The international general director of fragrances for Cartier Parfums has worked with the brilliant Mathilde Laurent, Cartier’s in-house perfumer, to develop some of the maison’s most iconic scents, such as Les Heures de Parfum and L’Envol de Cartier, which was unveiled in Dubai in September. Her decades of experience, including 12 years at Beauté Prestige International, and marketing/strategy background make the style-conscious Frenchwoman a driving force in the luxury-fragrance arena.
If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you be?
There are two different places. If I was looking for a quiet place, I would wake up on my beloved island of Syrus in Greece. We have had a family home there for years. If it were a city, it would be Venice. Because of the Italian taste for everything, and the beauty of it.
You are sitting down to the perfect meal. Where are you and whom are you with?
I’m in Paris at Caviar Kaspia, Place de la Madeleine, with a lover.
What was your first-ever luxury purchase?
It was an Azzedine Alaïa dress, for my 18th birthday. It was very simple, but amazing. Black and glamorous.
How would you describe your personal style?
Very feminine. I never wear trousers; always high heels. I have a motto: Jamais en pantalone; jamais a plat (never trousers; never flats).
What are you favourite places to shop?
Paris. I have my little addresses that I can’t share.
Do you like smaller, independent brands or the bigger, better-known ones?
I think we all need to mix – having a total look is never elegant. But I do have a little preference for the Italian brands.
What is your signature fragrance?
Within Cartier, my signature fragrance is L’Heure Brillante, within our Les Heures de Parfum collection. It’s great to start the day feeling good and vibrant. I love it. But most of the time, I’m wearing our “next one”, two years in advance.
What is your definition of a great fragrance?
A great fragrance is the one that provokes an emotional jolt. It resonates inside of you. Fragrance has a lot to do with who you really are, your memories and your personality. When you smell a fragrance, it goes straight to the emotional part of your brain, never the rational part. If you ask me what I’m wearing, or if a taxi driver in Paris tells me I smell good, it makes my day. I really believe in the feedback of the street. In my day-to-day work, that’s the most important thing.
What sets L’envol de Cartier, your latest fragrance for men, apart?
This time, we are coming with our vision of elegance, as we are totally convinced that the world of masculine perfumery is lacking in elegance. There are beautiful things out there, of course, very fresh, very easy, very sporty, but for the elegant man, we thought we could bring something that is very Cartier, and very unexpected.
Are you a collector?
No, not at all. I like to move. I can love things for a certain period of time, but I am not attached to objects. I prefer memories.
What are your top three travel essentials?
Super headphones; I have a cashmere shahtoosh, with socks and a mask, so I’m never cold on the plane; and of course, a fantastic book, such as The Count of Monte Cristo, which I am reading now.
Do you have a favourite book?
Always the one I am reading. But there is one that I always look back on, by a French philosopher called Alain, and the title is Propos sur le Bonheur.
What is your definition of luxury?
What you cannot afford.
What is the most overrated luxury, in your opinion?
I think everybody has their own definition of luxury. It’s very personal.
Read this and more stories in Luxury magazine, out with The National on Thursday, December 8.