Who: Victoire de Taillac-Touhami, co-owner, with her husband Ramdane, of L’Officine Universelle Buly. After a career in fashion PR in Paris (looking after indie cult concept store Colette, among others) she and Ramdane reinvented the candle brand Cire Trudon, before moving on to rejuvenate L’Officine Universelle Buly, which opens in Selfridges this autumn 2017.
Today I’m wearing my favourite Buly fragrance, which is called Miel d’Angleterre, English Honey. What I like is that it’s quite discrete, the composition is honey, cedar and musk and for me it is very comforting and understated.
It’s a funny fragrance because it is one of the least popular scents in the company, very few customers seem to like it. However, I just spent a year in Tokyo working with the Japanese, who have a weird relationship to perfume, they don’t use a lot but it means they have a great nose. For example, they don’t like tuberose because for them it’s over the top, but when they smell Miel D’Angleterre they love it, so suddenly the least popular fragrance in France is popular in Tokyo. I love how perfume is so very contrasted.
I stopped wearing perfume when I had kids and stuck to colognes for a very long time. I loved the splash and the freshness of it. I started to wear fragrance again when we started Buly.
When I’m in the store with customers I’m always amazed by what they say about perfume. Perfume is a very material thing but with very strong emotional connections, they tell me what memories it reminds them of, why they wear it and so on. I always thought I had a sense of what perfume was about, but listening to customers makes it even more special to me
My kids say they have a lot of compliments that they smell nice, coming from a perfumer family I think that’s the least we could do.
Home it’s where we experiment, when we have a new candle, or when we have a new product we want to try, so we are very careful about not over-scenting our surroundings, for example the smell of cleaning products is a nightmare. What I like are the cosy smells of cooking, it’s a home so that’s what it should smell like.
I apply my fragrance in the morning and at night, usually just before I go out of the house. It’s probably the last thing I do before leaving. I wear it on my hair, and it signals to me that I’m dressed.
It’s very sensual to wear it on your hair and it lasts a long time too. Because Buly fragrances are water based, there’s no alcohol in them, so it doesn’t dry the hair out, in fact it’s slightly moisturising.
The Paris Subway has a very special smell, one I recognize straight away. I don’t say I like it, but I know immediately where I am.