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Serge Lutens: Inside The Mind Of A Fragrance Icon

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Words by Katie Service

The best art directors create worlds. Worlds that transport you and show you life through their maker’s extraordinary lens. Karl Lagerfeld’s, for example, was a monochrome Grand Palais of ribbons, glass and bouclé and Charlotte Tilbury’s is all Hollywood lights and velvet powder puffs. The world of perfumer Serge Lutens is a dark Moroccan labyrinth heady with cedarwood and jasmine. It’s majestic olfactory overload. To celebrate his eponymous brand's 20th anniversary, Lutens gives an insight into the creation and inspiration behind three of his favourite scents.

Serge Lutens

Ambre Sultan

Ambre sultan was inspired by a piece of amber resin Lutens chanced upon at a souk in Marrakesh – a place he fell in love with on a visit in 1968: “When I arrived in Marrakesh, it was a different world. It was a gigantic smile”. He describes Ambre sultan as the first scent on the western market that is “truly Arab. It’s my history of Morocco”.

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Serge Lutens

“My bottles feature a very strict, ordered font, I don’t like things to be too round or to be too soft. I like rigorous designs that have an energy.”

Ambre Sultan

Ambre Sultan

Ambre sultan was inspired by a piece of amber resin Lutens chanced upon at a souk in Marrakesh – a place he fell in love with on a visit in 1968: “When I arrived in Marrakesh, it was a different world. It was a gigantic smile”. He describes Ambre sultan as the first scent on the western market that is “truly Arab. It’s my history of Morocco”.

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Le Fille de Berlin

Fleurs d’Oranger

An addictive orange blossom and neroli scent that explodes over the wearer like a summer flower bomb, Fleurs d’oranger is perhaps the most well-loved of Lutens' oeuvre: “It’s a perfume all about enchantment – [I created] a smell I had been chasing after for years. That’s the mystery of nature; I would like to be able to catch it, but I can’t reconstitute its richness and its freshness… I can only get close to the edge”.

Serge Lutens New Fragrance
Happiness is…

A welcome addition to Lutens’ current line-up is Fils de Joie – the name of which translates from French as “son of joy”. It’s a scent that couldn’t be more apt for current times, when joy is in all of our beauty vices – be that a nourishing face mask, bright lip or uplifting scent. Lutens describes the creation as a “lady of the night, a paradoxically radiant scent”. Its happy notes include jasmine, which blooms at night, ylang ylang and musk.

 

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