Page 41 - Sharp September 2021
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 The Future of Fragrance
With PHANTOM — Paco Rabanne’s new men’s fragrance — traditional craftsmanship meets A.I. technology. Welcome to Perfumery 2.0
FROM ITS SPACE-AGE AESTHETIC IN THE ’60S TO THE chain mail pieces that have become a house signature, Paco Ra- banne has always had an eye toward the future. And with PHANTOM,
the Parisian fashion house’s new fragrance for men, the future is not a runway fantasy — it’s a reality. “The process of creating the fragrance is very similar to tradition,” says perfumer Loc Dong, on Zoom from Paris. “The only difference is that we’re using this A.I., this data, this neuroscience, as the way for us to be creative. I always say that, especially at Paco Rabanne, you always have to [combine] something of heritage [with] craftsmanship [that’s] futuristic.” Wel- come to the world’s first connected fragrance.
The bottle, a shiny silver robot, looks like a little fashionable alien. But it isn’t just a gimmick. When you tap PHANTOM’s head with your smartphone, a contactless chip will connect the bottle with your device. From there, you’ll have exclusive access to the Paco Rabanne galaxy: interactive filters, personalized playlists, augmented reality, interactive games, and more. “We can use the analogy of the GPS. The GPS would tell you where to go, but you’re still the driver,” says Dong. Dong likens the process to a filmmaker using drone technology to capture a new visual angle.
But just as Paco is paving the path for the fragrance of the future with technology, sustainability is part and parcel of PHANTOM’s for- mula. A blend of man-made and natural ingredients creates a sexy and contemporary scent for a new age. Creamy lavender, musky vetiver heart, and patchouli mingle with lemon and vanilla sourced from Madagascar. The secret ingredient that makes the scent sing? A “vintage” molecule called styrallyl acetate, which boosts the lemon note. “[Sustainability] is in the DNA of the company, and we’ve really focused on that for the last 30 years,” says perfumer Juliette Karagueuzoglou, who helped create PHANTOM with Dong. “So we know where our products are coming from, and we are doing the best to have sustainable ones.”
The PHANTOM team refers to this innovative approach for perfume creation as augmented creativity. “This technology, it forced me to think differently,” says Dong. “It’s forcing you to open your mind up. Let’s say you want to write upside down on a piece of paper. If there’s a machine to tell you how to do it, you can do it faster. I believe this is just the beginning [of a new approach to the process of creating perfumery], because we are boosting our creativity, but I don’t think [technology] will take over.” With PHANTOM, technology enhances tradition; it doesn’t replace it.

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