To Barnabé Fillion, a perfume is about the experience of the individual and the expression of specific narratives. It can transport you to the turquoise beaches of the Caribbean, conjure up the simple joys of your childhood, or keep you close to the love of your life. Like the famous “madeleine moment” of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece In Search of Lost Time, scents are laden with memories. Perfume making is a visceral art form that is able to recreate memories with just a few whiffs, whose sophisticated techniques rely on the profound instincts of modern alchemists like Fillion. At 36 years old, the young Parisian perfumer has already carved out a singular approach to fragrance making for himself, and it is this combination of genius and devotion that has propelled him into the ranks of high-profile veteran noses in the industry.
Article by Angela Low
W ith long, wavy locks, a thick beard, a lean physique, and a face that could launch a thousand ships, it comes as no surprise that Fillion cut his teeth professionally as a fashion model, and was rather successful in the field.
Of course, he proved himself to be more than just a pretty face, making his way behind the camera as the assistant of Helmut Newton, the widely influential fashion photographer whose trademark monochrome celebrity portraits can be found in Vogue and Vanity Fair. However, a solely visual expression of his ideas was never enough for Fillion.
Photo courtesy of Le Monde – Mode Homme
As he says in an interview with luxury lifestyle platform Amuse, Barnabé Fillion would often incorporate the sense of smell into his photography exhibitions, filling them with various types of scents to recreate a full sensorial experience.
When he journeyed to Switzerland in 2004 to study botany and phytotherapy, he discovered his passion for perfumery, and started training under a fragrance expert in olfactory design. After that, he served for three years as a mentee to esteemed perfumer Christine Nagel of Hermès, where he trained to identify more than 3,000 scents. Part of what makes Fillion a fragrance designer unlike any other is how his many interests bleed into his his work in perfumery. For one, it’s common to find botanical ingredients in his olfactory concoctions. It’s also evident that his background as a photographer has influenced his use of “visual memories” as an inspiration for designing specific scents..
Photo courtesy of MIlk Decoration, Barnabé Fillion and ceramist Perla Valtierra
Fillion’s unparalleled expertise and one-of-a-kind approach to his craft earned him partnerships with laudable brands such as Aēsop, Paul Smith, and Comme des Garçons. 2016 also saw the French virtuoso teaming up with Royal Salute, an age-old luxury Scotch whisky brand, as its new creative advisor. More than just the creation of novel fragrances, Fillion’s obsession goes back to the process of mixing – from the mixing of aromas, to the mixing of drinks and remedies – which is why he was called upon to create the Royal Salute Royal Rose cocktail for the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. Composing of the Royal Salute 21-year-old whisky blend, Indian teas, as well as a rare rose essence that’s said to be more precious than gold, the cocktail was recreated as a perfume as well to complement the drink.
Besides developing body perfumes for both men and women, Fillion has also created home fragrances. In 2017, he designed a trio of them for Aēsop that experiments with the ambience of an ordinary indoor space. A growing marketing trend for upmarket brands and lavish interiors, home fragrances can make or break a space, and shape the experience of a consumer. In fact, the olfactory sense is the most effective in defining a brand and enhancing consumers experience, according to a 2013 research report by the Global Journal of Commerce and Management Perspective. As it is the only sense that links directly to the part of the brain that carries emotions and information from past experiences, smells are also better than sight and sounds at evoking memories.
Fillion’s experimental approach to home fragrances led him to a major collaboration with oOumm, where he designed the high-end French brand’s line of scented candles that are paired with Dan Yeffet’s marble candle holders. The four main scents, 16 Tauri, Cor Caroli, Erakis, and Mu Virginis, are inspired by astronomy, each representing a specific star of a specific constellation. While 16 Tauri boasts a woody fragrance, Cor Caroli goes for warmer, more floral notes. Erakis keeps it simple with an orange blossom scent, and Mu Virginis rounds it up with a peppery aroma that packs a punch. As brands like oOumm demonstrate, home fragrances are not only growing as a mainstay in luxury home decor, but also becoming more bespoke with businesses seeking out one-of-a-kind scents for their boutiques and interiors.
Illustration by Katie Scott
“Perfumes are very personal,” Fillion explains to the online lifestyle magazine, Highsnobiety. “It is more interesting to see it as an extension of oneself, rather than as a seduction tool. You can tell a story with your perfume so that sometimes there is no need to speak.”
