Live your love story: interview with Olivia Bransbourg, the creative director of Sous le Manteau perfumes
I’ve been thinking at some dark heavy scents when I first found out about Sous Le Manteau line. After all, “under the cloak” is, usually, for “clandestinely” or “in disguise”. My biggest surprise was to see the five perfumes of the line as they really are: some love stories. With passion & love, with spice & warmth, with freshness &cold.
I talked with Olivia Bransbourg about the perfumes as some love stories, about the special ingredients and what do we need to understand a special fragrance. Oh, well, I also found out what my favourite fragrance from this line is telling about me. 🙂
Olivia Bransbourg’ story started with a magazine ICONOfly and continued with a perfume that whispered “Attache-Moi” (Tie me up). When Olivia Bransbourg discovered a book of French love potions in a Parisian flea market, she was fascinated by the centuries-old recipes, that promised to cure everything from boils and blisters to a broken heart. With the help of perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer, they were creatively reincarnated as the exciting niche perfumery house, Sous le Manteau (2016).
Sous le Manteau has the origin of creation into ancient aphrodisiac ingredients and recipes. But they are talking mostly about desire, right?
We are talking of desire with a contemporary touch. Our recipes date back to centuries ago, this is what I found so fascinating. Tracking back the origins of these love potions back into the middle ages until they were consigned early 19th century in officinal books. When I found the first book in a flea market, I purchased it and sent pictures of it to the master perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer. It was very important for me that she should reproduce them faithfully before modernizing them for the lovers of the 21st century.
How would a true love recipes would look like in your opinion?
A mix of aphrodisiac ingredients with hints of literature or art to convey this further…
Which 3 first ingredients would you choose?
Ambergris, ginger, vanilla.What could a choice of one of the 5 fragrance from SLM line could say about the people that wear it? If I loved Poudre Impériale, for example? 🙂
We came up with a test based on the qualities (hot and cold) of each ingredients. Our perfumer has correlated each reply with ingredients that balance our love potions in order to create the perfect formula for you. If you like to seduce, and are dominant, depending on the spices you prefer, you are most likely to be matched with Essence du Sérail or Vapeurs Diablotines. If you are more emotional and submissive, you will probably be Fontaine Royale. With Poudre Impériale (actually my favorite one with Vapeurs Diablotines) we are talking of a very complex personality, both spiritual in a way and naughty. Do you really want your readers to know more about you? 😉
Why are you so much fascinated with history?
History tend to repeat itself, for the worse and the better. In a way, it comforts me to refer to it, it’s a bit like a omnipresent spine, I like to study lineage, most especially in the arts, acknowledge resurgence and currents of thoughts.
What was your first love story with a perfume? And which one was it?
I was quite young when I started playing with samples given by my grand mother, maybe 5 years old. I still recall the endless hours trying to memorize and classify them even though I could not associate words with them, only emotions. I collected them like some do it with toys or stamps. They were my possessions. Then, when I was 13, I did my first purchase. It was Loulou by Cacharel. For the beauty of the flask and for its scent. The ad campaign shot by Sarah Moon was exceptional.
What do we need to understand a special fragrance (a niche one)?
Curiosity. The wish to discover something that is far from the beaten tracks.
Why did you choose Nathalie Feisthauer to be the nose for this line, Sous le Manteau?
I met Nathalie in 2006. I had always wanted to work with her, it was just a matter of time, coming up with the perfect project. A mission which would use both her appetite for recipes (she is a fantastic cook) but also her creativity and talent to create masterpieces.
How did you come to go from press to the perfume industry? Tell me which were the most important 3 moments for you along the journey.
As shared above, perfume have always been part of my journey but if there are 3 moments. First, 2006: the creation of the print magazine iconofly (digital archive can be found here www.iconofly.fr) and carte blanche given to Jean-Claude Ellena (he was the nose of Hermès back then). He wrote a story for my magazine inspired by the smell of a bag.
2009: the creation of the first fragrance of ATTACHE MOI in collaboration with perfumers Christine Nagel and Benoist Lapouza, launched the same year at Bon Marché and a year later at Barneys New York. For its first edition, I invited the legendary sculptor Serge Mansau to create a flask like a bracelet. Attache moi means tie me up. (https://attachemoi.fr/storyall)
2016: an art even all night long in Paris ‘La Nuit Blanche’ where I was able to test the collection of sous le manteau with hundreds of Parisians. We were there to repair broken hearts, completely undercover … it was a mesmerizing night.
What is next?
The launch next month of our 6th unisex perfume. I am thrilled …
- The famous painting (classic or modern) you associate with Essence du Sérail is… La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Dominique Ingres.
- The sculpture that goes well with Cuir d’Orient is… Newborn by Brancusi.
- The city in which you would wear better Poudre Impériale is… Paris near Notre Dame or along the Seine river, on a cold day or a torrid night.
- The iconic classic book that describes Vapeurs Diablotines is… “Les diaboliques” by Barbey d’Aurevilly or “Les nouvelles fantastiques” de Théophile Gauthier. The iconic classic movie that describes Vapeurs Diablotines is… “Dangerous liaisons” by Stephen Frears
- The sweet treat that goes well with Fontaine Royale is… a piece of chocolate in your mouth…
Photography: www.dreamingof.net, Kanak Guo