For a certain in the know person, a fragrance from Escentric Molecules is the only accessory worth wearing. Created by one of the most talented perfumers in the industry, Geza Schoen, the brand has a cult following with worldwide waiting lists and adulation from every fashionista worth her top note. Oh, and lest you forget, there’s the much discussed pheromone effect.
You’ve probably read how Molecule 01 is a single scent ingredient (Iso E Super) with incredible powers of attraction and that The Beautiful Mind Series Vol. 1 reconfirms a smart woman as a sexy woman. But the genius of the EM series is rather than smelling of a perfume, you instead become enveloped in a feeling, which opens you into other worlds of possibilities and aromas.
The scents you can spray on your wrist when next in Harvey Nicks (if they’re in stock!), but for where the brand’s inspiration comes from, read my conversation with two of the founders of EM, Geza Schoen and Paul White of Me Company.
KD: Tell me about EM and where the idea came from.
GS: EM is the idea that not anybody wants to wear a ‘perfume.’ EM offers ‘auras’ with the Molecule series and incredibly sexy scents with the Escentric series. I’d been carrying that idea with me since 1990. It just needed the right time with the right people and that is precisely what came together when I met Jeff Lounds and Paul White in 2004.
PW: It all started with a conversation between Geza, Jeff and myself. A brief tour around the concept of EM followed by the working versions of Molecule 01 and Escentric 01. For Me Company it rapidly developed as investigations into concepts that could be loosely described as binary efflorescence, the science of scent and the sensuality of encoded messaging.
Ultimately we had 0’s & 1’s and geometrical binary on our mind, everything decodable if looked at intelligently enough. An arcane, submerged string of messages about the product. The EM01 is denser than the EM02, but even the dots on the EM02 are decipherable. All of this is a distinct and clear response to the nature of fragrance and its role in attraction.
KD: How do you ‘make’ fragrances?
GS: Well, fragrances are being created. You start with an idea; an accord of raw materials you think is exciting enough to try out. If it is a good one you carry on refining the scent until you are happy.
KD: What do you think people want from a fragrance today?
GS: Overall I’d say it needs to combine a few things. Everyone somehow still likes freshness in a perfume, it also shouldn’t get on your own nerves or others, i.e. be too strong or sweet or cloying. People also want to feel sexier or desirable with a perfume so it needs some intriguing notes others can’t get their nose off. So, that’s not too easy then to combine all these things and still smell different but good.
KD: Describe the bottle design . . .
PW: We have a saying, ‘Being creative is like running in someone else’s trainers. You don’t know where you’re going all the time. You don’t think about thinking, the synapses fire and you feel possessed. It’s like speaking in tongues.’ As in the case of EM, where someone really wants to work with you simply because they like and trust your potential to produce something original, this is going to produce the most interesting and original work.
Possibly this dark, encoded packaging has a quiet dignity that speaks to people. Equally the restraint of the branding and the subtle encoding help with the idea of a personal possession of the brand – we have heard people say many times that it is their fragrance and not ours.
KD: There are so many perfume bottles on the ground floors of the world’s department stores. What makes a fragrance cut through the hype and have impact?
GS: Phew, I hope that it is ultimately still the juice itself, which holds up the spirit and the success of a particular brand. In some cases advertising and TV campaigns will help for sure but if the fragrance isn’t right, it wont last.
KD: Where do you see the perfume industry going? New types of products, packaging, ingredients?
GS: For ingredients, as such, it will be a horrible future. Already so many fabulous ingredients have been eliminated or restricted that the new introduction of interesting chemicals won’t make up qualitatively for the losses. Imagine you’re a painter and some powerful organisation comes in and tells you to forget about dark green shades, no silvers and just maximum 10% of light violet tones please in the future.
Regarding the packaging I couldn’t care less really as the problem is within the cost structure of most products. As long as the industry won’t spend more money on better ingredients we won’t see amazing alternatives coming up. That’s why the niche market is more exciting to watch for future creations.