Saturday, September 5, 2009

Would they go together? Perhaps, perhaps not...

"It's like going to a Michelin star restaurant and asking the chef to make you something with pasta and cinnamon because you think that will go together; the chef knows it won't so you end up with something inedible. It's the same with perfume."

Thus says Roschi, one part of the pair behind Le Labo, explaining that although he considered the idea of people creating their own perfume, it wouldn't work in this article, talking about Le Labo owners and their Arab Emirates clientele. The "world's most exclusive perfume brand" (quote) boast gazillions of trendy followers, including Hollywood trend-setters Sarah Jessica Parker, Kirsten Dunst, Jake Gyllenhall, and fashion icons Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs, and John Galliano

But sorry, guys, bad culinary example to illustrate your point above: pasta and cinnamon work great together! (Try it sometime!)

Pic of cinnamon pasta for pastitsio preparation via


  1. Well, that's the problem with abdicating creative responsibility, isn't it? Reader response/reception theory/meaning in the eye of the beholder gone amuck. Or so is the fear.

    That whole issue of "who do we create for"?????

    Not even going there, though it's always interesting to see other people grapple with it. There is the marketing/profit aspect for Le Labo to have to predict, too, of course. Thanks for tossing this into your idea mix.

    Which brings me to the question...just how do you prepare this cinnamon and pasta concoction?

  2. Pasta with cinnamon? For sure, preferably pasta made by my grandma... and along with cinnamon, some sugar and butter. Yummy.
    So, if pasta with cinnamon is okay, then it means that everybody can make their own perfume. Good for us.

  3. That is indeed a foolish analogy. In bespoke perfumery, the client wouldn't name just two notes they want to smell; I assume they'd have a list, and it would be the perfumer's job to cull from that list and adjust the proportions appropriately. And no, you wouldn't walk into a restaurant and demand certain ingredients, but you certainly could with a personal chef -- which would be a better analogy with bespoke perfumery anyway.

    It's fine for Le Labo not to want to do bespoke, but that doesn't mean the concept is foolish or impossible -- just different.

    And finally, mmm... pastitsio!

  4. AbdsSalaam Attar23:48

    This perfumer obviously never made a bespoke perfume and his speach reveals that he would not be able to do any, because of his ego.
    Everything can go with everything in perfumery, it is only a question of proportions.
    Perfumers keep much mystery about their work and spread a lot of disinformation in order to hide tha fact that it is so simple to make perfumes, and I mean good perfumes.
    Perfumes are made for people and if people like pasta with cinnamon, why should someone say that these two don't go together. With a little more humility the perfumer would find commercial opportunities for a new accords that nobody had thought about before.
    The fact is that today perfumes are not made for the people, they are made for the interest of the share holders of the company and the problem is that the brain hammering done for selling the perfumes to the public has convinced the perfumers themselves that they are geniuses.

  5. S,

    this whole issue is so skewed, that it sounds quite hypocritical to even question it: I suppose they create for whoever wants to buy, same as everyone else! Which brings me to your excellent point of marketing/profit angle which cannot be disregarded even if they/anyone claims differently.

    So...cinnamon pasta recipe. Piece of cake, really, and I wonder if they have boiled even a single rigatone in their lives, saying that line.
    Anyway, instructions:

    1.Boil the pasta al dente as usual
    3.Add one spoon of extra virgin olive oil and stir energetically while hot
    4.Sprinkle with salt to taste and freshly-ground cinnamon.
    You can add Parmigiano Reggiano if you like, even mince meat with tomato sauce, they go perfectly. (Try it and then tell me if those two don't go together!!)

    It also makes for a wonderful first step for the magical dish that is pastitsio/παστίτσιο, but I should probably divulge my home recipe on a seperate post :-)

  6. L,

    as usual to the point! And yes, I like your train of thought (and your grandma's recipe too)

  7. N,

    glad you saw it the way I did. I think it's fine to not want to do something and back it up with solid arguments (like Jean Claude Ellena did when I interviewed him), but when giving an analogy, at least try to make it plausible, eh?
    Pastitsio is probably going to be among my Aromatic Cuisine reportoire here. :-)

  8. Salaam,

    perfectly said and there is a right for someone to give some directions as to what resonates with them better. I find it valid and I love your own approach to this.

    But most of all, I love your boldness: "it is so simple to make good perfumes". LOVE it!
    I absolutely hate the pretence of trying to make something appear more intricate than it is, the wise man/woman simplifies, I always thought.

  9. Anonymous16:49

    Dear E,

    Provocative and entertaining post as usual.

    One of my beloved comfort foods is pasta baked with apples and cinnamon, served with sour cream. Both my grandmother and mother made this for me when I was a child. Nothing better after a long day at school. I think Le Labo comes across as ignorant, which is a shame, because they probably are not.

    As for "the great unwashed" making our own perfume in ignorance of perfumery, is that not how perfumery began? Before all the great houses and expensive marketing campaigns, there were just people using aromatic materials to make themselves and their environment smell nice.

    Incidentally, I think a Michelin-starred chef would take such a request as a good-natured challenge and would make you the very best pasta with cinnamon ever created.



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