Dries Van Noten on designing Mystic Moss, a salty fragrance for spring

Dries Van Noten speaks exclusively with Wallpaper* about the creative process behind Mystic Moss, the latest fragrance from his eponymous brand

Dries Van Noten
(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

Dries Van Noten’s beauty and fragrance line debuted in 2022. Since then, the brand has unlocked several ‘strange’ and ‘impossible combinations’ in make-up and perfume via unusual colour palettes (found in products such as violet-hued and grey-toned matte lipsticks which recently came to life on models in the Dries Van Noten A/W 2024 show) and scent profiles in Cannabis Patchouli, conceived by Van Noten and nose Nicolas Bonneville.

‘In Dries’ world, antagonistic elements are combined to create surprise. [Cannabis Patchouli] is like a light and dark olfactive pattern of fresh green leaves of clary sage aromatics rubbing against the woody leaves of patchouli,’ Bonneville says.

Dries Van Noten Mystic Moss perfume bottles

Mystic Moss by Dries Van Noten

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

Dries Van Noten’s Mystic Moss fragrance captures the essence of spring

It was Cannabis Patchouli that sparked Dries Van Noten’s imagination for his latest spring scent, Mystic Moss. An obsessive gardener, the Belgian designer lives in a neoclassical house on a 55-acre park in the countryside just outside of Antwerp, his sprawling garden of hundreds of species of plants and flowers often forming the inspiration behind his collections.

‘The idea for this new fragrance, Mystic Moss, stemmed from my love for Cannabis Patchouli, a personal favourite, which started with Nicolas’ generous gift of a patchouli plant for my garden in 2022,’ the designer tells Wallpaper*. ‘I expressed my interest in creating a fresher version of it. Given my deep appreciation for botanicals and nature, exploring a fresher interpretation of the original scent felt natural.’

Dries Van Noten Mystic Moss perfume bottles and Cannabis Patchouli hand cream

Mystic Moss by Dries Van Noten

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

‘To me, spring holds a special place as my favourite season,’ Van Noten continues. ‘It signifies the arrival of early blooming flowers, including roses, the emergence of buds, and fresh growth breaking through the cold, barren ground. Spring embodies the essence of rebirth and awakening.’

This sentiment is captured in Mystic Moss, which forms an olfactory triptych with two other citrussy Eau de Toilettes in the Dries Van Noten beauty range: the floral Orange Smoke, which combines orange blossom with incense, and the amber Sur Ma Peau, with notes of bergamot and mandarin. Mystic Moss can also be identified by the freshness of mandarin. However, this time the aroma is much more savoury, with clary sage, oakmoss, and fleur de sel (an ingredient used in perfumery derived from the crust of salt on the surface of seawater as it evaporates).

Dries Van Noten Mystic Moss perfume bottle

Mystic Moss by Dries Van Noten

(Image credit: Courtesy of Dries Van Noten)

As with all Dries Van Noten perfume bottles, Mystic Moss reflects ‘the sensory journey of the scent itself’. ‘They reflect the duplicity of each fragrance,’ says Van Noten. ‘In the case of Mystic Moss, the transition from the clarity and crispness of green notes to the deep richness of earthy tones inspired the colour scheme for the bottle.

‘I approach perfumery with a similar mindset as fashion,’ the designer concludes. ‘The input from the noses is extremely interesting and very educational. I call it a creative ping-pong, where ideas flow freely, dreams are shared, and even the wildest concepts are entertained with curiosity and enthusiasm. It’s been an incredibly enriching journey.’

Mystic Moss by Dries Van Noten, £190, is available exclusively at Selfridges

Beauty & Grooming Editor at Wallpaper*

Hannah Tindle is Beauty & Grooming Editor at Wallpaper*. With ten years of experience working for media titles and brands across the luxury and culture sectors, she brings a breadth of knowledge to the magazine’s beauty vertical, which closely intersects with fashion, art, design, and technology.