Hitting All the Right Notes

February 17, 2021

“It’s easy to make a nice smell,” says culture journalist Eddie Bulliqi in Nose, the new movie about Dior fragrance. What’s hard is to make a scent that’s beautiful, evocative, timely and timeless. Nose takes us inside that world of perfume composition, following the brand’s legendary perfumer François Demachy as he travels the world in search of ingredients from Indonesian patchouli fields and Italian lemon groves.

Along the way, Demachy reveals his approach to creating a perfume—a type of unstable equilibrium between the artisan and the technical. A constant motif is the idea of music and musical language as an analogy for creating fragrance. The notes—rose or patchouli—build to larger ideas and different motifs bring to mind different associations. The proportions and concentrations of notes affect the emotional resonance and the way the different notes reveal themselves over time.

Unlike other films about people in the fashion and beauty industry—The September Issue, say—this movie isn’t attached to the idea of the lone genius. Demachy is keen to spotlight the other people who help to create his famous fragrances, which include new interpretations of classics like J’Adore and Miss Dior, plus the extravagant Maison Christian Dior series. On Demachy’s travels, we meet the people who grow, cultivate and harvest the ingredients, and begin to understand his respect for place, provenance and terroir.

The 70-minute movie took two years to make and was shot by filmmakers Clement Clément Beauvais and Arthur De Kersauson in 14 countries. It is a fascinating insight into this secretive world of art, science and craft, and the mind of one of its greatest masters. Pre-order on Apple TV here, and on iTunes here. —Aileen Lalor


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