Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"I'm a Servant to Perfume": Serge Lutens on France24

"Talking of perfume is like talking about everything. When one talks about a perfume there is usually a false story behind it. When you create a perfume it is not created for a man or a woman, it's something to be determined afterwards; it's the people who determine what it is. The sex isn't determined by perfume, choice is.

I am its servant. It's It (perfume) that I have to serve. I am its servant. If I don't serve, I'm but a merchant, making tricks with paper (blotters) like everyone does...

Perfume is not a product; it's something else, it's mystical. [...] A perfume is brilliant when it manages to create a response in itself; if it does not, what's the purpose? [...]{The business} is a vast's like Viennese waltz, it's mild and turns around and around. That is embarrassing! Before disgust, there's ennui.

If perfume becomes a discourse that is politically & sentimentally correct, it no longer holds any interest."

(NB.the translation follows the most important quotes)

thanks to Alesio Lo Vecchio for bringing it to my attention ETA: And thanks to Bela for dependable bitch-slapping spellcheck!


  1. I'm waiting for Bela to show up for a proper French smack-down.

    Just kidding :-)

  2. Thank you for this. It prompted me to go forth and order the Lutens sampler I'd been holding off on. After reading these quotes, I'm more determined than ever to study his artistic life and work.

  3. You have mail! LOL!

  4. Just seen your note. I wanna be put on the payroll. ;-)

  5. LOL! I will do my best. Promote us!!! (I'm sounding like "Bright Lights, Big City"'s Conway!)

  6. Olenska,

    you did the right thing. I seldom say this, but Lutens has proven he's still the patriach of niche for a reason. Don't you just love his views? I always found this "luxe for luxe's sake" mentality utterly crass and vulgar (and cheap!!) myself.

    Enjoy, I'm sure they will give you a jolt! (a nice one!)

  7. Oh, I so much agree with what he says! This is how I too feel about all this.

    Long ago I received a letter from Serge Luttens about Coco Chanel and he was so considerate, kind and beautiful.

  8. VL,

    it's amazing how he actually dares say that other people in the biz play tricks (which they totally do!). I admire his dare. Not that he doesn't own a business himself, but he's dedicated to a vision. It's transparent he does his own thing.

    I'm not sure I understood about his letter about Coco Chanel, though: He wrote a letter concerning some question on Chanel or referencing Chanel? Interesting!

  9. This happened during the 1990s, when he sent me on request some information regarding Les Salons du Palais Royal. He also sent me a card with the image of Chanel on it, at her home, I think probably he was related to some kind of photography at that time also, but it was long ago and right now I don't remember for what reason it was, just had his letter, some other information, this Coco Chanel image, and I really loved it all. I left all my correspondence where I was living along with other letters from people I wanted to write to, and many wrote me back. Then I have to say that I lost everything, some very expensive items, i seem to be complaining all the time but i am not, such is life.

  10. Vintage Lady,

    sorry for the delay, just saw this.

    What a fascinating story!! I loved your sharing this with me.
    Alas, we do lose things as we go on in life. It's sad when it's things connected with people we meant to make a deeper connection with. As you say, c'est la vie...


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