[W]hen John and Clara Molloy founded Memo Paris– their travel-inspired fragrance collection, their intention was to transport you around the world. With Floraïku, the journey is intended to be one inside yourself.
Inspired by the evocative power of haiku – the three line Japanese poetic form known for ability to evoke emotions and imagery, Floraïku explores how scent can be meditative and healing, anchoring you in the present moment.
Presented in a bento style box, with an individually written haiku on each handcrafted bottle – this is fragrance elevated to an artform. The collection consists of three ‘ceremonies’: Secret Teas and Spices, Engimatic Flowers and Forbidden Incense with three different perfumes in each (and two ‘shadowing’ fragrances to intensify or soften these).
Floraïku is John and Clara’s homage to the Japanese culture and creativity which has influenced their craft for many years. We caught up with Clara to find out more about the poetic inspirations behind the brand.
Hi Clara, what inspired you and John to create Floraïku?
I’ve always been in love with Japan and it’s a passion that John shares. Anything that came from Japan – I was curious about, the literature, film, and of course the poetry. When you work in the luxury industry, Japan is such an inspiration for all of us – it’s a place synonymous with beauty. The way of living is filled with so much detail. Personally, I began tap dancing because of Japanese film maker Takeshi Kitano. There has always been a strong influence from Japan in what we do.
Have you been travelling to Japan a lot over the years?
Yes, we went to Yakushima before it became the tourist destination that it is now.
Japan has been part of our lives for a long time. As a student I studied two years of Japanese. I never learned how to speak it properly, but I definitely tried! It gave me a cultural insight.
When you think of perfumes it’s a very different universe in Asia. With our brand Memo Paris we haven’t included an Asian destination. On our journey to do that we found it difficult to choose one place. It’s such a diverse continent, so instead of doing one perfume, we started a new brand!
For those selecting a new fragrance at one of you counters – you have designed a unique experience for sampling it - a kind of ceremony. What was your thinking behind this?
We wanted people to feel welcomed – with tea and with biscuits! It’s a way of experiencing a whole story and culture, and being part of something wider. It’s designed to be immersive. With the teas, we have created our own – one for each season. It’s meant to make you feel like you are completely in the moment.
You’ve said before you see fragrance as a kind of journey – is this how you want people to experience Floraïku?
With Memo Paris it was about taking people on a trip to a specific destination. With Floraiku, it’s when you arrive at the top of the mountain and take a moment to contemplate it. It’s meditative. It’s poetry. It’s about taking a special moment for yourself outside of reality.
How have you incorporated your own poetry into the brand?
I wrote my own version of a haiku. There’s a saying that you can’t write a haiku if you’re not Japanese. I write poetry in French mostly then translate into English.
It’s an homage to the art form. An idea of what could be. I’m inspired by the links between poetry and image. It’s a unique way to tell a story.
I also explore this through the Cinehaiku Festival which I started last year. It takes place in Gordes, South of France each year, and showcases a new collection of short poetic films alongside artistic events. I was inspired to create it after reading La Preparation du Roman by Roland Barthes, where he talks about haikus as the best form of interpreting the present.
Can scent have a deeper meaning?
Fragrance has a deep intrinsic power. With Floraïku and the different ceremonies it’s a way of playing with identity and mood, and who you are. There’s a freedom in that. Scent has a strong effect on you, it can be on your skin everyday – it’s a key to your journey that can be transformative.
What are some of your most vivid memories of scent in your life?
As a child I grew up in Paris, there was a lot of rain and I always loved the smell of the rain on the stones. My parents were Spanish so when we went to Spain you had the amazing mixture of the ocean and the palm trees. Some people change their hair when they change boyfriends, for me I changed perfume!
Thank you Clara!