A Sit Down With Barnabe Fillion: A Balanced Fragrance

Known for its immensely popular bathroom products, Aesop’s attainment of cult status also transcends into its fragrance and beauty lines. L’O ciel Austria spoke to the brands master of fragrances, Barnabé Fillion about nding a balance between a delicate, rose inspired scent with a masculine touch in the extraordinary year of 2020.
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Aesop’s master of fragrances, Barnabé Fillion (Photo: Aesop)

Who came up with the idea to choose Charlotte Perriand as the inspiration for Aesops next scent and why was this the case?

Aesop is a long-term, cherished partner of mine. We have a wonderful relationship built on trust, mutual respect, and genuine collaboration. Aesop has a sincere interest in intelligent design and a great admiration for visionaries and pioneers. Two years ago, when I learned that the famous Keiji Rose Farm was creating a rose in Charlotte Perriand’s honor, I knew it would be a great starting point for the new Aesop fragrance.

What is the process of capturing the essence of a person in a scent? What was your approach?

Like many others, I have long been an admirer of Charlotte Perriand. She strode through both personal and professional realms with confidence and cheerful audacity. The idea was to create a complex fragrance that would represent a rose and pay tribute to many facets of Charlotte’s life and personality. We worked closely with the Perriand family during the development of “Rōzu”, spending time at Charlotte’s loft apartment in Paris and traveling together to Japan to retrace her steps. Every facet of “Rōzu” embodies an olfactory element linked to Perriand’s life and work. The opening notes allude to the “Wabara” roses created in her honor. In tandem, vibrant shiso references Perriand’s enduring affection for Japan, and the bracing alpine environments she explored at every opportunity. A heart of complementary florals, spices, and guaiac wood speak to her tenderness and her vivacious, non-conformist character. Notes of Vetiver Extract, Patchouli and Myrrh recall the men’s colognes she wore regularly.

What did you do differently this time, taking into account that this is your 4th perfume for the brand?

“Rōzu” is the fourth fragrance within the Aesop Fragrance category, and the third Eau de Parfum after “Tacit” and “Hwyl”. With its floral-green, woody aroma, “Rōzu” di ers from the opulent woody, spicy aroma of “Marrakech Intense”, the crisp, green aroma of “Tacit” and the complex woody and smoky aroma of “Hwyl”. My work is rooted in the golden middle found between innovation and tradition, and the belief that exceptional fragrance requires botanical extracts of the finest quality. “Rōzu” is the first floral fragrance to be introduced into the Aesop fragrance range, an unorthodox interpretation of the rose that o ers a compelling alternative to mainstream fragrances.

What was your creative emphasis focused around when it came to creating “Rōzu”?

Interestingly I wanted to work on the vulnerability of a rose, but I mostly focused on the Charlottes’s strengths. It’s quite masculine since it’s mostly blended with vetiver, while shiso is very avant guarde in perfume and reveals the multifaceted aspect of that flower, specially blended with a light woody musky note. It gives an idea of a rose that is very texturized and new.

With a rose base, what makes “Rōzu” so well suited to both genders?

Since the outset, Aesop’s approach to product formulations has been gender-neutral. It is our preference to create a more complex character, surpassing obsolete definitions of gender and perceptions of masculine and feminine olfactory needs. In the same way that our muse, Charlotte Perriand, challenged expectations of her gender, we wanted to create an unconventional rose fragrance with an appeal that is unconfined by pre-existing conceptions.

Which perfume do you wear?

I’m constantly evaluating the skin trial of the week, so I sometimes end up trying 5 different perfumes a week. When I’m not testing out scents, I enjoy wearing the “Petitgrain Bigarade” – it always uplifts my spirit. “Hwyl” is also one of my favorite perfumes and is somewhat of a safe haven for me.

If 2020 had a scent, what would it be?

I imagine that it would be a light perfume made of natural ingredients that don’t affect the ecology of our planet. We all had a little more time on our hands now to think about what is important for us as individuals and collectively, and protecting the species of our planet is one of my priorities. I use Frankincense for inspiration and vetiver to ground us and give us strength. “Rōzu” is a scent without gender, full of surprises and inspiration - it’s my favorite floral perfume because it’s not only for women but for everyone and that’s very 2020.

Is there already another project on the horizon?

The fragrance has always been something that Aesop has been known for. We are exploring new ways in which we can expand both our home and personal fragrance ranges. On a more personal note, I am about to launch my own fragrance brand.



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