Anne Flipo is a master perfumer behind some of the world's more iconic scents, with a superior command of floral and green palettes. She was the natural choice for Frédéric Malle when he decided to create the collection's first green, vegetal perfume.
"We had a flirtatious relationship for years because we were both very shy. She was already a big star in the industry. I admired her work very much and I heard from other master perfumers—they are the best judges, after all—about her abilities," says Malle about the start of their friendship-turned-partnership. "I was looking for the right conversation to have with her. When I found it, I went to her and she agreed. And that's why we are here today."
A seamless blend of the organic and synthetic, Synthetic Jungle is a richly evocative fragrance that embodies Anne Flipo's vision of a jungle. Earthy notes of basil, moss and patchouli oil as the opulent base are blended with recomposed bouquets of hyacinth, lily of the valley, natural jasmine and ylang ylang oil to create a truly unique olfactory experience.
The great noses behind this complex and contemporary fragrance sit down with Tatler for a lively conversation about their close collaboration and perfumery.
Anne, this new fragrance is inspired by your childhood in northeast of France. Can you tell us a little more about the memories and how it inspired you?
Anne Flipo (AF): The place that you were born stays with you. I used to stay in a house with a big garden with a lot of greenery. I watched the rainfall and cycle of the seasons. I would wait for all the different flowers in the garden to grow. I have a very unique approach to the flowers growing in the north of Europe: lily of the valley, rose, hyacinths…
Frédéric Malle (FM): She had to move a bit down south for the jungle—a dream jungle. I would imagine it smells better than a real jungle.
What other sources of inspiration went into making Synthetic Jungle?
FM: We grabbed a few ideas from rare vegetal perfumes from the ‘50s and ‘70s, including Chanel 19 and Estee Lauder's personal scent, Private Collection. They were already part of our vocabulary. We learned how these great perfumes were made, so we took that precedent to evolve and grow. It's similar in every industry. For example, when I went to a Cézanne exhibition in New York, I learned that hundreds of artists—Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Jasper Jones—owned paintings by Cézanne. And if you looked carefully at their art, you can see that they found inspiration and learned from him.