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Clement Gavarry Interview: Creator Of Ariana Grande Cloud

Clement Gavarry’s career (see his list of creations below) was doing very nicely, thank you. And then something happened in 2018 with the launch of Ariana Grande Cloud EDP that brought him to the attention of a much wider audience. 

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This mega-hit should come as no surprise to those who have followed the career of the Frenchman. Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely EDP (co-created with Laurent le Guernec) is an earlier success of his from 2005 and he’s continued to progress over the years with a diverse selection of creations.  

  • Matthew Williamson Jasmine Sambac EDP (2007)
  • Tom Ford Black Violet EDP (2007)
  • Elizabeth Arden Untold EDP (2013)
  • Roberto Cavalli Just Him EDT (2013)
  • Diana Vreeland Simply Divine EDP (2014)
  • Olfactive Studio Panorama EDP (2014)
  • Ostens Impression Jasmine Absolue EDP (2018)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch Authentic Man EDT (2019) 
  • Guess 1981 Los Angeles Women EDT (2019)
  • Cher Eau de Couture EDP (2019)
  • Oscar de la Renta Bella Essence EDP (2020)
  • Estée Lauder Blushing Sands EDP (2021) 
  • Kayali Eden Juicy Apple 01 EDP (2021)
  • MCM EDP (2021)
  • Boy Smells Les EDP (2023)
Clement Gavarry Interview: Creator Of Ariana Grande Cloud

Despite my best attempts to get him to reveal specific details about working with clients, especially high-profile celebrities, he’s too much of a professional to fall for that and keeps it general.

And he won’t be drawn into any discussion about supposed similarities between Ariana Grande Cloud and the hugely influential and famous Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540. Darn, I must be losing my touch!

What fragrance are you wearing today?

Today, none, because I am at work. As I work on so many scents at the same time, I can’t be distracted with what I am wearing.

Fernweh Editions Fern & Petals Candle

That said, I normally wear the scents I am working on and in my free time, I love to wear Calvin Klein cK One EDT and Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme EDT – based on the occasion, of course. Another scent I’ve been loving to wear lately is Creed Aventus EDP.

Where did perfumery start for you?

It was something I grew up around and at age 15, I began doing annual fragrance-related internships where I really dove into analyzing ingredients. I then went to ISIPCA [the French perfumery school] where I graduated with a Master’s in organic chemistry focused on chromatography. 

This was an amazing way to learn about all kinds of ingredients from synthetics to naturals, and it also made me feel like I was on a bit of a treasure hunt trying to unlock some of the mysteries for fragrances I knew. 

After my studies, I moved to NYC, where I still am today. 

Your father, Max Gavarry, created classics such as Antonio Puig Quorum EDT (1981), Dior Dioressence EDT (1979), and Estée Lauder Beautiful EDP (1985). Was he a big influence on your decision to become a perfumer and did that come with its own pressures?

My father did not push me to become a perfumer. Growing up it was always a thing where people assumed it was what I would do, almost something I wanted to go against. But in the end, I independently fell in love with the scientific side of the industry. 

You studied at ISIPCA. Was it a formative time for you and how?

The truth is I studied chemistry first and ISPICA was an added bonus, but my major was organic chemistry. 

When I was at IPSICA, I spent most of my time, a good half or two-thirds of the year, doing internships and so that working experience was formative for me. 

What was your fine fragrance debut? What do you think of it now?

That was in 2004 when I worked on Prada Amber EDP with my mentor and my dad. 

It’s still a beautiful fragrance, almost niche without even trying to be. It was a unique experience to work on this project, as there were people involved in this creation from all parts of the world. 

Although your creations are obviously guided by briefs, what do you always try to give them? 

I try to use naturals as much as I can, because they will allow the fragrance to be more alive and have a strong signature. They bring an element of surprise because the fragrance is living and there is a lot of chemistry happening within the formula that gives it that point of differentiation. 

I love Dolce & Gabbana Intenso EDP (2014). What can you tell us about the creation of this scent? 

This was a beautiful experience and also quite unique. They decided to celebrate the 20thanniversary of Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme EDT and because my dad created the original, they asked me to create the new iteration. I, of course, said yes, as I was thrilled to work on such a great scent and initiative. 

When did you move to NYC? Does working and living in such a dynamic environment bring something different to your creations?

I moved to NYC in the year 2000. Yes, of course, living in NYC inspires me because it is so dynamic and there is so much happening. Just walking around the city brings me a lot of inspiration; it is truly unlike anywhere else and one of the best places to find inspiration all around.

You work for dsm-firmenich, the Swiss fragrance and flavor company. Which of their ingredients / captive molecules do you particularly enjoy using? 

I have always loved the dsm-firmenich palette of ingredients, even before working here [from 2000 to 2017, he worked for the American fragrance and flavor company IFF]. 

I love their captive molecules and this was a big reason why I joined them. The overall palette, from captives to musks, are ingredients I enjoy creating with.

You’ve worked on several celebrity fragrances over the years. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely EDP (2005), Ariana Grande Cloud EDP (2018), Cher Eau de Couture EDP (2019), and Paris Hilton Love Rush EDP (2022). Is this a genre you enjoy working on? What makes it different to other projects?

There is always a strong connection when you have a celebrity involved in the development and creation, and in trying to translate what they are looking for into a fragrance. It’s nice to work together with them and talking through ingredients, for example, especially if they are interested in learning about the process, because this allows for good communication and a stronger connection. 

Celebrities always have a different approach in the way they want to create their scents and don’t necessarily go for big blockbusters from the get-go. 

Often, they rather focus on what scent represents them or on something that is dear to them and they have always dreamed about using in their fragrance. This makes the process less business-only and allows us freedom in creativity, which is something I enjoy.

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Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.