“Welcome to my house,” Malle joked to guests as they walked through the door, past a glowing red candle in the “Joyeux Noel” scent by Dominique Ropion.
Malle grew up in the fragrance industry; his grandfather founded Parfums Christian Dior, and his mother was an art director for Dior. After working as a consultant in the industry, Malle founded Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle in 2000 to support more artisanal perfume creation as an alternative to marketing-driven perfume companies.
Since then, he’s had a number of hits, including Carnal Flowers and Portrait of a Lady. The packaging on the fragrances is simple, and the labels bear the signature of the perfume creator just as a painting would bear the signature of an artist.
Puck, who was dressed in a stunning metallic James Galanos blouse that twinkled like holiday lights, said she has been a fan of Malle’s work since she wandered into his Paris boutique 13 years ago. “I fell in love with the experience,” she explained, in reference to Malle’s famous in-store sniffing booths, where clients can experience a scent to determine if it’s for them. (There is a sniffing booth in the Barneys Beverly Hills store.)
Malle, who considers himself a publisher of perfumes, has released just 20 fragrances since he began, the most recent a collaboration with Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten. “I haven’t launched a new fragrance in two years, and the next one will be done maybe in two weeks or another two years. It’s not finished until it’s done,” Malle said.
Being that we were in Beverly Hills, I thought I’d ask him about the inimitable 1980s fragrance Giorgio Beverly Hills. Malle remembered the first time he smelled it, on a woman walking down Madison Avenue in New York, and used the words “tuberose,” “goat” and “tart” (as in a harlot) to describe the heady scent.
He said he’s actually sniffed Giorgio again recently, and like so many fragrances that change with time and context, it doesn’t hold up. “All that’s left is goat,” he said with a laugh.
Friends from the fashion, art and design worlds came out to celebrate Malle, including Konstantin Kakanias, the L.A.-based illustrator who collaborated with Malle on drawings for his 2012 book, “On Perfume Making,” and L.A.-based photographer Tierney Gearon, whose charming new “Alphabet Book” is heating up gift lists this season.
Other guests including interior decorator Waldo Fernandez, publisher Lauren Taschen, fashion investor Angelique Soave, Parabellum leather goods designer Jason Jones, jewelry designer Gabriela Artigas, artist Alex Israel, actress China Chow, accessories designer Kendall Conrad, Co fashion designers Justin Kern and Stephanie Danan, and fashion collector Tatiana Sorokko.
[For the Record: 3:50 p.m. PST, Dec. 13: An earlier version of this post said the dinner took place on Thursday. Actually, it was Wednesday.]
Courtesy of Los Angeles Times