When Francois Duquesne tells you that you smell great, you better listen up. Duquesne is the CEO of Beauty Entreprise, a fragrance house with a creative approach to perfume. The company’s most recent project—it launched yesterday!—Fragrance Republ!c, is a club for the scent-obsessed, with monthly deliveries of original fragrances created by master perfumers. Duquesne began his career in retail and fashion, and says that he entered the world of fragrance entirely by accident. “When you have a fragrance you love,” Duquesne says, “you are transformed.”
If you were to imagine a fragrance republic, what would it look like, and what would it be like to live there?
All the people in the republic look great and smell good, so you want to jump on them. Everyone is likeable, irresistible. It’s a place where people are happy because there is one little moment in their day, when they’re in the bathroom and they spray on their favorite perfume, when they feel complete joy. The reason why I wake up in the morning and do my job is to share that moment of joy with my clients. People write music, and you listen to music on the radio and it makes you happy. I produce perfumes. The fragrance republic is where that little moment turns into a complete journey.
What are your three favorite notes in a fragrance?
They are very personal. There’s no standard for it. [Fragrance is] related to emotional connections and memory. Since I grew up in the south of France, in Grasse, a place where perfumes are produced, my favorite notes are related to that childhood, which was very happy. I like the woody notes of cypress and pine. I like incense, the resin that comes out of the bark of the tree. The third note I like the most is citrus, the very fresh notes that come from citrus extracts, like when you press an orange, or a lime, or a bergamot. For me, if you have a fragrance you love, it means you’re at peace with your past. That’s why people have very emotional reactions to fragrance—it can really trigger a bad memory. When you have found your scent, you’re at peace with your past, and you shine.