Edmond Roudnitska on the qualities of timeless perfumes

“When I refer to perfumes as works of art, I am not extolling this or that particular creation, and certainly not my own. I wish simply to speak of perfumes that are original and well constructed, because these features suffice to characterize a work of art. But original and well-constructed perfumes are timeless, because they can be made in all eras and in all styles, regardless of price, since in order to create them it suffices to have technical knowledge, imagination, taste and tal­ent.

One would truly have to hold the public in contempt to think that such perfumes would not be understood by the public today. Just which original and well-constructed perfume, if any, has the public rejected in our time? And which are those that have enjoyed a long life span on the market without being original and well con­ structed? I do not think that it would be possible, in all good faith, to mention a single one in either case. No one can seriously believe that triteness, mediocrity or vulgarity can be a guarantee of durable success today, or that quality is an obstacle to success.

Those perfumes that have a long life span on the market have the necessary qualities; the ones that do not have these qualities may, with much backing from advertising, create an illusion for a short while, but not for long because the cost is too high. It was a Frenchman living in the United States, [designer] Raymond Loewy, who wrote a famous book. Its title: Ugliness Sells Poorly.

The actual title of the book is  Never Leave Well Enough Alone, by Raymond Loewy.

Source: The perceptive and farsighted words of perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, in Concerning the Circumstances Favorable to the Creation of an Original Perfume, from April/May 1984 Perfumer & Flavor/st, Vol. 9, No.2, p. 127.

%d bloggers like this: