Jewelry designer Akke Aimaq hand-selects authentic, antique rhinestones and other elements from private collections to create her one of a kind pieces. The story behind each particular material lends each object the aura of authenticity and uniqueness. Akke graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht and launched her brand AKKESOIR in 2004. Rihanna, Sienna Miller and Miley Cyrus are just some oft the big names on her list of clients. www.akkesoir.com
PORTRAITS: Holger Homann
SHOOTING LOCATION: Bar Babette, Berlin
1. THE BLIND TASTING
DEEPLY BY MARIALUX
We confronted Akke Aimaq with a mystery perfume in a neutral, opaque vaporizer. Only afterwards did we reveal the name of the scent. Follow Akke on her journey into scent …
A question of Trust!
This scent makes me think of the Tiergarten in Berlin on a very special day when I had just started living in the city: I was on the verge of growing up, becoming a woman. A forest where you can set out on a new path!
Back then, I had a shooting with the Berlin photographer Julia Grossi and my best girlfriend — and her dog, a beautiful Weimaraner. We were naked, and it was still almost wintertime: brilliant sunshine, a clear blue sky, but very cold. The shooting was a gift from Julia to both of us, because we’re such good friends. Concerning the nudity, the three of us had decided beforehand: either or! It was a question of trust.
At some point, a park employee showed up to rake some leaves. On that particular day, I think he was especially diligent in carrying out his work! So of course we moved on, found another spot.
I had another look at the pictures recently, beautiful black and white images!
Not the kind of photographs you frame and display in your apartment. They are just for us, and for Julia. Remaining for us are not just the images, but the memory of that morning as well.
For me, the move from Amsterdam to Berlin was part of the transition to adulthood: falling down and getting up again, doing a lot of projects — also self-doubt, whether it all makes sense. For me, this scent harmonizes very well with all of that, there is something serious about it.
Until my early twenties, it never crossed my mind that things sometimes go wrong, I just did whatever I was doing. These days, I also consider the time investment, and what I’m going to get out of it. I’m also a mother now!
For me, Berlin means freedom, there is more air here! In Amsterdam, each person has far less room. Here, there’s a lot of space, a lot of sky. Back then, Berlin meant lower rents, a lot of empty buildings were you can organize things, where no one comes along and hollers at you: “What are you doing there?” I felt the sense of challenge, and I tingled with anticipation. A lot happened, both in imagination and in reality.
Since then, of course, the city has changed a lot. Today, you have to look a bit harder to find that charm. But then I’ve changed too.
When you’re young, things are probably the same wherever you go, and young people who come to Berlin today experience it as an adventure too: first and foremost, you discover yourself, not the actual place.
2. THE INTERVIEW
“A fragrance, you could eat with a spoon!”
SCENTURY: What was your earliest memory related to scent?
Akke Aimaq: My elegant aunt Riet! I come from a rather casual family, we’re close to nature. But Riet sewed beautifully, made her own clothes, very haute couture, very ladylike, always with a hat. She wore Chanel No. 5, and I imagine she still wears it. When she came to visit, I would surreptitiously sniff her coat. She still makes her own outfits, sometimes they’re a bit quirky.
SC: Do you remember the first perfume you ever wore?
AA: Yes, it was Oilily, my mom gave it to me for Christmas when I was ten. Actually, I still like it. Somewhat later, I wore Loulou by Chacharel, but today, it’s kind of too much.
SC: Do you alternate between several different perfumes, or instead wear the same one all the time?
AA: I usually wear several, at the moment, I’m using Carnal Flower by Frédéric Malle. For me, it’s a winter scent. In summertime, I’ve worn Untitled by Maison Martin Margiela, among others. Last year, I fell in love with Coco Noir by Chanel, a woman I like a lot, whose style I really admire, was wearing it. So I bought it at the airport without even testing it on myself, I was so sure about it. And it was a good purchase!
SC: And is there a scent that has been with you for a long time already?
AA: I still love Molecule 01 by the Berlin perfumer Geza Schön, it’s right for both summer and wintertime. The effect is amazing: people are perplexed, and think: “What’s going on here?” You are barely aware of it yourself, but it leaves behind an intense scent aura. When I arrived in Berlin, I temped in a designer shop, and a woman came in one day wearing Molecule 01. The fragrance was something very special, I absolutely had to know what it was. And when I started to wear it myself in the shop, people constantly wanted to know what it was.
SC: For your designs, you use materials from different eras, which have their own histories. Are you also interested in vintage perfumes?
AA: Yes, very, especially in the flasks and packaging. Now and then, I see marvelous old bottles with pump atomizers at flea markets. Sometimes, they even contain a little bit of perfume, but I haven’t really concerned myself much about this aspect — for the most part, they haven’t been stored well, and the contents are no longer acceptable.
SC: Is perfume an accessory for you?
AA: Actually yes, I alternate, try to decide what I’m in the mood for, what goes with my outfit, or the occasion. But perfume is also strongly bound up with memories and with the imagination. When I smell Acqua di Gió, for example, I think of an Italian love affair I once had, the two are inseparable for me. That’s why I value the right perfume just as much as the right pair of shoes, or even a piece of jewelry that has a history, and evokes memories.
SC: If a master perfumer were to develop a signature scent especially for you, what kind of hints would you give him?
AA: I would look into the ingredients that perfumes contain, the ones I like, and then work together with him, trying things out, mixing them. There is one perfume I would definitely bring with me, Foxy Lady by Rich Hippie [laughs]. Sounds kind of wild, but it’s a wonderful scent from L.A., 100% natural, and very concentrated. The whole design is very flashy, neon pink and yellow. It’s rather expensive, unfortunately.
SC: What is the loveliest aroma for you?
AA: I was recently in Heiligendamm, where the forest extends almost down to the sea. It rained in the morning, everything was moist, the smell was intense, the aroma of the forest mixing with the salty breeze. Ah! That was a fragrance, you could eat it with a spoon! I myself grew up near forest, so that’s a very familiar odor.
SC: Thank you Akke!
ABOUT AKKE AIMAQ
Name: Akke Aimaq
ABOUT THE PERFUME
Perfume: Deeply by MariaLux
Perfumer: Alessandro Gualtieri
Discover more perfume blindtastings here on SCENTURY!