Eco-Conscious Meets High End: Honore des Pres

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I have a very special guest today. Her name is Courtney Maum, and she is the Communications Manager of Honoré des Prés, an eco-conscious fragrance line you must check out! Let's find out more about this company this morning on Chic & Green.

C & G:  "Rich is simple" is the motto of Honore des Pres. I like that when it comes to describing a product. You want an elegance and a richness without fuss and it seems as though it can also go hand in hand to describe your ingredients. Simple. Rich. Would you agree?
 
CM: "Rich is simple" is actually the emotional motto of the brand. Our tagline is "Truly organic, terribly French". But the concept, "rich is simple" is definitely the foundation of the brand. It's not about wealth- it's about true luxury. Luxury you can count on- not luxury as a facade. Our bottles are transparent, so is our logo. We are really focused on what is inside the bottle. It's not about looking (or even smelling) a certain way, it's about projecting your true nature without any artifice, or gadgets. I see this echoed in the slow food movement. When you ask most people what their very favorite dish is, it's often something simple, involving three or four high quality ingredients. There is a time and a place for fanciness- it's fun once in a while to order a desert with 18 different layers, but doesn't it feel divine to sit outside with a cone of ice cream? Honoré des Prés is about capturing the easy enchantment of childhood- a time when contentment was so simple, and available. Happiness should be simple. So should inner wealth!
 

C & G:  I stopped buying traditional perfumes from the department store shelves quite some time ago. There are so many dreadful chemicals in them, including phthalates. I see these are missing from your perfumes. Tell me more.
 
CM:  The entire line of Honoré des Prés is based around the idea of a fictional French family who began to consider the traditonal act of perfuming oneself as vulgar, and who decided to find a way to turn perfuming oneself into a veritable "happening". Each fragrance in the Honoré des Prés collection is free from coloring agents, phytalates, petrochemcial products and synthetic additives. The ingredients are sustainably sourced from all over the world and collected in the Robertet factory in Grasse, France. All you have to do is look at our bottles to understand that we're really doing something different. Because we don't add any coloring agents, the perfume takes on the color of the ingredients in each formulation. "Honorés Trip" for example, has a slightly orange tint because it is made with real orange extracts and tangerines. 

It's bad enough to be in an elevator with someone who smells to the high heavens of a very strong scent. Worse still is wondering what's in that perfume to make it smell so artificial. Perfume is applied directly to your pressure points- it's instant contact with your skin. If you've ever kissed someone with traditional perfume on, you know that this is something you wouldn't want in your mouth. So why would you put it on your skin? With our perfumes, you are kissable whether you are pregnant, nursing, asthmatic, or have a sinus infection. Safe is the new luxury.
 

C & G:  Your fragrances are high end and Eco-cert certified. This is practically unheard of. I commend your company for this. Any comments?
 

CM: It really is a first. We're the first perfume line to have a renowned nose like Giacobetti to sign her name to an organic perfume. The act of "signing" in France is very important. She chose the ingredients and came up with the formulations for each of the 5 fragrances except for "Honoré's Trip". She is associating all of her savoir faire and her esteemed reputation with an organic brand, along with the risks that such a venture entails. It was a big deal for us and we are delighted with this collaboration. It's such a challenge, creating an organic line of perfumes. Most parfumers have access to thousands and thousands of ingredients for their creations. Olivia was restricted to an exclusive selection of all natural ingredients. She likened the process to making a cake without sugar, without eggs, and without butter. All that remains is the essence. 
 

C & G:  Tell me a bit about Olivia Giacobetti.

CM: Olivia is one of the most celebrated "noses" in the world. She has been behind some of the most haunting fragrances ever created- including Dipyque, Guerlain, L'Artisan Parfumeur and Lunx. Well known for her strong personality and vision, she's a bit of an iconoclast. At her current position as the creative director for Parfum Lubin, she continues to share her love of transparent, diaphanous textures with her adept followers. Olivia is very taken with the element of water- the smell of it, the feel. She has incorporated this passion into Honoré des Prés, especially with "Nu Green", which feels like you've just had a luscious skinny dip. 
 

C & G:  Would you please tell us more about the 5 Extracts of Nature? They all sound delightfully intriguing, especially the Honore's Trip. The fragrance blends here are engaging to me.

CM: "Chaman's Party" is our most sensual offering, it actually has aphrodisiac properties which are difficult to resist. It's a woodsy, smoky scent, a complex mixture of Haitian Vetiver, Egyptian basil, and cloves. I imagine that it feels like your first kiss in a treehouse, after a storm. "Bonté's Bloom" is a coquettish mix of iris butter South Indian widlflowers and Moroccan Blue camomile, it's very soft and voluptuous like a perfect spring dress. "Nu Green" is meant to capture your most perfect naked self- it literally feels like you're slipping out of a body of water into the open air. Its blend of mint, tarragon, Indian musk and cedar is oh-so refreshing, and smells divine on men. "Sexy Angelic" is flirtatious and naughty- an elixir of hemlock, angelica and marzipan that will make a sensitive soul fall madly in love. The final scent, "Honoré's Trip", is a sun-drenched creation of tangerine, green limes, Mediterranean oranges and Phillippine pepper. Optimistic and energizing, it suggests the future happiness of the perpetually in love.  


C& G:  Do you have a favorite scent from the line?

CM: It changes every day! This winter, I was a "Chaman's Girl" through and through. When it first started getting warmer, I was thrilled with "Bonte's Bloom". Now that it's spring dress weather, I'm really enjoying Sexy Angelic. When I have something I need to concentrate on, I like "Nu Green" or "Honore's Trip". They're very tonic and energizing, like a spa treatment for the skin. And they smell great on men! I like to put on Nu Green before I excercise. There's something about it that keeps my stamina up.  

C & G:  Where can my readers find your line?

CM: In New York, they can find Honoré des Prés at Bergdorf Goodman in the perfume department, or online at SpritBeautyLounge. On the west coast, you can visit LuckyScent, or again, online at BeautyHabit. We're working on getting the everywhere else it needs to be- so if you wouldn't mind, I'd love to ask your readers to email me if they've got a super chic eco-beauty outlet near them that they think we would do well in. I can be reached at honoredespres.usa@gmail.com
 

C & G:  There are wonderful perfumers out there. Granted, most are far from being eco-friendly in terms of high quality, chemical-free ingredients. What else sets your line apart?

CM: The scent behind each story. The Honoré des Prés line really allows you to express all the different sides of your personality. I remember when in high school, girls were sort of broken into classes by who wore Issey Miyake, who wore Clinique's Happy, or peach musk from the Body Shop. I myself was an Issey Miyake girl, and I wore it for years before I realized that I just didn't feel like that person anymore. But I wasn't ready to commit to another scent, so I just stopped wearing perfume entirely.

The great thing about Honoré des Prés is whether you choose one fragrance or the entire line, you're going to be wearing something that is intricate and malleable. The organic nature of the fragrance means that the scent will enhance your personality, instead of dicate it. These are very, very complex scents- and they're certainly not for everyone. Some of them even take a little time to get to know. I know for me, with Chaman's, it was love at first sight- I remember thinking, this fragrance is me! It's my inner nature. With Sexy Angelic, I appreciated it but thought it didn't suit me. Then something shifted, and I tried it again, and something just clicked. Moods change and so do your desires. Our fragrances will make that voyage with you. 
 

C & G: Do you have anything else you'd like to add?

CM:  I'm super excited to have had this opportunity to reach out to your readers through Chic & Green. Stay beautiful, smell delicious, and don't get too much sun!

Thank you, Courtney!
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