Olfactory Pleasures in New Orleans: Avery Fine Perfumery
Throughout its storied history, New Orleans has been known for its savoir-faire and joie de vivre. This, after all, is a town that celebrates life’s pleasures, whether it’s New Orleans cuisine or the music of JazzFest - or the sordid joys of Southern Decadence. People in New Orleans seem to know that there’s no time like the present to indulge yourself a little - or a lot.
Recently, Avery Fine Perfumery opened the doors of its first American outpost in New Orleans. The store, located at 527 St. Joseph Street in the Warehouse District, is an interactive perfumery and features an "aviary" theme, which it shares with Avery’s London and Modena, Italy stores.
Instead of presenting the bottles on shelves, in overly ornate packaging, the various fragrance lines at Avery Fine Perfumery are showcased on dressing tables and armoires. In this way, Avery’s clients are able to discover their scent with the help of attentive perfume specialists, as well as feathers.
Avery’s unique approach to fragrance, coupled with New Orleans’ creative spirit is what drew the brand to the historic city. "I believe the soul of Avery is very close to the soul of New Orleans," says Celso Fadelli, CEO of Intertrade Europe, parent company of Avery. "We believe in the ingredient of art in the creation of the perfume, and New Orleans is one of the most artistic cities in America."
Interior designer Lilian Dreissen designed the space to pay homage to the city of New Orleans and its deep architectural history. "Because of the flooding, there is a lot of salvage. I saved doors, locks, and some of the metal wear which is so recognizable," she said. "I incorporated the balconies into the shop as well. The spirit of the old town is still in here, attached to the perfumes."
Given our love for fragrance (and New Orleans), we decided to get in touch with Shannon Drake, of Intertrade Europe - and discover the basenotes in this new endeavor.
EDGE: Congratulations on the new store. We have to admit that we’re curious as to why you opened in New Orleans. Is there something about New Orleans, something about its history that makes it particularly compatible with fragrance and perfume?
SD: New Orleans is known for its sensory overload in terms of sight, sound, and taste, so it only made sense to make it complete with smell.
EDGE: That’s so true; so often you’re smelling something delicious in New Orleans. Did someone say beignets?
SD: Exactly. And because the city is alive with artists of all types... There are creative people all over this town - and so the art of perfumery is a perfect complement to the overall creative atmosphere.
EDGE: Each year in the fashion world, there’s often a particular trend that seems to influence the direction of the industry’s creativity. Do you see that in the fragrance world? In other words, are there fragrance trends?
SD: Absolutely! This past spring, there was a huge tribute to jasmine, and we found lots of artists interpreting how they believe a jasmine scent should be worn.
EDGE: Jasmine can be heavenly. I remember driving through Los Angeles at night...
SD: For fall, we are seeing the continued trend of ouds, but also a resurgence in patchouli-based fragrances. Patchoulis that are a little more... well, distinguished.
EDGE: I know what you mean. Not like the patchouli that people associate with the Sixties, right?
SD: Yes, it’s more layered. Their names say it all: Pardon by Nasomatto, Regal by Boadicea the Victorious, Mister Marvelous by Byredo.
EDGE: Those are delicious. Fragrance names can be so evocative. What do you think true fragrance connoisseurs are clamoring for these days?
SD: Anything they can’t define. Anything they can’t understand. Something that opens up and becomes different through the weardown.
EDGE: Fragrance is so much like life, isn’t it? I mean, what you said is the same thing we look for in a partner. Something that opens up and surprises us, that indefinable quality that connotes love.
SD: True fragrance connoisseurs want to be pleasantly surprised. And anything that doesn’t have a celebrity name in it.
EDGE: Oh, amen to that. We can only cross our fingers that trend has come to an end. If we never see another D-list celebrity fragrance, life will have improved.
SD: [laughing] I’m with you.