Born 1981, died 2011 and reborn in 2016; the works taps into the nightmares and traumas stored into our minds to create a olfactory experience that expresses everything we repress.
Questions and answers
● Has scent always been a large part of your life?
Every single day, since the beginning of my existence. I connect everything with scents. My mom, dad, childhood, trauma, heartbreak, first kiss, losing my virginity, fights, betrayal, falling in love and everything else in between. I can walk through a Walmart and if I see a Giorgio Beverly Hills bottle locked up behind the glass memories flood back with a vengeance. I knew in my heart my obsession with all things fragrance would somehow connect me to a audience who would get what I’m trying to create.
● Are there any scent memories from growing up that you are still drawn to?
My grandmother always wore Estee Lauder Youth Dew which she kept hidden in her bathroom. Most people said that it reminded them of a funeral parlour, but I beg to differ. To me it smelled like fancy dresses, money and brand new Cadillacs.
● How did your career or journey into the fragrance world begin?
I’ve always been very sensitive to scents. I can literately smell cavities, sickness, mineral imbalances; you name it. I’m like a bloodhound! I watch a lot of movies, especially horror or really depressing foreign ones. I have a knack now that I correlate emotion and scent to each movie scene. I know this might sound odd, but I knew my sense of smell would mend in all worlds. Music, movies, art and photography. I followed the traditional path of getting a job, get married, get divorced, have a nervous breakdown, quit my job, go to Los Angeles to see if you can make it, go broke and then have a moment of “Oh my god, why am I not doing what I really want to do”. I knew that I could never make it to France with no money. I typed in Los Angeles perfume school and Saskia Wilson-Brown’s institute of Art and Olfaction came up. I knew in my gut and heart this was the place I’ve been looking for.
I decided that 2/14/16 would be the release of my first fragrance line. Putting that on a paper was a great way for me to overcome my fear of actually going ahead with all this. It’s pretty much a dream that has come through.
● What are the changes that you have seen in the fragrance industry over the past years
I would say that a lot has changed. The fragrance world have always been such a huge secret. You needed mega millions for advertising and a superstar in the ad. I meet so many cool, interesting niche perfumers and that is so inspiring and motivating. Now you can do anything in the fragrance word as long as you have the drive and passion. To me that’s amazing.
● Can you talk about the brand how it began and its themes?
The name Principal came to me completely randomly one day when I was working. I knew it would be based around memories, nightmares and traumas. As I have been doing photography for many years I wanted to implement a visual aspect to each of my scents. I created scenes of each of my perfumes and shot my friend Monica in different scenarios that visualize the scents. These photos are printed on cards that comes with each perfume together with a handwritten explanation. My goal is to make small movies around my scents, collaborate with artists I adore and one day build a large catalogue of interesting collectible perfumes. I want to take people on a journey.
● Can you speak more about the process of creating a scent?
I always start with a long day on Tumblr looking at images. Usually obscure to obscene to rattle my brain. Then I like to take a long drive, especially in traffic, and listen to copious amounts of Norwegian death metal. After two days of that, my senses are all over the place. By then I go to my lab and think of a situation, grab random aromas and see what speaks to me. For some reason this method has worked for me so far.
● What do you think makes fragrance such a large part of people's life?
Fragrance is tied to memories with people. “Old Spice” remind people of their grandpas, “White Shoulders” of a beloved aunt and “Electric Youth” of a baby sitter who was psycho. Fragrance in itself is such a beautiful thing to be obsessed with. It’s a comfort, a memory and a depression element for many people.
● Do you have any new projects that you are planning for the future?
I have the release of my collaboration with the artist Gianna Gianna coming up this summer. I’m also currently doing a secret project with Lourdess Fourdre, who is a visual artist here in Los Angeles. I’m very excited to be working with such interesting and talented people. I do put a lot of artistic work on my Instagram so please come and follow me there to keep track of what is coming.
● Lastly is there anything else that you would like to share?
My only goal in this is to have people realize nothing is too impossible and from the words of Dr. Frank-N-Furter “Don’t dream it, be it”.