Whether creating a fragrance for the body or a space, Fillion is constantly exploring new techniques, whilst staying true to the natural complexity of raw ingredients. But with every project he undertakes, he never fails to design not just a fragrance, but a unique, unforgettable experience.
对Barnabe Fillion来说，香水是关于个人的经历和特定一瞬间的表达。它可以把你带到加勒比海的绿松石海滩，唤起你童年的快乐时光，或者让你接近生命中的爱。就像Marcel Proust在著名的《Search of Lost Time》中描述“madeleine时刻”那充满了气味的回忆一样。香水制作是一种本能的艺术形式，它可以用技巧来创造和唤起记忆，而那些复杂的技术依赖于像Fillion这样的现代香水师的深刻直觉。这位36岁的年轻巴黎香水师已经创造了独特的香水制作方法，也正是这种天才与献身精神的结合，使他成为行业中备受瞩目的资深香水师。
Article by Angela Low / Translation by Amber Durrant Feng Yulin
长长的卷发、浓密的胡须、瘦削的身材和一张迷倒千人的脸，难怪早期作为专业时尚模特的Fillion相当成功。稍后他成为颇有影响力的时尚摄影师Helmut Newton的助手，在镜头后面找到了属于他的位置，同时也证明了他不仅仅只有一张英俊潇洒的脸。在 Vogue 和 Vanity Fair上都能找到 Helmut Newton 具代表性的黑白名人肖像。然而仅仅是视觉上的表达对Fillion来说是不够的。正如他在接受奢侈生活方式平台Amuse的采访中说的那样，他常常把嗅觉融入到他的摄影展览中，用各种各样的气味来提供完全的感官体验。
Fillion无与伦比的专业知识和独一无二的技术使他成为如Aēsop，Paul Smith和 Comme des Garçons等著名品牌的合作伙伴。2016年这位法国香水师开始与Royal Salute合作，成为这个拥有悠久历史的苏格兰威士忌品牌的创意顾问。除了创造新奇的香味，Fillion最痴迷的还是混合的过程 － 从混合调制香味，到饮料和药物 － 这就是为什么他应伊丽莎白二世女王90岁生日时为皇家玫瑰鸡尾酒制作皇家礼炮。这就是为什么他被要求为女王伊丽莎白二世90岁生日调制Royal Salute 的 Royal Rose鸡尾酒。这款鸡尾酒是由21年的威士忌、印度茶和一种据说比黄金更珍贵，罕见的玫瑰精华混合而成，它也被制成香水，以补充完善Royal Rose鸡尾酒。
除了开发身体香水外，Fillion还涉足于家用香芬。在2017年，他为Aēsop设计了三种家庭香芬来探索和尝试改善普通室内空间。作为高档品牌和奢华室内装饰的一部分，家庭香芬的市场营销趋势日益增长，家用香芬可以完善或破坏一个空间，给予消费者完美的体验。事实上，根据Global Journal of Commerce and Management Perspective 2013年的研究报告，嗅觉是给予品牌定义和增强消费者体验最有效的方法。 因为它是唯一能直接连接大脑中承载情感和信息部分的唯一感管，同时气味也比视觉和听觉更能唤起回忆。
Fillion实验性的家用香芬让他与豪华法国品牌oOumm进行了重要的合作，他设计的香薰蜡烛系列与著名设计师Dan Yeffet的大理石烛台搭配组合。四种主要香薰蜡烛((16 Tauri, Cor Caroli, Erakis, 和 Mu Virginis)灵感来自于天文学的启发，每一种都代表一颗特定的星座。
16 Tauri拥有木的香味，Cor Caroli是温暖的花香。Erakis简单的橙花，而Mu Virginis则充满胡椒的辛辣。正如oOumm这样的品牌所展示的，家用香芬不仅作为豪华家居装饰的支柱，而且也变得更加私人定制化，为精品店和室内设计提供独一无二的香芬。
“香水是非常私人的，”Fillion与在线生活杂志 Highsnobiety 分享时说，“把它看成是自己的延伸，而不是作为诱惑的工具就更有意思。你可以用香水讲述一个故事，这样有时就不需要说话了。”
Photo by Henry Roy
Image courtesy of Barnabé Fillion
Image courtesy of oOumm Paris
Image courtesy of Barnabé Fillion
Image courtesy of Marie Taillefer
Images courtesy of Barnabé Fillion and oOumm © All Rights Reserved
Photos by Oskar studio, Barnabé Fillion, oOumm Paris, Le Monde – Mode Homme, Milk Decoration, Henry Roy and Marie Taillefer
Illustration by Katie Scott