A Fragrance Editor in Wonderland: Memoire Liquide at Henri Bendel’sNYC
An Exclusive BN Interview with Robin Coe-Hutshing
By Michelyn Camen
As much as I adore so many of the fragrances I review, I have always dreamt of a bespoke scent as bewitching, as unique and as quirky as…well, me! Friends and colleagues would stop and inquire “You smell amazing. It doesn’t smell familiar, what is it?” I would nonchalantly answer, “Oh, just a little fragrance I had whipped up FOR ME AND NO ONE ELSE, SO FORGET ABOUT TRYING TO BUY IT”. Of course, this dream perfume would cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. Here’s the scoop, at the Memoire Liquide Boutique at Henri Bendel’s, a custom blended fragrance JUST FOR YOU can be yours, for as little as $30.00!
Memoire Liquide is the brainchild of Robin Coe-Hutshing and her sister Jennifer; Robin is the award winning Founder and Creative Director of STUDIO at Fred Segal, as well as the nose for quite a few fragrance brands. Coe-Hutshing has her own line of home and lifestyle fragrances called Burn.
BN: What was the inspiration to create Memoire Liquide?
RCH: Since I was a child, I have been aware of the powerful connection between scent and memory. After years of developing fragrances for our customers at Fred Segal as well as running my own business in fragrance development it was a full circle culmination of my sister Jennifer and I realizing that this creative vision we had, truly resonated with customers on a very visceral level.
BN: Please speak to how your concept addresses the desire for a customer to own a signature scent at an affordable price point.
RCH: We made a conscious decision to offer ML at what we consider a very democratic price. We are able to this for one reason: we use no marketing, no advertising, no supermodels or celebrity endorsements…Our packaging is simple, but elegant. We have used our resources to source the best quality fragrance materials- from the finest fragrance houses in the world, and that -the fragrance itself, is what our customer is responding to.
BN: How does the process for a customer begin?
RCH: Our trained specialists ask questions about what our customers have liked in the past, what they are looking for, if they are looking for a radical departure. Sometimes we just take a wild instinctual guess and sometimes we are way off -sometimes we are spot on! The thing that is so wonderful- is the relationship that forms in this part of the process between the Perfumer and the customer. Generally, there is some sharing that takes place. They’ll start up with a confession of sorts- I’m buying this perfume because… my boyfriend left me, I am getting married, I have a hot date, I want to recreate the scent of my grandmothers attic. We hear it all…People cry, laugh, bring in the boyfriends after the scents have worked their magic and bring in the children after the weddings…
BN: Should you tell the specialist fragrances you like or wear?
RCH: Yes, absolutely, just as you’d tell a clothing sales person you were looking for a simple black dress- why let them scamper around bringing you blue, yellow and purple polka dots?
BN: How many individual oils or blends are stocked, how they are grouped?
RCH: Currently there are 160 base scents, each of which can be worn singly, or mixed in infinite combinations. They are grouped in ten categories for example: Le Fleurist, Mélange Gourmandise, Les Ences, Bois et Espices, Les Tropiques, and Les Senteurs Musc.
BN: Is there a limit to how many blends you should use to create your own fragrance?
RCH: The beauty of this is that there is no answer to that- no right- no wrong. For one person the magic number is purely one. For the next, it is an intricate harmony of twenty elements. Each person is equally happy. Our job is to listen, and not superimpose our own tastes and ideas- just try to get the customer exactly what he or she is looking for-it is always magic when it happens and there are no maybes. It is definitive!
BN: If I want my bespoke scent in bath oil or body cream, can you custom blend them as well?
RCH: Yes, that is a very important part of the concept. We offer your new fragrance in a variety of forms such as eau de perfume, body care products and home fragrance diffusers
BN: What’s next for Memoire Liquide?
RCH: We are looking into opening new boutiques. But, right now we are focusing on the launch of Memoire Liquide Reserve Collection Spring 2008, and a ready- to- wear collection of Eau de Parfums.
Memoire Liquide Boutiques are located at Henri Bendel’s in NYC and at Studio at Fred Segal , Santa Monica.
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