Lifestyle brand Astier de Villatte introduces new perfumes inspired by the past

Ivan Pericoli, left, and Benoît Astier de Villatte, co-founders of French lifestyle brand Astier de Villatte with their new book and one of three Artaban perfumes, at the brand's flagship store in Hannam-dong, in downtown Seoul on December 1. [PARK SANG-MOON]

Ivan Pericoli, left, and Benoît Astier de Villatte, co-founders of French lifestyle brand Astier de Villatte with their new book and one of three Artaban perfumes, at the brand’s flagship store in Hannam-dong, in downtown Seoul on December 1. [PARK SANG-MOON]

A strange but pleasant aroma wafted from each person leaving the flagship store of Paris-based lifestyle brand Astier de Villatte in Hannam-dong in central Seoul on December 1. This luxurious smell of incense is said to be a modern version of kyphi, which is a temple incense that was used by the ancient Egyptians as far back as the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom (2686 BC – 2181 BC). . It is also one of the new Astier de Villatte perfumes: Le Dieu Bleu.

“Today we are here to introduce three new perfumes: Le Dieu Bleu, Artaban and Les Nuits, to our Korean consumers,” said Ivan Pericoli, one of the founders of Astier de Villatte. “Because what we do is create something beautiful for the present and the future by taking inspiration from something beautiful from the past, we wanted to do the same with our new perfumes. So, what we show you today is not just the common perfumes that a brand launches for its consumers, but the result of decades of research on the history of perfumes and the recreation of such ancient scents.”

Astier de Villatte flagship store in Seoul's Hannam-dong, in downtown Seoul. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]

Astier de Villatte flagship store in Seoul’s Hannam-dong, in downtown Seoul. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]

Founded in 1996 by two French men, Benoît Astier de Villatte and Pericoli, Astier de Villatte began as an artisan ceramics workshop in Paris and has grown into a global lifestyle brand today. Its ceramics are acclaimed by lovers of home decoration around the world who praise the irregular shapes of the artisan ceramics that the brand offers and avoid calling them products but works of art. Their first flagship store opened four years after they started their line on Rue Saint-Honoré in Paris. A second store was opened in Paris in 2016. Then, after witnessing the brand’s immense popularity among Korean consumers, the founders decided to open their third flagship store last September in Seoul.

While the two founders are in Seoul for the perfume launch, the Korea JoongAng Daily sat down with them to hear more about the new perfumes. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.

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Q. How did the perfumes come to fruition?


A. Hazards: You will be familiar with French star perfumer Dominique Ropion. We hear that he has been working for the last 25 years with this French anthropologist Annick Le Guerer, an expert in the history of perfumery, to recreate some of the ancient scents using ancient recipes from ancient texts that Guerer was able to obtain. .
Because he dedicated his life to studying the history of perfume in the 1970s and 1980s, he was able to get his hands on all sorts of old documents, and naturally he caught Ropion’s and our interest about three years ago. We told them that there will be no budget limitations and that they can use all the resources they want to recreate the old smells. This is how the three perfumes were born today.
The first perfume is called Le Dieu Bleu. It is a version of the kyphi from ancient Egypt. There are many different formulas for creating kyphi and it is said that it can contain up to 40 different materials. Of course, to create the modern version of kyphi, we had to exclude materials that are now illegal and use others as substitutes that are more similar. For flowers that existed 3,000 years ago but no longer, we also had to find other alternatives. But we think it’s as close as we can get to the ancient kyphi. One could only imagine what it smelled like until we were able to recreate it with master perfumer Ropion and genius perfume expert Guerer.

Can you tell our readers the story behind the other two perfumes as well?


