Should we liberate the scents we try so hard to hide?
A provocateur in the world of fragrance, Alessandro Gualtieri is a man who couldn’t care less about the rules. Often referred to as ‘The Nose’, the Amsterdam based perfumer is fascinated by the scents our body produces – the ones that we usually try to cover up.
Underarms, private parts, feet – for him they hold the key to something much more beautiful. So much so that inspired by these and the earth’s unexpected odours, he has created the Orto Parisi collection. A complex and intriguing collection of fragrances, each scent explores a dynamic of attraction and repulsion, provoking us to reconsider ourselves, our bodies and our environment.
Here, to mark the release of his latest creation Megamare he talks to HUNGER about how he extracts pleasure from the unexpected.
Hi Alessandro, why do you think we still see fragrance as something to mask, rather than enhance our body’s natural scents?
I don’t see fragrance as a mask. Perfumes have the ability to add an extra layer to your personality in different ways. But if you haven’t got one they won’t help much!
When you’re creating a new scent, is it important to include notes that you might not like – in order to create something that is interesting?
I’m always busy searching a contrast in my creations. This means that I do not exclude any ingredients whether they could be considered pleasant or repulsive.
In your manifesto for the brand, you’ve said “The parts of the body that carry more smell are those where more soul is collected” – can you tell us a bit more about what you mean by this?
I mean that armpits, anus and all other body parts that contain holes and emit liquids have particular smell. The smell depends on what that person experiences, how he/she feels, what lifestyle he/she leads, what he/she eats, etc. These holes carry information about everything, they carry the essential information about the life.
Megamare is inspired by the greatness of the sea. Where is your favourite place to be by the ocean?
Do you see fragrance as something that can be meaningful and emotional as well as decorative?
It always has to be something emotional, If it becomes an ornament it won’t work.
What’s the most abrasive and controversial smell that you enjoy?
The under part of the feet of several animals.
Who did you work with on the visuals/photos around the brand?
I have my in-house visual team working closely with me to interpret my ideas and visions. It’s quite difficult to communicate purely in smell but I try to do that with my art installations.
For the wider public sometimes images can help to trigger their imagination and get them to smell and understand my work.
Is there anyone in the world of fragrance or arts or music, that you would love to collaborate with?
I will take into consideration to create a project for an iconic brand or company such as Chanel or other… if they will give me the freedom to create. But the initiative has to come from someone who at least have a story, know and appreciate their history, have been show the quality in creation and production.
How do you keep your passion for the world of scent, having been a nose for so long?
It’s always a challenge in creating new work which has a strong soul. In fact, I’m getting more into olfactive art installations and a project around wine.
Orto Parisi Megamare is available now at Liberty London, £138 for 50 ml Extrait de Parfum.
20 May 2019