XXIV - 2015

Perfumer Camille Goutal knows that creating a winning formula takes time


PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 3:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 November, 2015, 5:10pm

As a perfumer, Camille Goutal knows that creating a winning formula takes time. But it's not the blending, testing and making of a scent that requires months - or in some cases, years. "I think a lot about the project before starting to work on the formula," she says. "I gather all my ideas and emotions in my head, and sometimes, it can take a very long time. It's like a puzzle; everything needs to be in the right place in my mind."

The former fashion photographer grew up surrounded by fragrances. Her mother, Annick Goutal, a pianist and model, started her eponymous brand in 1981 and soon became known for creating original, feminine perfumes such as Eau d'Hadrien, inspired by Tuscan gardens, and Petite Cherie, a sweet floral tribute to Camille.

The younger Goutal joined the company following her mother's death from cancer in 1999 and has continued Annick's longtime collaboration with master perfumer Isabelle Doyen, creating several new collections and taking the brand onto the international stage.

"You need to be very curious, open-minded and open to new experiences," she says. "Isabelle and I often go to art galleries and see a lot of exhibitions, everywhere we are. We are very lucky to travel a lot for our work and, instead of going shopping, we prefer going to museums or temporary exhibitions, especially in London and New York. We also try a lot of new restaurants with our friends or family."

Paris-based Goutal, who has two teenage daughters, maintains a busy schedule working on everything from new formulas to packaging and store window displays. The company recently relaunched The Splendide skincare collection and has plans to launch a new collection based on raw materials as well as collaborations with various artists and designers. 

"I enjoy doing many different things during the day, even though running everywhere can be very tiring sometimes," she says. "I need to improvise a lot but it's more fun. And if I have the feeling that my daughters need me more at home, I cancel my appointments - personal or professional - and stay with them."

Goutal also makes time for herself, escaping every other week or so to a family home on an island off the Atlantic coast. "Even though I love and need my friends and family a lot, I also desperately need to spend some time alone and empty my mind. I go to Ile de Re and spend a lot of time there with my horse. It relaxes me and does me good."

Whether developing new fragrances or dealing with life's challenges, the passage oftime is foremost in Goutal's mind. "When I'm feeling a sad, or facing something hard to deal with, I always think that time is a good healer," she says. "We live in a world where everything is going too fast, and people don't even realise it." TL


"I decided to buy another [bigger, men's] one, so that each of my daughters would eventually have one. What I like is that they are timeless, and they make me thinkof my mother."


"When I turned 18, my mother offered me her watch, a little Rolex for women. I wore it for a very long time."