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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Christelle Laprade, Parfumeur

Christelle Laprade

Christelle was born in the south of France, where the warm

and vibrant scents of the “garrigue” meet the deep blue of

the Mediterranean sea. A childhood spent in the landscapes

painted by Paul Cezanne imprinted her memory with the bold

colors of it’s rough nature, and instilled in her a passion for


She is currently working in the New York Studio ; The city’s

eclectic styles and exuberant energy fuel her creativity now.

Being away from her country makes her appreciate what she

left behind and her creations combine both cultures.

For Christelle, a perfume is a second skin. It’s intimate, it

touches the soul. What fascinates her about her work is to be

able to inspire emotions, imprint memories, and create ethereal










Peachy Deegan of Whom You Know recently interviewed Christelle Laprade.

Peachy Deegan: When did your realize you wanted to be a parfumeur?
Christelle Laprade: I was about 17 years old. At that age you're trying to figure out which path you want to take after high-school. Becoming a perfumer came as an evidence very soon. It was as if everything came into place: I had smelled every single thing my hand had been in contact with since I was born, I had collected every little perfume sample possible, I was trying to recognize perfumes people were wearing on the street (back in the 80s-90s, it was much easier to guess, there weren't that many launches!) and I had tried to do some extractions on various plants.

How does your work differ in Manhattan compared to France?
My work would be exactly the same in France per say; you receive a brief and you try to deliver the best fragrance possible to fit this brief. You work with a team who gives you objective feedback and guides you in your work.
The difference resides in the language and the consumers' taste. Being exposed to the American culture is a learning experience for me which adds another dimension to my work.

What are your favorite and least favorite scents, and why?
Favorite scents: honeysuckle, freesia, magnolia, my boyfriend's pillow, a spring breeze blowing through blooming trees, clean babies...
Scents I don't like: I can't really say that I don't like a scent because every scent if of interest for me, there is no Ugly duckling!

What mistakes do people make when choosing perfume?
I don't know, I'm not working in a perfumery store!
What I would suggest is to avoid to categorize fragrances as masculine or feminine. I find chypre fragrances for women worn by men very sexy!

What mistakes do people make when wearing perfume?
It's very difficult to appreciate a meal when people wear overpowering fragrances at the table. I can appreciate very powerful fragrances but not in a restaurant!

What have you learned most about scent in your career?
The thing which makes this job interesting is that you learn everyday! A day doesn't go by without a lesson no matter your age or experience!
I'm surrounded by Master perfumers who have signed some of the most significant perfumes of the last two-three decades! I'm lucky to be able to talk and work with them on a daily basis and they have taught me to appreciate scents even more, to understand them better. I see the amount of work some perfumes do require and I have a lot of respect for their creators.

What is your favorite place to be in NYC?
Any place bathed with sun! My office is one of them!, but on my free time, I prefer outdoor places!... The promenade along Battery park city at sun set is one of them. I also like the Metropolitan museum's roof which gives a different point of view of Central park. Walking in SOHO or the West village is also a pleasure for me.

What is your favorite shop?
I don't have a favorite shop!
I like any home furniture and home decor shop. Like ABC carpet for example though I find it way too expensive!
I also love flower and plant shops! I like creative bouquets with unpredictable textures and colors, and if you can have the smell too, it's perfection! I often stop by Ovando on Bleeker street. There's another shop right by my office on Park between 59th and 60th. It's a decor on it's own, I dive in, it takes me somewhere else!

What is your favorite drink?
Coke with lime on the rocks please!

What is your favorite restaurant?
If I had a favorite restaurant here's what would be on the menu:
Fish soup from Gavroche
Hummus from It's Greek to me (New Jersey)
Mac and cheese from Almond (22nd street)
Truffled risotto from Brio
Dumont burger, Dumont on Bedford Av (Brooklyn)
Sea Bass skewers & Sesame crusted shrimp rolls with curry dressing from BONDST (NOHO)
Bouchee a la reine from Tartine as well as their Quiche (West village)
Mushroom crusted Virgin chicken sweet pea risotto from Extra Virgin (West Village)
Ice cream from L'Arte del gelato in Chelsea market (the last stand if you enter from 9th Av)
Sunday (chocolate, vanilla & toffee) from Marco & Pepe (Jersey city)

What is your favorite NYC book?
Probably NYC map!

What is your favorite thing to do in NYC that you can do nowhere else?
Just being in NY, walking in central park or SOHO is a journey that you can't do anywhere else!

What do you think is most underrated and overrated here?
A lot of restaurants are definitely overrated in NY!
Nothing comes to my mind as underrated!!!

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you?
I think I said quite a lot already!

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