Wallpaper's 2012 Handmade issue - showcasing one-off collaborations between master designers, craftsmen and manufacturers - may have just hit the shelves but last year's edition is still bearing fruit. The Paper Passion perfume conceived for Handmade 2011, which bottles the seductive scent of a freshly printed books, is now available to buy.
The perfume was inspired by a throwaway line by German publisher Gerhard Steidl in the film How to Make a Book with Steidl, which suggested his favourite scent was a 'freshly printed book'. We asked him to work with avant-garde perfumer Geza Schoen to try and bottle that scent. Into the mix came Steidl's friend and long-time collaborator Karl Lagerfeld, who designed the packaging and chose the name Paper Passion.
Schoen worked on capturing the scent and sourcing the necessary ingredients. 'It was hard,' he says. 'The smell of printed paper is dry and fatty; they are not notes you often work with.' He eventually managed to create the perfume with just four or five ingredients, including ethyl linoleate and a selection of woody components to add dryness. Most perfumes contain between 20 and 100 ingredients, but Schoen stuck to his vision of simplicity.
Meanwhile, Steidl turned to Lagerfeld for advice on a packaging concept. Lagerfeld instantly visualised a real book with pages and a hidden cut-out compartment to house the perfume bottle in the middle. In the front of the book are short essays on the subject of paper by Lagerfeld, Schoen, German author and artist Günter Grass, and Wallpaper* Editor-in-Chief Tony Chambers. 'Beautiful paper is for me the top of luxury,' writes Lagerfeld. 'I am a paper freak. It's a physical passion. I cannot live without paper. Touching perfect paper has something sensuous about it.'
The end result is now on sale online and in selected concept stores, bookshops and perfumeries across the world.
Schoen is the iconoclastic perfumer behind Escentric Molecules, whose career took off like a rocket when he isolated and identified Iso E, the first molecular scent to grab the fashion world's olfactory attention. He has gone on to specialise in conceptual scents. His is the nose behind Wode by Boudicca, Diesel and Intelligence & Fantasy in The Beautiful Mind series.
Lagerfeld, Steidl, Druckerei Verlag
LSD is the imprint of German publishing house Steidl and Karl Lagerfeld. The latter's passions (fashion, art, music) drive the programming and content, while Steidl brings his publishing prowess to the mix. A publisher of high-end art and photography books, Steidl consistently combines a disregard for production costs with a fierce attention to detail, technical innovation and quality control.