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Sweet memories

Determined daughter maintains spirit of her mother's sought-after brand, writes Kate O'Brien

 

Growing up in the alluring world of Paris in the 1970s, Camille Goutal envisioned a career as a fashion photographer. But surrounded by scent from a young age, the daughter of perfume pioneer Annick Goutal was ultimately drawn into the world of fragrance.

After Annick's death from cancer in 1999, Camille was resolute in her determination to uphold her mother's values and creative genius. With the expert guidance of Isabelle Doyen - Camille's former assistant and now the house's perfumer - the brand continues to create some of the world's most sought-after fragrances.

"When I enter a fragrance shop, it's like coming home," Camille says. "After my mother died, I didn't want someone else taking over. I wanted to maintain the spirit of the brand with some subtle changes. It was all done very slowly and naturally."

Les Colognes and Les Soliflores represent the latest collaborations between Camille and Doyen. A homage to Annick Goutal, Les Colognes revisits some of the house's most iconic creations, with a contemporary twist.

"Each cologne recreates one of my mother's favourite destinations, capturing the emotions and precious memories with a fresh, bright edge," Camille explains. "Eau d'Hadrien - Les Colognes is a trip to Tuscany in July - a place my mother adored."

Inspired by the timeless Eau d'Hadrien, this fresh alternative overflows with vibrant Sicilian lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, bergamot and bitter orange petitgrain, softened with the green tones of Egyptian basil and Tunisian rosemary. "The original Eau d'Hadrien is magic," Camille says. "Anywhere you position it in a shop, it sells. It is a very tender perfume, and that's why people are touched."

Vétiver - Les Colognes takes to the seaside, Camille's childhood holiday destination of Ile de Ré, in particular. Inspired by the driftwood, sand dunes and sea breeze of the small French island, the woody notes of Java vetiver contrast sharply with the sensual and mellow nuances of Haitian vetiver, creating an accord that is finely tuned with rosemary, sage and fresh, zesty Sicilian lemon.

Memories of electric blue skies, pristine whitewashed cottages and blossoming orange trees in the Greek countryside are captured in Neroli - Les Colognes. Here, the sweet freshness of the neroli essence and orange blossom absolute is recharged with the sharp effervescence of lemon petitgrain.

Annick Goutal was noted for her ability to transform emotions into fragrance, a trait that appears to have been inherited by her daughter, whose four newest creations celebrate single floral notes in the "garden of her dreams".

Les Soliflores comprises Rose Splendide, Le Muguet, Le Chèvrefeuille and La Violette - rose, honeysuckle, lily of the valley and violet scents that recall Camille's childhood.

"To me, scent is so personal," Camille says. "It is the way people see you. Some emotions are timeless, so when you create fragrances linked to memories, they are themselves timeless - especially when you use ingredients from nature. Jasmine, for example, will always be jasmine, and a green leaf will always be a green leaf."

 

 

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