Fragrance nerd alert! Did you know that the first designer to launch a perfume was Paul Poiret? The Parisian couturier founded his company, Parfums de Rosine (named after his daughter), in 1911.
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It enjoyed considerable success until it was forced to close when the Great Depression hit in 1929.
The house was brought back to life in 1991 when Marie-Hélène Rogeon acquired it, with a focus on roses. Since then, the brand has become renowned for its quality takes on the queen of florals.
We speak to artistic director Louis Rogeon about balancing heritage and innovation, the versatile appeal of roses, and the house’s latest release.
What’s your designation at the company and what does it involve?
We are an independent company with a jack-of-all-trades team. My role is mainly that of artistic director. I take care of product development: concept, packs, and visuals, as well as olfactory creation.
Condolences for your mother’s death last year. Have you taken on more responsibilities since her passing?
Thank you so much. I obviously cannot replace her. She has been the soul of this perfume house for over 30 years and a pioneer in niche perfumery.
Of course, I am taking on new tasks, particularly closer relationships with our various partners and in the administrative follow-up of the company.
We are a small team but overflowing with passion. Everyone has stepped up their work since this sad event.
The company was originally founded by couturier Paul Poiret. What made it such an attractive investment?
The main attraction lies in the fact that our family worked for the Poiret house in the 1920s. They mainly collaborated in the packaging of perfumes.
There was therefore a clear lineage. My mother grew up in this universe. As a child at home, there were many old bottles, trimmings and other illustrations dating back to that time.
The figure of Paul Poiret fascinated her. He was an avant-garde with boundless creativity. Not many people know it, but he was also the first couturier to create his own brand of perfumes.
Reviving a brand isn’t easy, even one with such an illustrious heritage. What were the greatest challenges at the time of acquisition?
Surprisingly, the acquisition of the brand was easy. The descendants were sensitive to the idea of my mother and to the fact that this perfume house could come back to life.
The main challenge then was to recreate a concept from this heritage. For several years, the brand was a mono-perfume, with La Rose de Rosine as the only reference.
It was only gradually that my mother developed the idea of a brand based around the concept of the rose.
How do you maintain the balance between respect for heritage and contemporary innovation?
Things are done quite naturally. In their presentations, our products borrow from the brand’s Art Deco past, notably with our logos: the “R” and the double rose. The trimmings – in different forms – have also been preserved.
Then, in stages, our products evolved to be innovative: coloured bottles appeared, accompanied by more contemporary packs and visual universe.
The perfumers with whom we collaborate have also participated in this dynamic. They are all young noses which spontaneously created a contemporary perfumery.
All Les Parfums de Rosine perfumes have a rose theme. Is that ever limiting for the perfumers you collaborate with?
Not at all. All our creations have a trace of rose but ultimately few are worked like real rose scents.
Only La Rose de Rosine and Rose Nue can be considered soliflores. At the same time, they are two fragrances of great complexity with multiple facets.
Our collection covers all olfactory families, with woody, fruity, citrus, marine fragrances, etc. In most of our creations, the rose is present as an element that expresses the olfactory signature of our brand.
The rose is above all a delicious, elegant and timeless raw material which gives a lot of roundness and richness to the perfumes.
Let’s talk about your latest release, Bulle de Rose, created by Serge de Oliviera. What makes it different from other perfumes from the brand?
Bulle de Rose is a powdery fragrance that revisits, with freedom and modernity, the legendary note of Camay soap. Its originality remains in its construction: it is a fragrance that is both fresh and opulent.
The base notes – sandalwood, patchouli, Ambroxan – may make one imagine a “heavy” fragrance, yet it remains sparkling and radiant with an impression of cleanliness given by the soapy accord.
Serge de Oliviera has created a number of fragrances for the brand. Why do you enjoy working with him?
Serge is a perfectionist. The pleasure we have in working with him is simple and natural because he spontaneously understood the DNA of our brand.
The exchange is therefore very pleasant. He is a creative young perfumer, with an immense culture of perfume.
We have already developed four fragrances together. The first was Bleu Abysse, in which he mixed mineral and iodine notes with a background of oud.
This is certainly the first time that a perfume has dared to go with this accord. He blew us away from the start!
How you prefer to work with your perfumers? Are they given a tight brief? Or is there lots of room for interpretation?
It’s a mix of the two. Although our briefs are quite precise, we like perfumers to feel as free as possible in their creations.
We love nothing more than being surprised. Then the dialogue takes place (sometimes over the long term). It is during this exchange that the most beautiful creations come to fruition.
What can we look forward to in 2022 from Les Parfums de Rosine?
I cannot say much because we are planning some important novelties for the brand and this work remains confidential for the moment…
Les Parfums de Rosine fragrances are available at:
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.