Frédéric Malle is an authority – a perfume publisher that persuades with wit, french charm and sophistication. But what exactly is a perfume publisher?

Coming from a family of industrialists, artists and perfumers, his heritage provided him with the perfect background for founding his own perfume brand Frédéric Malle. Publishing in that sense describes him shining a light on the perfumers – the geniouses who stand behind each and every perfume. In the case of a Frédéric Malle perfume this means: compelling, unique and high-end scents that convince even the pickiest noses of their delicacy.

But which perfume really fits?

Finding one’s own signature scent can take a lifetime – it even changes through the years – Frédéric Malle made this struggle a whole lot easier. He established a questionnaire in order to help finding what perfume truly fits with your personality.

After finding our personal scents, Interview had the honor to meet Mr. Malle himself and talk about the things that move him.


Interview What is your favourite season?

Frédéric Malle I think it is spring because it feels like a rebirth. That’s when people start looking good again. No offense – but there is this week in Paris when trees look like salads so to speak. They have this very bright green for a week, almost like it is fluorescent. It is when the first sun is coming out after this long, boring and depressing winter. That’s where girls and boys come out and dress up – spring is like a sexy time.

I What is your personal formula for success in business?

FM In order to win the race you need a good horse, it has to be on a good day, the jockey has to be good, the coach has to be good. Sorry for the stupid comparison, there is not one thing that will make you successful: it has to be a perfect mix.

I Do you have a favourite perfume?

FM I wear Vetiver Extraordinaire today, so that would be my favourite today. My favourite perfume is the one I am currently working on because I get all excited about it. I don’t have a favourite one but I am attached to all of them.

I What kind of music is your favourite?

FM I grew up listening to the Rolling Stones and to Bach. I rediscovered classics like David Bowie and I listen to a lot of classical music. I listen to a lot of different things. Music is my drug, kind of like perfume. They are very much alike: they are abstract and they elevate you. One of the biggest sources of difficulty in my life is when my wife wants to listen to the radio and I have to hear all those shapeless songs – it makes me crazy and it is painful.

I Do you have a favourite flower?

FM At the moment I like rose. There are so many types of roses and they can be so many different things. I didn’t grow up liking them because there was some cheesiness to it. It is THE classic thing. Now I like that it’s classic. A few years ago I would have told you that it’s Gardenia

I Which perfume did you wear on the first date with your wife?

FM It was the first Armani perfume. That summer, for some reason I was wearing this. I only wore this for about three weeks. My god I never thought about that. I think I bought it at an airport because I forgot my perfume. It had nothing to do with my life but I liked it. Thank god it worked, I’ve been married for almost 30 years.

I Any bedtime or morning time rituals?

FM I hate to say yes. Very boring rituals. I am sort of obsessed with it. I live in the US, in New York, but I’m still quite French so I want to stay connected. I listen to the French radio while I shave – there is a phantastic show and it is called: La tribune des critiques de disques. It is a French music show that is around since the 60s and they take one recording of some very famous or obscure song and some bourgeous French people just comment and critizise on the different versions of the one song. It is delightful. So I read the NY times and I listen to the french radio. I am obsessed with politics and information, I like to know what is going on.

I Do you have a ritual in the office?

FM When I arrive at the office, I always have the same ritual. I smell the blotters I have smelled the day before and take notes. Then you realize what is twisted. When I have a problem with a perfume I sleep with it on my arm and when I wake up I instantly know what is wrong with it.

I Do you believe in destiny?

FM I believe in destiny but more than that I believe in my lucky star. I have been very lucky in life – more than lucky. If you do what it takes, you create your own luck. And if you believe in that and in yourself you’ll be fine.

Title Picture (C) Brigitte Lacombe