Friday, 6 March 2015

Interview: Diane Pernet

Last week, I had the pleasure of popping to Libery London to celebrate the launch of Diane Pernet’s four unisex fragrances in London. I caught up with Diane about her new venture to find out more about the perfumes and their inspiration.

RR: As one of the most prominent fashion visionaries, what drew you to scent? What did you want to communicate?
DP: I started off in the industry as a fashion designer and over the years have become a fashion curator, blogger, filmmaker…there are so many dimensions I enjoy in fashion. I have always loved perfumes and the time was just right. I created my blog ten years ago on 5th February 2005 and then progressed to A Shaded View Of Fashion, a product was the next step. I met Celso Fadelli, CEO of Intertrade Group, four years ago in Florence and we have been developing the fragrance for three years.
RR: How did you approach creating your first set of fragrances?
DP: It was a very long process but we wanted to get it right. We started with three noses then narrowed it down to one and developed each fragrance one at a time. I have over 100 trial perfumes – I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all!

RR: What was the most interesting part of the process?
DP: The whole process actually, it’s like alchemy, you’re creating a dream and making it a reality. My fragrances are very personal; it’s almost like giving away a part of me.

RR: How would you describe To Be Honest, Wanted, In Pursuit of Magic and Shaded?
DP: They are all different but complementary, to suit different parts of your personality. To Be Honest and Wanted are both woody. To Be Honest is more spiritual, inspired by old churches in Italy and their heavy incense scent. Wanted is more carnal and sensual with notes of leather. In Pursuit of Magic is lighter with citrus and patchouli notes and Shaded is slightly marine, like the memory of salt on your skin. It’s my nocturnal scent.

 RR: What was the inspiration behind each scent?
DP: To Be Honest is inspired by the city person who still yearns for and appreciates the concept of nature; it brings the feeling of nature to the city. Wanted is sensual, inspired by Oriental gardens in Japan, very tranquil and still…almost like a graveyard but not that dark! I wanted In Pursuit of Magic to be invigorating and hypnotic but wearable and Shaded is my signature, a heavier scent for evening inspired by being on the beach at nighttime.

RR: The boundaries between gender are becoming increasingly blurred in fashion and each of your scents is unisex, what do you think of this shift?
DP: I never liked wearing women’s fragrances; I wore Comme des Garcons unisex fragrance for years and also Guerlain’s Vetiver for men. I like the notion of genderless fragrance.

 RR: You have had an incredibly varied career, from journalist and blogger to critic, filmmaker and now perfumer. How has fashion evolved in this time?
DP: I was a designer for thirteen years, starting in the 1980s. It was a real power period, there was an energetic mood. In the 1990s, we moved to a more deconstructed look, channelling the Japanese aesthetic. The 2000s were about looking to the past for inspiration, the same as now. There is so much pressure on designers now, much more than before. The cost of putting on a show is so high but it’s expected and you have to work so hard just to break even, so the shift is towards being commercial. Creativity has suffered.

RR: What drew you to collaborate with Liberty?
DP: I just love Liberty; it’s been my favourite store for decades. It’s a store like no other, it has a beautiful heritage yet it’s innovative and almost noble.

 RR: Aside from Liberty, what are your favourite places in London?
DP: When I’m in London, I really enjoy spending time with my friends but my favourite places to eat are the Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market and Yautacha.

RR: Finally, what’s next for your brand?
DP: Well, we do have a new perfume in the making. I really love it, it’s been such a fantastic journey and I can’t wait to share it.

Wanted, Shades, In Pursuit of Magic and To be Honest are available exclusively at Liberty.

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