Slow Fragrance – Packaging is Part of the Experience

In creating Cultus Artem, I wanted to step back from today’s predilections for fast fashion, mass production, and disposable possessions to capture the beauty of a bygone moment when luxury was as much about the alchemy of raw materials and hand-craftsmanship as unhurried artistry. Cultus Artem embodies the principles and ideals of an earlier era when independent perfume houses endeavoured to create a more complete sensory experience for their clientele. The olfactory and the physical were combined; the relationship was immersive and satisfying, not perfunctory and immediate.

As an artist who responds to experience and pleasure of the beautiful…and who is frustrated with the temporary ‘rush’ associated with consuming, I was driven to design a perfume that I couldn’t find but that I wanted.

The time it took to source, formulate and achieve regulatory approvals for my natural fragrances served as a reminder of a more refined era, when people took time for themselves and the rituals associated with their own personal style. For me, the experience wasn’t exclusive to “the juice”. The complete experience of my fragrances included the packaging, as it is a gateway to expectation and the experience and pleasure, much like a beautifully plated meal at a chef’s table. The food being beautifully plated as well as delicious defines a complete experience.

Chez Poiret by Paul Poiret

Image: Les Parfums de Rosine, "Chez Poiret", 1912; with powder boxes and vaporizers by Paul Poiret.

Artists of an earlier era went to great lengths to provide a similarly ‘complete’ experience for their clientele. In 1911, French fashion designer Paul Poiret introduced “Parfums de Rosine,” which he named after his daughter. Poiret was the first French couturier to launch a signature fragrance. Additionally, he founded ‘Atelier Colin’, named after his eldest son, that produced the boxes and packaging materials for his collections and perfumes. This allowed Poiret to be directly involved in every stage of his perfume production. Rosine perfumes were even created in his own laboratories, which he established to control the quality much like his fashion atelier.

It’s this attention to detail that we admire and that we feel is lost. Typical of most today’s perfume launches are expensive ad campaigns that replace the physical experience.
 Stock bottles, stock packaging, synthetic scent molecules, fabricated ‘stories’, a fragrance house personality reduced to some easily digestible sound bites using the cheapest materials for mass production with ease.

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"Perfume is the memory of the heart."

George Sand