Fashion designer Mary Katrantzou worked with perfumer Shyamala Mainsondieu to create fragrance No. 2 ‘Trompe L’Oeil’ for Six Scents. Here she tells us how it came to fruition.

How did you become involved in the Six Scents project?

I was invited to take part by Joseph Quartana, who approached me when I was showing my AW10 collection in New York last March. I already knew about the project and as soon as I heard about the cause they are supporting this season and that I would be working with Givaudan to develop the scent, I immediately accepted the offer.


What was the creative process like?

I was given a ‘soul searching’ questionnaire that I had to complete about my memories as a teenager, my experiences, my likes and dislikes. It was a great way to reflect on the vision I had about what type of perfume I wanted to create and how that relates back to my work. The answers were sent to the perfumers and Shyamala Maisondieu picked me to collaborate with on the perfume. It was great to visit her in Paris and work on the scent together. I really liked her view on my questionnaire and I love mimosa as a flower, so we were on the right track!


How was this different from your usual creative approach?

Contrary to how I develop each season, which is usually thematic, I had to think mostly about longevity this time, and developed the fragrance in relation to my work and the woman who wears my clothes. I also had to consider the depth of my references. Hopefully it makes a statement that is in keeping with my collections. The most interesting part was the actual collaboration with the perfumer.


What were the challenges in sharing creative control with someone else?

I loved working with Shyamala and the guys from Six Scents. I felt I could trust her and even though I’m a control freak, she really got me. I really liked that she brought a sensual undertone to the perfume. She made it mature.


What element of your childhood/youth inspired this fragrance?

There were so many - mostly the smells I remember: burnt matches, lipstick, cake baking, freshly shampooed hair, petrol and cut grass. Also an image I had in my mind of being on a cinema on a rooftop in Greece, in summer. A sense of carelessness and freedom.


How does the fragrance you’ve created reflect you/your style?

It’s designed for an intelligent woman with a strong presence and maturity. It’s bold but sensual and I think it’s perfectly in sync with my design aesthetic.