Jeweler and designer Ele Miško works with various metals including silver, gold, copper, brass, titanium and aluminum, teaming them predominantly with opals, the signaure stone of her home country, Australia. Ele has vivid childhood memories oft the intense scents oft the Australian flora and fauna. www.elemisko.co
PORTRAITS: Volker Eichenhofer
1. THE BLIND TASTING
Anima Dulcis BY Arquiste
We confronted Ele Miško with a mystery perfume in a neutral, opaque vaporizer. Only afterwards did we reveal the name of the scent. Follow Ele on her journey into scent …
“The Baking Beauty.”
I can smell chocolate. It reminds me of the chocolate factory in Switzerland we went to when I was a kid. I was about ten years old and we were on family holidays in Europe. The smell was intense and there was a whole room full of chocolates where we could eat as much as we wanted. It was a childhood dream come true!
There is also something woody about this perfume. I grew up on a property in the countryside of South Gippsland, Victoria which is right in the South of Australia and it reminds me of the eucalyptus, pine, and gum trees and the plants that were surrounding our house. We had our own small fruit orchard and vegetable garden, where we grew everything ourselves apart from the European foods my father used to bring from the city. He loved to experiment and produce all sorts of food himself, though I don’t think he ever made chocolate.
This is a perfume someone very elegant and charming would wear. An independent woman in her late thirties. It’s a city perfume. She might be a successful interior designer or an architect with her own studio. Her passion is to bake the most wonderful cakes and cookies. She has a really beautiful kitchen with copper pots and an old but nice gas stove. She wears just a simple navy blue T-shirt dress. No apron, as she isn’t phased with getting dirty.
At work she also wears simple- chic clothing. She has a busy lifestyle but she loves baking as a pastime: burned caramel cakes, luscious coconut cream cake, rich chocolate brownies from old family recipes and experimental new recipes. The kitchen opens to the living room and I can picture all these grand and beautiful baked goods displayed there on her kitchen table. The aroma is wafting through the apartment, floating through the big windows that open to the street. It’s summertime. The people in the street are pleasured by the fragrance but can’t figure out where it’s coming from.
She’s doing this for the sheer pleasure and not for anyone in particular. When she has finished baking, she gives the cakes away to friends, neighbors and family. She is a happy content woman.
2. THE INTERVIEW
“My earliest scent memory is the smell of Chinatown.”
SCENTURY: What is your earliest scent memory?
Ele Miško: We lived in Chinatown right in the center of Melbourne. My dad was a hairdresser. He had his salon downstairs and we lived in an apartment upstairs. So the earliest scents that I can think of are the smells of the Chinese and Asian food, the cooking, the restaurants and supermarkets: fresh herbs, sauces, steams and smoke, glazed chickens and ducks … that mixed with my dad’s salon, the fresh, yet chemical smells of the colors, sprays, shampoos and conditioners.
SC: Who was the cook at home?
EM: Mainly my dad, he was confident and creative in the kitchen. He used to watch the Asian chefs in Chinatown to learn from them, so we ate lots of Asian cuisine. We’d never really wanted to know what my dad was doing in the kitchen though. For example he would kill a snake on the property, cook it up and tell everyone it was chicken and then only surprise everyone afterwards.
SC: So there was a countryside property besides the city home?
EM: We moved to the country when I was three, but still had the city home. It was like the childrens story of Old Mc Donald’s farm with ducks, geese, sheep, chickens, cows … Then my dad would bring home all these exotic birds like peacocks, guinea fowls, silkies and we had a dog, cat, wild rabbits and foxes and even a pony for a while …
On one side of the farm you could see the ocean and the other was one of the biggest waterfalls in Australia. When you walked over a little hill, then you could hear the sound of the falling water. It had cascading rocks and during summer we spend a lot of time in the water pools on top.
SC: Do you remember what these water pools smelled like?
EM: Fresh and green because it was surrounded rainforest type ferns and plants, which radiated this scent when sprayed wet by the falls.
SC: You also lived in Paris. Did it smell different from Melbourne?
EM: In Melbourne you can really smell the eucalyptus trees and Australia in general has these stark different odors from the unique flora and fauna. In Paris you are constantly bombarded with a melange of smells. You have the fragrance from a wonderful boulangerie and then the stench of urine right next to it. I lived in Chateau Rouge, the African area. There you have smells of their cooking and their food. It’s super nice!
SC: Did your parents use perfume?
EM: My father wore Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein and my mother Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. She also used this powder by Estée Lauder, Youth Dew, I think.
SC: What was the first perfume that you used?
EM: A really cheesy girly one when I was about 10. I think it was Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger.
SC: What is your favorite perfume today?
EM: I change my perfume quite often, usually after the second bottle. I feel like I am ever evolving so I always want to have something new. And the nice thing is also that whenever I smell a perfume I once wore it evokes memories of this particular time in my life. So at the moment I am looking for my next scent!
SC: If a perfumer would do a signature scent for you what would be your brief?
EM: I think it would incorporate all of my favorite things scent/taste wise. I picture myself on an imaginary island surrounded by flowers, chocolate, good food, the ocean and a tropical rainforest.
SC: Actually you would keep him busy because he would have to create a new scent every two bottles.
EM: Yes, he would have to be my personal lifetime perfumer. That would be fantastic! We could create scents according to moments in my life and afterwards view the evolution and growth through the scents and events. I could always spark memories of these completely tailored scents to me. Like a scent catalogue of my life …
SC: Thank you, Ele!
ABOUT ELE MIŠKO
Name: Ele Miško
Occupation: Jewelry Designer
ABOUT THE PERFUME
Perfume: Anima Dulcis by Arquiste
Perfumer: Rodrigo Flores-Roux, Yann Vasnier