Smells Like a Winner
by Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan / NST Online /4 may 2008
Diesel has unveiled its new fragrances for men and women. SYIDA LIZTA AMIRUL IHSAN is charmed.
For the perfumes, Annick was inspired by Renzo's wine and a lavender balm. AMONG the new perfumes hitting the shelves lately, Diesel's Fuel For Life for women stands out with its strong but sweet smell.It’s not citrusy and definitely punchy. It has the allure of sexiness without being too flashy or grown-up. It smells young but not girlish. In short, it smells great. All my friends and colleagues agree. Finally, fashion houses have realised that to sell the “dream” of the brand — fragrance is usually the entry-level product in any fashion empire — the perfume needs to be able to stand on its own and not live in the shadow of the fashion label. Juicy Couture managed to do this with its award-winning Juicy Couture fragrance and it looks like Diesel may just follow this successful step.
For the uninitiated, Diesel is a well-known denim brand (its jeans stands in the same league as 7 for All Mankind, True Religion and Citizens of Humanity) owned by Italian Renzo Rosso, who was one of the members of the Genius Group which created Replay. For the fragrance, Renzo met with Firmenich perfumer Annick Menardo who later joined forces with Jacques Cavallier and Thierry Wasser for Diesel's men and women perfume respectively.(Firmenich is a Switzerland-based laboratory which produces designer fragrances including Aqua di Gio pour Homme, Lancome’s Hypnose and Giorgio Armani’s Armani Attitude.) The fragrances are called Fuel for Life. They are, after all, by Diesel.Here, Annick Menardo reveals a thing or two about Diesel’s new scents:
Q: What do you think of Diesel the brand?
A: It is a very creative brand that has been able to take the best of our past to inject it into the future. Inspired by the Diesel jeans, I have translated the brand’s sexiness into fragrances.
Q: Can you tell us about the two fragrances?
A: The women’s fragrance starts with the fruity notes of blackcurrant and extends to an ultra sensuous jasmine-based floral. I chose high quality jasmine from the south for its warm and languid temperament exalting the sexiness of the floral. This is followed by the depth and woody texture of patchouli.The men’s perfume opens up with aromatic lavender, followed by anise and grapefruit and finally, vetiver.
Q: How did your meeting with Renzo influence these fragrances?
A: I met Renzo at his home. He opened a bottle of wine whose fruity blackcurrant essence I found particularly interesting. I used it as inspiration in updating the structure the fragrance.For the men’s fragrance, I was inspired by an anise and lavender balm that I discovered through Renzo.
Q: What do you think about the Fuel for Life concept?
A: I like the idea that my fragrances are alive, that they give energy to those who wear them. I want to create “long-life elixirs” — potions that give energy and life to their users. I find that this new way of presenting fragrances has shaken up the world of perfume — and I like it!
Q: You usually create very strong men's fragrances. The FFL for men is very ambiguous and feminine. Are men ready for this type of perfume?
A: I wanted to create an astonishing perfume that could be multi-cultural and worn by different types of men. For my creation, I took inspiration from the young and fickle modern man. A laid-back man but with a sensitivity to beauty. A man whose existence brings a new element to our society.
Q: Making a fragrance as a group effort, is it a comfort or constraint?
A: A joint effort made it possible for us to complete one another and develop the notes that we were working on with greater ease. Team work is often enriching because it is the result of several points of view.
Q: What is your Fuel for Life?
A: Music and dance.