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The first signature scent by L’Occitane, Terre de Lumière, was created by three talented women parfumeurs from the house of Givaudan, who designed exclusively for the Provence-based beauty manufacturer their first signature perfume.
The perfume reflects not only the scent, feel and savoir vivre from La Provence but also a lot about L’Occitane’s philosophy, which was mostly created by founder Olivier Boussan in 1976. He was not only a successful businessman but also a philosophically, literary and artistically interested mind.
L’Occitane focuses on authenticity and emotions. People from Provence work with great care on the products by keeping in mind a focus on the nature that surrounds them, the ethics of life and of course the long-time knowledge of creating scents and working with the plants and flowers that nature has blessed this region with. L’Occitane is all about humanity and sharing La Provence, a place in the world where nature constantly shapes the way of life.
That is probably also because of the vibrant light, which has something magical, not only at sunrise or sunset, but it makes nature appear sometimes naïve and sometimes surreal. No surprise that the great impressionists like Van Gogh, Matisse and Cézanne captured these moments so well in their paintings. Just remember the vibrant yellow of Van Gogh’s famous sunflower fields. This is the intense yellow that seems to give this region all the good energy that has been captured and brought together by the three noses.
Read IRMA’s Q/A with the three parfumeurs, Nadège Le Garlantezec, Shyamala Maisondieu and Calice Becker:
IRMA: How do you make a perfume smell feminine?
Nadège Le Garlantezec: With honey and tonka. Lavender contains coumarin, which is also in tonka, then you add some almond oil and some musk to make it more sensual and bergamotte to reflect the lavender. These key ingredients always add up to femininity.
IRMA: The task was to create a perfume which reflects the light, the golden hour of La Provence. How did you do that?
Nadège Le Garlantezec: It has something to do with the hour of the day, when the light is going down, nature is all warmed up, then when night falls, the freshness comes, a mix of more humidity and the plants are regaining their energy. I felt being very sensitive to these hours because I had just born my baby.
IRMA: Is it unusual that three different noses work on one perfume?
Calice Becker: Yes it is, but it made it a very interesting project. We all knew our task but we looked at the creation each with different eyes. Some things we all had in common was that we wanted to keep the ingredients in a natural way and we handled them very carefully. We wanted only the best oils from the harvest and thought of a way to assemble them in a most careful and precise way. We used five different oils and bees wax in the perfume.
IRMA: L’Occitane is known to have a long and strong relationship with their suppliers?
Shyamala Maisondieu: Yes, it is important where the honey is coming from. For example Patrick Moll, one of our honey producers, takes his bees to the sea to take them away from the lavender fields, so they can grow strong and nicely until they come back in July. This is lots of work and time consuming but it shows in the quality of the final product.