Hazards: The second is still from BC but during the Persian civilization. The Egyptian civilization influenced the ancient Romans and Greeks, who eventually influenced the Persian civilization. It is said that the Persian kings used a lot of perfume. The area where the kingdom of Persia used to be located is what is now Iran and Egypt. One of the names of the Persian king, who loved perfumes, was Artaban, so we named our second perfume after him. The base materials that make up this perfume are similar to Le Dieu Blue, but because they are combined differently, they create a totally different scent.
The third Les Nuits has a wonderful history. It came to us like a miracle. You know the French novelist George Sand. Not only was she a great novelist, but she was and is greatly admired by women because she defended them and fought against the prejudices of conservative society. She had many lovers and one of them was Frederic Chopin. From 1839 to 1846, the two lovers are said to have spent much time at Sand’s country house in Nohant, where his garden is full of beautiful roses. Christian Sand, the wife of Sand’s great-great-great son who managed Sand’s estate at the country house in Nohant, presented Guerer with a small bottle of perfume that Sand once wore. We were able to extract several drops of the perfume that had been so hermetically sealed for hundreds of years and found that it was from the mid-19th century. We found the exact formula and were able to recreate it for consumers who are curious about what kind of scent Chopin was drawn to.

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Why are you so dedicated to supporting this project? It seems that the brand is investing quite a lot just to launch a perfume.


Astier de Villatte: This project is in line with the DNA of the brand. We want to shed light on the beautiful things of the past, bring light on the things that are forgotten. That is why we were naturally drawn to the research of the two geniuses and wanted to support that and it is a privilege for us to present such valuable perfumes through Astier de Villatte.

They were able to recreate around 25 perfumes and today we are here presenting three. I think we’ll release one by one through the brand when they’re ready. They are all from history, some are from the 18th century, the 17th century and so on, and they all have as interesting history as these three.

The new Astier de Villatte perfumes are modern versions of ancient essences dating back to 3000 BC.  C. until the 19th century.  From the left, Artaban, Le Dieu Bleu and Les Nuits. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]

The new Astier de Villatte perfumes are modern versions of ancient essences dating back to 3000 BC. C. until the 19th century. From the left, Artaban, Le Dieu Bleu and Les Nuits. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]



Were you concerned about what kind of scent would be created and whether it might not appeal to people today?


Hazards: We had some concerns and fears, but they did not act as an obstacle to creating something new. We were so relieved to receive so many favorable reactions to the perfumes because we didn’t know what kind of reaction we were going to get when we started this adventure.

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Astier de Villatte: This is an unprecedented project, so of course we were worried. But we have our trust in Ropion. When he was so happy with the result, he who created so many perfumes that people use today every day like La Vie Est Belle by Lancome, I knew that these three perfumes that he created with all his heart will also work.

The co-founders have also published a book on the three perfumes through their SAIG ​​publishing house that uses a traditional method of metal printing. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]

The co-founders have also published a book on the three perfumes through their SAIG ​​publishing house that uses a traditional method of metal printing. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]

After acquiring the printing house, the co-founders published their first book “Ma Vie a Paris”, which is like a guide to the city of Paris, in 2019. The book is available in English and French. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]

After acquiring the printing house, the co-founders published their first book “Ma Vie a Paris”, which is like a guide to the city of Paris, in 2019. The book is available in English and French. [ASTIER DE VILLATTE]


You also wrote a book about the process that includes some details about the three perfumes and their materials based on the research done by Guerer and the conversations you had with Ropion. It’s amazing to see that you have it in both French and Korean. Why was it important to you to record these things in a book?


Astier de Villatte: We love books like all Parisians. I believe that what we do at Astier de Villatte and our worldview began with the education we received from our parents through books. So books are an important part of us. As we said, we are especially attracted to the beautiful things from the past and we want to shed light on those that we least appreciate. It was the case of metal printing plates and linotype machines that little by little were disappearing from our lives. There was this old printing press that used the traditional metal types that we liked so much, but one day the owner, who is 83 years old, tells us that he has to close the business, so we decided to buy the business and keep it. live. It’s called SAIG ​​and it’s now the only printing house in Paris that uses the traditional linotype.

BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [[email protected]]