Meet Perfumer Sonia Constant
Sonia Constant is a rising star in the world if fine perfumery. Shortly after enrolling in Givaudan’s School of Perfumery under the direction of Jean Guichard in 2001, she quickly made a name for herself helping to provide olfactory training for clients as well as learning how to become a perfumer. In 2006, she accepted the job as Perfumer at Givaudan in the Fine Perfume Creation Team in Paris. Since then, she’s created Eau de Lacoste L12.12 Yellow, Montblanc’s Emblem, Burberry Brit for Men Summer Edition, and Swarovski’s Edition 2014. Most recently, she partnered with Antoine Maisondieu to develop the elegant Valentino Donna. Here’s an exclusive peek into her fascinating life.
Perfumer Sonia Constant
Dave: To start, please tell us a little about yourself.
Sonia Constant: My origins are a union of Italian and Czech cultures, but my heart belongs to Paris!
D.L.: What made you want to create fragrances?
S.C.: Before realizing that being a perfumer could actually be a job, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I loved crafting my dreams, my inspirations. I would say I’ve always had a strong urgency to create. And on the other hand, I also had an instinctive need to use my sense of smell. When I discovered the world of perfumery, I knew it was the job of my dreams, because it contained everything: scents, creation, passion, and fashion.
D.L.: Do you have a particular method for creating a perfume?
S.C.: First I get inspired by the fragrance’s concept, images, words, feeling. Then I imagine some ideas in blocks – they are like planets moving around, like a Calder mobile. Some of these blocks meet others, some connect perfectly well together, and some don’t! Until there is like a kind of Big Bang! At that moment, the creative fusion appears, and the ideas beautifully merge together.
D.L.: What is your olfactory signature?
S.C.: Rose is my signature. My very first creation at the Perfumery School was called “Allons voir” which expresses my passion for the simple yet complex beauty of nature. My creations are deeply personal.
D.L. Do you have a favourite raw material you like working with?
S.C.: Rose, as it’s almost like my first olfactory love. I also like working with ambroxan. Just like with black and white photography, it is a magnificent raw material that is at once terribly modern yet timeless. And finally I have a special soft spot for iris: iris – to me – means Florence, seduction and love…
D.L. What was it like working with Antoine on Valentino Donna?
S.C.: Working in a duet means – at every single step of the creative process – keeping the best of our creations. It involves forgetting about ego, and listening to each other.
Valentino Spring 2016 Collection
D.L.: What were your inspirations when creating this new fragrance?
S.C.: The aristocratic exuberance of The Great Gatsby, the vibrant sensuality of Eyes Wide Shut, the intense yet sophisticated passion in L’Amant but also one of my romantic trips to Rome, the graceful and artistic beauty of Italy.
D.L.: When working on the formula, did you think of a particular woman who would wear your creation?
S.C.: I made it mine! When crafting this fragrance, I always asked myself “if I were to meet my lover tonight, would he fall crazily in love with me?” When the answer was yes, I knew there was the right dose of sensuality.
Valentino Spring 2016
D.L.: How did you select the notes?
S.C.: Selecting the noblest raw materials, of the finest quality, like in an Haute Couture object. Choosing the most feminine and alluring flower in the world of nature: the rose. Dressing it in a refined and exquisite chypre accord: as in a limpid way to embody this racy yet profoundly Italian femininity. Adding intense and textured notes of leather to reveal a hint of assumed irreverence.
Valentino Donna is available in Canada at select Hudson’s Bay stores and thebay.com