Who Nathalie Vinciguerra, creator of fragrances and founder of Anima Vinci. After decades in the beauty industry working for L’Oreal, Penhaligons and L’Artisan Parfumeur to name a few, Nathalie has used her extensive fragrance knowledge and strong belief in the wellbeing power of botanicals to create Anima Vinci, a brand that offers more than just good scent. The exquisite fragrance and candle collection aims to make you feel good using nature as a healer, together with a good dose of Nathalie’s Corsican heritage.
Today I’d usually be wearing the new fragrance I am developing, I try it on myself to see how it smells, just to assess how the sillage is shaping up, what I can improve. I need to experience the different facets and how it evolves on the skin, so I spend the whole day with my little sample, assessing if I’m getting exactly what I want to say.
I’ve just finished testing my new launch, Sesame Chān, which I worked on with the perfumer Sophie Labbé, from I.F.F (International Flavour and Fragrance). The idea was to create a ‘feel good’ potion, one that made you feel very relaxed. Thanks to the vetiver, which is amazing and the sesame, which has incredible power – it’s often called the oil of tranquility in Ayurvedic practises, it both relaxes you and makes you feel good. We tried to create a feeling of salty addiction with sesame seeds contrasted with cold spices using woody, spicy and salty notes.
All our Anima Vinci fragrances have energising top notes, so for Sesame Chān we played with ginger, a cashew and hazelnut accord and pink peppercorn. Then in the heart notes we added roasted sesame and this amazing quality of Haitian vetiver.
When we work on a new fragrance, the first thing we talk about is ‘what is the key sustainable ingredient?’. It’s very important if we’re talking about feel good potions, we need to have the planet in mind too. I am totally convinced consumers care about this, people want to feel good and support sustainable practise.
Here the Haiti vetiver is sustainably harvested by I.F.F, who run a traceable supply chain and are excellent at ensuring and supporting sustainable practise.
The design of the bottle is also about wellbeing, I wanted to know what would be the shape of wellbeing in a bottle? Which one would be appropriate to show this idea of wellbeing? I wanted something that expressed feel-good in the hand, so we worked on a bespoke pebble shape with designer Federico Restrepo and the green colour packaging, which reflects the abyss blue of the Corsican sea, was created by Pierre Dinand. We also used an amazing quality of French glass.
You’re going to laugh at me here but in my home, I want candles to burn with no scent! When I’m home I like to be quiet in terms of fragrance. I don’t want to be confused if I’m thinking about a new scent. I’m incredibly sensitive to every smell.
However, when things get too overwhelming, I’ll light my Corsican Soul candle and fly straight home to Corsica in my head. The Anima Vinci candles are made to be comfort zones, there’s Made For Meditation, which I practise a lot, Corsican Soul is my roots, the smell of the sea and amazing Corsican sea salt, and Bliss In Bali is uplifting.
Corsica is a very aromatic island and from when I was very young I was exposed to the incredible power of these plants, I realised how energised I am when I’m in Corsica, I’m not the only one, when Napoleon talked about being in Corsica he said he always recognised the island from 15 miles out at sea because the smell is so strong.
I’ve always been fascinated by the power of scent on the mind, when I was at L’Oreal I specialised in aromachology. I’m absolutely convinced theres a lot to say about wellbeing and scent. I’m living it every day, I think we can capture the power and essence of nature.
The part of my job I really love is sourcing the flowers. Every year we have a little routine in Grasse, in the South of France, with the fragrance house Art & Parfum, where we help with the centifolia rose harvest because its so important to us that we go back to the roots, to the plants. When you’re there you get such a feeling from the roses, its a gift. That’s what we try and capture in the brand. We’re called Anima Vinci, which means the power of the soul, the power of the flower. That’s what we try and work with.
There’s a smell I really love, cistus, which grows on Corsica. There’s something sticky and so addictive about its slightly sweet and incredible smell. It takes me back to my roots – the energy of the land and the sea, it’s so important to me.
Many thanks to Les Senteurs in Elizabeth Street London for lending us their wonderful floral window as a backdrop.
Images by Chloe Winstanley