For the past two decades, Narciso Rodriguez’s signature scent, For Her, has captured the essence of femininity and grace. To mark its 20th anniversary, the brand recently launched its new addition to the family, For Her Forever. And the nose responsible for these iconic scents is perfumer Sonia Constant.
With a fondness for storytelling, Constant weaves together various scent notes to create timeless and contemporary fragrances. For her, perfume-making is not just a profession but a form of art that evokes memories, feelings, and moods. KHAMSA meets with Consatnt during the 20th celebration as she lends us some insight into the process.
١ When you work on perfume for a brand or designer, how do you translate their identity into a scent?
To me, translating a brand’s identity into a scent requires a deep understanding of its values and aesthetic, as well as a creative and intuitive approach to fragrance development. By combining these elements, I strive to create perfumes that capture the essence of the brand and resonate with its target audience.
٢ How do you construct the various elements of a perfume?
Constructing the various elements of perfume involves combining different fragrance materials in a careful and deliberate way to create a balanced and harmonious scent. The fragrance materials may be natural, synthetic, or a combination of both, and they are traditionally divided into base notes, middle notes, and top notes. The creative process of fragrances requires a combination of technical knowledge, artistic vision, and olfactory intuition. Perfumers must have a deep understanding of fragrance materials and how they interact with one another and the ability to visualize a fragrance concept and bring it to life through scent. By combining these elements, perfumers can create fragrances that capture a brand’s or designer’s essence and evoke a wide range of emotions and experiences for the wearer.
٣ What’s it been like working with Narciso Rodriguez and creating the For Her scent?
I think Mr Rodriguez and I have the same approach regarding women; sensuality and elegance. He draws dresses like I create perfumes, with the same ambition to sublimate women’s natural grace without transforming their authentic beauty and to make them even more beautiful and graceful. For me, it is amazing to have such an opportunity to create directly with the designer – it is very rare in the perfume industry to collaborate directly with the designer and to have direct access to him. I feel really blessed for that.
٤ How does it feel to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of For Her? Did you have any inkling that it would become this popular?
The 20th anniversary of For Her is a significant achievement. It is rare for a fragrance to remain popular and relevant for such a long time, and this achievement demonstrates the fragrance’s timeless appeal and the brand’s ability to adapt and innovate while staying true to its signature style. It is a great opportunity to celebrate the brand’s accomplishments and reflect on the impact of Narciso Rodriguez’s fragrances on the industry.
Even though this fragrance’s success and iconic status may have been unpredictable (how could you predict such a success?), it is undoubtedly proof of the talent and expertise of Narciso Rodriguez. For me, it is a fragrance that embodies femininity, sensuality, and sophistication, making it a timeless classic that has stood the test of time.
٥ Can you describe the woman that wears For Her Narciso Rodriguez? What qualities does she embody?
To me, the woman who wears For Her Narciso Rodriguez is confident, sensual, and sophisticated. She is unapologetically feminine, with a timeless elegance and understated glamour that sets her apart. She has a magnetic presence that draws others to her, and she exudes a sense of quiet confidence and inner strength.
I think the qualities she embodies include a genuine appreciation for luxury and quality, a refined sense of style and taste, and a deep connection to her own sensuality and femininity. She is comfortable in her own skin, unafraid to express her individuality, and radiates a captivating aura of mystery and allure.
٦ For Her is often described as a sensual fragrance. How did you achieve this effect, and what inspired you to create a scent with these qualities?
The sensuality of For Her was achieved through a combination of musks, floral notes, and warm, woody undertones. The idea was to create an alluring and sophisticated fragrance with a hint of mystery and intrigue. The inspiration behind this scent came from the desire to create something that was truly iconic and memorable that would resonate with women of all ages and backgrounds.
٧ What are the key elements that make a fragrance timeless and enduring?
I think timelessness in fragrances comes from a combination of factors, including a well-balanced composition of notes, a unique and memorable signature, and an ability to evoke emotions and memories in those who wear it.
٨ How do you approach the creation of unique and commercially successful scents?
To me, creating unique and commercially successful scents requires a combination of creativity, innovation, and market research. The process involves identifying consumer trends and preferences and finding ways to translate those into an original and appealing fragrance. It also requires a deep understanding of the brand or designer’s identity and values and a willingness to take risks and push boundaries to create something truly unique.
٩ When developing new variations of an existing perfume, like For Her Forever, what is your process for building on the original fragrance while creating something distinct and fresh?
When developing new variations of an existing perfume like For Her Forever, the process involves building on the core elements of the original fragrance while adding new and distinctive notes to create a fresh and modern interpretation. This may involve tweaking the proportions of existing notes, adding new ingredients, or exploring different facets of the fragrance to create a new and unique olfactory experience.
١٠ How do you train your nose as a perfumer to have the ability to work with so many scents?
Training your nose as a perfumer involves a combination of practice, experience, and education. Perfumers spend years honing their skills, learning to identify and distinguish between different notes and ingredients, and building a mental library of scents they can draw upon when creating new fragrances. This involves smelling individual ingredients and essential oils and exploring their combinations and interactions to understand how they work together in a fragrance composition.
١١ Could you share some of the scents of your childhood?
The scents of my childhood are very linked to my mother’s perfume; she used to wear rosy Chypre Fragrance like the family of For Her. Isn’t it a strange coincidence? Paloma Picasso, Trésor from Lancôme or First by Van Cleef & Arpels. I love the smell of Apfel strudel my grandmother was cooking; it’s an Austrian pastry made with apples, almonds and, cinnamon, dry grapes.