de Rose healing balm and Light Expert foundation.
"I was always interested in fragrance, especially luxurious scents," de Gunzburg says. "But I was scared to come with an opportunistic launch of a commercial fragrance as another make-up artist would. After the overconsumption of the '80s, I found the world of luxury slipping into standardisation. My idea was to take the same structures and standards of perfection, know-how and luxury as those of haute couture. After 10 years of research, I thought my project was mature enough, and I was ready to accomplish it."
The Haute Parfumerie collection is designed for women to wear any day, time and season. Given Hong Kong's hot and humid summer, however, a lighter scent such as Flagrant Délice may be preferred. This fruity floral is infused with almond milk and Mediterranean fig, with milky accents enriched with red currants, tonka beans, and a trail of vanilla and white musk.
The floral bouquet of Rêve Opulent pays homage to the gardenia. De Gunzburg describes it as "sensual, delicate and feminine", with Egyptian jasmine and Indian Sambac jasmine, together with essence of rose, orange blossom, ylang-ylang and a hint of Sri Lanka cinnamon. Parti Pris and Ombre Mercure, with their woody notes and stronger trails, are designed for women with strong personalities who want to leave an unforgettable impression.
"This line of fragrances is a collection of sensations and memories that bring me back many years," de Gunzburg says. "But if I had I had to choose one fragrance that particularly evokes my childhood, it would be Lumière d'Épices, with its Mediterranean jasmine arousing faraway lands, aromas from [the] Orient and a souvenir from abroad."
Terry de Gunzburg Rêve Opulent and Lumière d'Épices