What Goes Inside

When fashion's pacesetters fuse their artistry with beauty's marketers and perfumers, the results can be as unexpected as they are captivating.Forty years ago,...

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Salzwedel, who is currently developing Zac Posen's first fragrance with Firmenich, says that a recent visit to the young designer's Manhattan apartment allowed him "to put one foot in Zac Posen's private universe." Salzwedel expected to find a minimalistic decor, but instead found the opposite.

"I discovered a world full of soul and authentic objects with a story, a voice and a curiosity. [Posen has] the mind of a collector and the eye of a fine aesthete," says Salzwedel, who prior to Selective Beauty created the Viktor & Rolf fragrances for L'Oréal. He adds that Posen's home was filled with souvenirs from all around the world, staged together with a sense of drama and lots of spirit. It also showcased some contemporary art pieces and photographs. Wood and flowers were omnipresent, says Salzwedel. "Everywhere, there were fresh-cut flowers put together in splendid bouquets. It was very cozy, warm and welcoming."

Some fashion designers never meet the perfumers behind their project, but Posen sat down for a three hour meeting with Firmenich. The fragrance house's master perfumer Harry Fremont says he was happy to discover that he and Posen share an interest in gardening. "He likes white flowers with an exotic feel. I can already see a very feminine fragrance with a playful side."

Tom Ford, too, is known for his close involvement in the development process and his meticulous attention to detail. "Tom has such a strong signature style. He is direct and knows what he wants. He has a strong archival sense of history related to fragrance," says Andrea Robinson, president of Tom Ford Beauty. "He's so informed about the past, and knows how to bring it into modernity."

Robinson explains that when it comes to fragrance, Ford begins with a reference point. For instance, Ford's fondness for the Sixties and his propensity for pinning a gardenia to his dinner jacket served as the inspiration for two fragrances in his Private Blend collection, namely Purple Patchouli and Velvet Gardenia. It seems that where Ford goes a dose of drama and controversy are sure to follow, and fragrance is no exception. This summer, word began to spread that the Tuscan Leather scent from Private Blend smells like cocaine. Robinson laughs off the comparison, and says flatly, "No fragrance was developed with cocaine in mind."
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