At Parfums Henry Jacques, A Quiet Ritual For the Self

  • By Joie Goh

  • Beauty /27 April 2018

  • By Joie Goh

“If time is the new luxury, perfume is time for yourself,” proclaims Anne-Lise Cremona, president of the ultra-exclusive, bespoke fragrance maison Parfums Henry Jacques. What’s not mentioned: Simply owning a Parfums Henry Jacques scent is luxury itself.

In fact, even the process of ownership is a decadent, extended affair involving a visit to its atelier in the outskirts of Grasse in France, and one that only the very privileged could have experienced. Three years ago, however, Cremona, who is also the daughter of founder and renowned perfumer Henry Jacques Cremona, launched a 50-piece commercial range to meet the demand for the house’s exquisitely crafted pure perfumes (that’s right — even its “commercial” line is a whole collection of concentrated perfume).

 

Then again, even to obtain one of the 50 Les Classiques fragrances requires one to travel to London in order to experience and purchase it from Harrods, in its Salon de Parfums where Parfums Henry Jacques has a small shop-within-a-shop. That is, until earlier this year, as the maison unveils its first ever standalone boutique in the world, nestled within Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore.

Within the boutique is the private viewing space, upholstered with luxury fabrics from historic textile mill Holland & Sherry.
Within the boutique is the private viewing space, upholstered with luxury fabrics from historic textile mill Holland & Sherry.

Intimate, yet imposing, the wood-panelled boutique is designed by famed French architect Christophe Tollemer, whose work include the Hotel des Airelles in Couchevel, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. “The entire boutique was conceived and assembled in France, then vacuum-packed and reassembled in Singapore by our team,” he says. “This long process was the only way to guarantee an uncompromised French craftsmanship.”

Within the space, which is inspired by the aesthetics of historic Parisian apartments and boasts hand-sculpted mouldings and gold leaf-covered ceilings, one is treated to the indulgent ritual of selecting and sampling the Les Classiques. Or, if one prefers a bespoke scent, a consultation can be arranged and a wholly original bouquet composed from scratch, a process that can take anywhere from three to nine months, depending if one desires a completely customised crystal flacon as well.

From left: The Les Classiques compositions, while created with traditional, natural essences, are unconventional yet supremely elegant and rich; for those desiring to enshrine their fragrance wardrobe, exquisitely crafted chests designed to hold 10 and 15 Les Classiques are available for purchase at the boutique as well.
From left: The Les Classiques compositions, while created with traditional, natural essences, are unconventional yet supremely elegant and rich; for those desiring to enshrine their fragrance wardrobe, exquisitely crafted chests designed to hold 10 and 15 Les Classiques are available for purchase at the boutique as well.
 

Still, for most, a Les Classique is enough. Each of the 50 unique blends is thoughtfully crafted with premium natural essences to portray the principles of the Henry Jacques legacy, and housed within the sleek, minimal lines of a Tollemer-designed bottle and presented upon a silk cushion in a varnished wood case embellished with gold leaf.

Every step, including final assembly, is executed with care and detail.
Every step, including final assembly, is executed with care and detail.

However, what truly expresses the luxury of the house isn’t in the material trappings of the perfume, but in its application: a few drops, dabbed on with the bottle’s crystal dropper and allowed to blossom with the warmth of one’s skin. Unlike eau de parfums, which are diluted with alcohol and spritzed, a Henry Jacques perfume stays elegantly and discreetly on the wearer’s skin without invading the physical space. According to Cremona, modern fragrances have been reduced to a “mere frill, quickly sprayed on and stripped of its peerage”. By bringing back the ritual of scenting oneself, one finds time for oneself. “And the time to find yourself,” she adds.

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Images courtesy of Parfums Henry Jacques