Call it the Proust effect: Memories are best triggered by smells. Scientific studies confirm that out of all the senses, smell and fragrance offer the best recall. Our new feature, Scent Memories, will ask its subjects to talk about the scents they associate with different emotions and thoughts. French designer Roland Mouret spoke with the Cut about his new perfume Une Amourette. It’s an earthy scent meant to be worn and activated “between the thighs” (despite the feminine name, it’s not just for women). Mouret said, “Everything in the perfume is based on my memory.” The fragrance, with notes of neroli, iris, and vanilla, is available now. Read on to see where the perfume comes from.
My first scent memory: The smell of the religious incense in my head as a child, starting from when I was 6 or 7. We grew up living in Lourdes in the Pyrenees, a religious town, near the factory that produced the candles for the religious monuments near the church. When I smelled the first Comme des Garçons perfume, that was what came to my mind.
Love smells like: Patchouli. It’s really sexual, but it can be so overpowering or wrong. The concept of love, especially physical love, includes the smell of the body of the partner. I think with patchouli, part of it you likes it, part of it you hates it.
Happiness smells like: Orange blossom. Sunday morning — coming out of church, it’s the smell of the baker with the Sunday morning pastries.
Heartbreak and loss smells like: The smell of iron. It’s like the smell of a cut, when you cut yourself and taste your own blood. There’s that loneliness, and physical pain.
Regret smells like: I don’t have any regrets. I can’t smell regret.
Sunday morning smells like: It would be the smell of my dog, Dave. He will try to jump in bed with us. He’s a Jack Russell terrier. In winter also, the smell of wood burning. We have an old cottage and we don’t have a radiator, we just have a wood burner.
If I could have one scent on my hands forever: I don’t know how to define it. It’s something really personal if it’s not a perfume. I would like to have the smell of grass or something really earthy. I want a real smell that reminds me to be better than what I am.
Friendship smells like: The smell of a friend. It’s the one you know is with you all the time. Not all my friends smell good, though.
Monday morning smells like: Tuesday morning is when I start my week, because then I get rid of the hate of Sunday. So Tuesday is the smell of the studio, the fabric and the heat of all the sewing machines.
I smell like: Between a country boy and a city man. I have a split-personality smell. I’m in the country half the time and I’m in the city half the time and I smell like the two of them. In the country you’re feral, in the city you’re acceptable. So it’s something earthy and then something fresh and protective.
This scent is meant to be sprayed on the legs because: The last taboo of our society is how we smell. I want it to be connected to the way we actually smell, it finishes on the skin. The closer to your private smell the perfume is, the better it works.
When I said the perfume was meant to be sprayed between the legs, people started asking me about thigh gaps. What is a thigh gap? I’m a son of a butcher. That balance between bone, muscle, and fat, I have no problem with. It’s personal. Nothing is right or wrong, it just depends on the moment with the person. Women have become so much more unapologetic about who they are. And it’s brilliant — it’s so brilliant.
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