Behind every perfume there’s a story, and the same is true about every perfume brand. In the case of the premium niche brand Élisire, the founder’s journey to fragrance starts with a life-altering moment on a plane to Jakarta many years ago, and leads from France to Indonesia, from the world of high fashion in Paris to the art world of New York City.
Find out more about the man behind this colourful brand that works with top noses like Alberto Morillas and Pierre Negrin!
Élisire-founder Franck Salzwedel. Image: courtesy Élisire.
A journey into scent …
Franck Salzwedel’s road to perfume.
The scents and vibes of Indonesia.
Born to German parents, Salzwedel grew up in the French countryside with lots of space and opportunity to connect with nature while pursuing his artistic interests in music, painting and drawing.
At the age of ten, his family moved to Indonesia, and it was during the air journey to their new home that Salzwedel had his first encounter with the power of perfume. After boarding, scented sachets were distributed to each passenger, and even today he remembers the impact when everybody opened it and the fragrance filled the cabin: “crisp and herbal, spreading like the speed of light and filled with the promise of our destination.” This promise came true, and the new life abroad didn’t disappoint. In particular, Bali with its colorful culture and lush nature that speaks to all senses, became a source of inspiration.
The world of high fashion and the big apple.
After six years in Asia, Salzwedel returned to France to finish school and eventually study at the renowned French Fashion Institute in Paris, where he had the opportunity to meet some of the leading figures in the fashion world. He discovered that within the universe of fashion, scent presents the unique challenge and opportunity to distill a designer’s complete concept into a small perfume bottle. In the following years, he worked for Giorgio Armani, Viktor & Rolf and others and was involved in the development of such milestone creations as Acqua di Gío and Flower Bomb. He quickly became a sought-after expert in the field of fragrance development.
Franck Salzwedel had never stopped painting since he was a child. Along with his demanding career, he also found time to paint in a little village in Provence, being inspired by the hues of the region. He remembers this time as a turning point in his life. Moved by the infinite fields of lavender and the brilliant blue skies, he turned to color field painting, concentrating on color itself and its psychological impact on the viewer.
An invitation by an art gallery brought him to New York, and it was there that he had the inspiration to create Élisire, a deeply personal new endeavor that combines his knowledge of perfumery with his artistic preoccupation with colors.
From bright yellow to pale nude. Image: courtesy Èlisire.
Do your own thing!
Back in France, Salzwedel assembled a group of elite creatives and professionals to realize this idea. Together with art director Malin Ericson, who worked for brands like Guerlain and Prada, he developed Élisire’s distinctive CI and packaging, informed by his love for color and simplicity. How would Salzwedel sum up the concept behind the brand? “With Élisire, I wanted to tell the story of my love for fragrance and painting, driven by my fascination for nature. But most of all, the miracle of colors, and their impact on the sensorial and emotional spectrum. Color has transcending power, that acts on the body and the soul. It relates to emotions in a direct manner. I envisioned Élisire perfumes like gradually colored auroras, particular moments where everything feels suspended, inviting contemplation and new promises.”
Eventually, with Alberto Morillas, Pierre Negrin, Philippine Courtìere and Ilias Ermenidis, Salzwedel managed to bring on board some of the most accomplished perfumers in the industry to create the juice.
“Color has transcending power,
that acts on the body and the soul.”
The scents & colors of Élisire.
The company offers a total of nine extrait de parfums, four of which are available in either the more understated 30ml flacon or the extremely exquisite 50ml bottle with a facetted crystal glass cap. These mixtures give contemporary, extremely refined takes on classic olfactory themes and genres. Every sniff reveals the extraordinary quality of the materials and craftsmanship. The two that stood out to us the most were Poudre Désir, a sensual powdery-floral beauty by the doyen Alberto Morillas, housed in a delicate pink packaging, and Eau Papaguéna, boxed in bright yellow, a refreshing aromatic green take on the Eau de Cologne by Pierre Negrin.
Poudre Désir, created by Alberto Morillas. Image: courtesy Èlisire.
Five 30ml metal-coated shiny bottles with powerful, intricate, and more experimental formulas are included in the second series. The brand’s latest offering, Extrait Noir, a leathery, wood and spice fragrance, is simply magnetic. Over a base of wood, vanilla, and animalic (not unclean!) notes, aromatic medicinal tones like eucalyptus and camphor float. Despite the abundance of natural elements, Extrait Noire has a highly contemporary and almost technical abstraction. A high performer for adults, in stark contrast to many of those sillage beasts that have recently gained popularity among younger crowds.
All that glitters … Image: courtesy of Élisire.
Color is key!
The high quality of ingredients, the thought-through concepts behind each scent and, last but not least, the exquisite skill of the noses involved make Elisire a brand to reckon with. On first sight to find the more serene and classically informed scents on the one hand, and the darker, more challenging creations on the other hand united in the same brand portfolio, comes as a surprise. On closer inspection, this seems like a fairly holistic approach that suits those who are not searching for a single, self-defining signature scent in their lives but who instead have a more playful approach to perfume. After all, the opportunities for fragrance are countless: day and night, summer and winter, work and play. As many occasions as there are colors, one might say. Which brings us back to Franck Salzwedel’s initial vision for Elisire, to unite the abundant variety of color with the highly emotional impact of perfume. Mission accomplished!
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