A Day on the French Riviera
Alex Simone's collection of six Eaux de Parfums, named 'French Riviera’, embodies an olfactory journey from sunrise to sunset on the iconic Côte d'Azur. Founded in Monte Carlo by Eric Rousseau, Alex Simone is a niche perfume house that offers a collection directly inspired by his memories of spending holidays on the French Riviera with his grandparents, Alex and Simone.
What sparked the creation of your own perfume house?
I woke up one morning and thought it was time to do something important. Something that matters to me, something that makes sense and will last over time. Creating a perfume brand was the right way for me to make this dream come true. When I arrived on the Côte d'Azur more than 20 years ago, I fell in love with the French Riviera and its mythical elegance. Its luminosity, its colors, its vegetation, its smells, its Belle Epoque palaces and the Mediterranean Sea. Everything here is a true source of inspiration for me. But it is above all else, my meeting with Olivier Maure - with whom I share a common vision of perfumery, and my love for his house of composition, which were decisive in my desire to launch my own perfume house. I named it Alex Simone as a tribute to my grandparents: Alexandre and Simone, with whom I had my first olfactory memories. They were tobacco farmers and shared their passion for exceptional materials with me from a very young age.
How did this collection come to life?
The first collection is named ‘French Riviera’ because it represents the foundations of the brand. It was of course elaborated in the heights of Grasse, in Olivier Maure's composition house. This collection is made up of six unisex Eaux de Parfums inspired by the timeless elegance of the Cote d’Azur. It is a succession of snapshots that evoke my favourite moments of an ideal day on the Riviera, from early morning until night. And throughout this dreamy day, the fragrances will increase in intensity, and that's what's interesting. We start the day with a soft floral and citrus scent and end the evening with a note of seduction and boldness. These are moments that I have experienced and that are representative of the different facets that are hidden in our beautiful Riviera. These six creations are the fruit of noble materials and born from my collaboration with two great independent master perfumers: Jean-Denis Saisse and Bertrand Duchauffour.
The collection was designed in Grasse, South East of France. It is at Sainte Blanche estate, and within the renowned composition house “Art et Parfum” created by the mythical perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, that the scents were imagined by the two illustrious perfumer designers, hand-in-hand with Eric Rousseau. Jean-Denis Saisse, the fifth generation of Grasse perfumers, created the first three fragrances of the collection which represent the beginning of the day, freshness and the gentle sea breeze. Bertrand Duchaufour, on the other hand, finalised the collection with refined and sophisticated aromas.
Whatever your mood or whatever the occasion, you'll always find a fragrance to suit you.”
How were the process of creation and the collaboration with the perfumer designers?
I have to say that this was the most enjoyable time I have had since the brand's inception. First of all, with the help of my art director, Alicia Frackowiak, we created mood boards of those specific moments, so that the perfumers could immerse themselves in this story. Then we submitted them to the composition house, which directed us to the two independent perfumers who could perfectly interpret each snapshot. The work of the evaluator led by Sylvie Armando, from the composition house, was decisive in translating accurately all our expectations and the spirit of this collection into the "language of the perfumer". We gave the perfumers complete creative freedom and the choice of raw materials so that their work would best correspond to each moment of this ideal day on the Riviera. This process took almost a year.
The range begins with 'Villa Simone' at dawn as the shutters open on a sun-drenched garden from which emanate notes of lemon blossom subtly mixed with jasmine flowers and musks. ‘Tellement Bleu', the second fragrance in the collection, reveals the moment when the sea and sky become one, releasing the scent of the maquis. With the sun at its zenith, ‘En Terrasse’ translates as a lunch facing the sea under the pine trees, with the zesty vivacity of grapefruit and the intensity of cedarwood.
The afternoon stretches out into a moment that we would like to last forever, and for which we cannot help but want 'Encore Un Peu': with its green, fruity and addictive notes of rhubarb. ‘Après Vous’ is all about light and warmth, this seductive and sophisticated start to the evening that’s only just beginning. The final scent of the collection, 'L'incitation' is sensual and translates audacity, the sweetness of rose petals mingles with spicy notes, an unsettling duality. The French Riviera in all its splendour.
How did you choose those specific moments?
These are moments that I have experienced and that are representative of the different facets that are hidden in our beautiful Riviera. Over the last twenty years, some have been more memorable than others because of their atmosphere, their smell or simply the moment they represent. As we described these moments and made our mood boards, we realised that they could form an ideal day on the French Riviera.
Which scent is your favourite and why?
I like to say that my favourite perfume will be the next one, the one that hasn't been released yet. But, in all honesty, I really like them all and I wear them all for different occasions. I often wear two different perfumes on the same day. One for the day and one when I go out at night. That's what I really like about our collections; whatever your mood or whatever the occasion, you'll always find a fragrance to suit you.