Prada revealed its first 'infusion' fragrance in 2007, with a single, special-edition iris scent that was meant to live a short, glamorous life. But the gossamer floral fragrance proved so popular that the company has now launched a whole range entitled 'Les Infusions de Prada', to live permanently within its growing family of perfumes.
'They are very light and airy and yet quite sensual and present,' remarks Daniela Andrier, the Paris-based nose for Prada Parfums, who invented the infusion concept as a lighter progeny of pre-existing Prada scents. 'So it's not like this big thing that makes you want to change your chair in the cinema.'
As with most of the fruits that spring from the house's creative playground, the infusions do not obey the conventions associated with most fragrances. Even the title is misleading. 'It's not something scientific,' says Andrier. 'It's just an idea. A fantasy of infusion.'
To create the range's six permanent scents, Andrier starts with a standard base – an esprit de infusions – and then adds the key ingredients associated with iris cedar, orange flower, almond, carnation and vetiver scents. 'It is more like a water-colour rather than a heavy oil painting,' she explains of the chiffony effect. 'That's the spirit of it.'
The oversized, weighty glass bottle has a vintage feel and is rendered in six different light pastel colours. In addition, Prada also collaborated with photographer and video artist Marcel Christ on a six day photo shoot of rare, exotic blooms, shot underwater to create a fantasy-tinged interpretation of a floral infusion.
'My goal was to visually recreate the infusion process,' said Christ, who imported plants from Argentina for the meticulously-composed shoot. Though the actual fragrance production process is somewhat less chimerical, Christ's images are visually compelling, his high speed photography capturing oxygen and liquid nitrogen bubbles intermixing with delicate, brightly hued flowers in glass tanks. 'The idea,' he explains, 'was to capture things you can't normally see with the naked eye.'
For the launch, a new dimension was added to a series of Christ's visuals by the layering work of artist Lok Jansen, an established Prada collaborator. Jansen's techniques include painting, cutting, submerging, collage and adding tinted or coloured films to original pictures, transforming them into original works of art.