Alber Elbaz and Frédéric Malle talk about their new fragrance at the International Luxury Conference

Frédéric Malle, left, and Alber Elbaz collaborated on a new fragrance called Superstitious. Courtesy Editions de Parfums
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French perfumer Frédéric Malle and Moroccan-Israeli fashion designer Alber Elbaz were part of a talk at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, in Muscat, on Wednesday, April 5.

At the event, the two creatives explained the story behind their collaboration on a new fragrance, called Superstitious.

Malle is the founder of Editions de Parfums, a platform for perfumers to create independent scents under their own names. Elbaz was at a loose end (following his dismissal as artistic director at Lanvin). So the timing was perfect to work on a collaboration.

“We had a friendly lunch, and soon realised we had many things in common, including the fact that we are both deeply superstitious,” said Malle, who was at The Dubai Mall earlier this week for the launch of the perfume.

During the first discussion, Elbaz envisioned that the fragrance should smell like a dress that still holds the lingering essence of the woman who wore it.

At the conference, the designer recalled that he had wanted to attend Paris Fashion Week last year, but realised that for the first time in years, he had no collection to unveil. “I show my love for people through objects and things, but, for the first time, I had nothing to show.”

So he called Malle and asked if their new perfume could be ready to present during Paris Fashion Week.

“I had a month, where usually it takes at least one year to get a fragrance right,” recalled Malle. “But by October [2016], we had a very accomplished sketch of a perfume to present in Paris. And it was a success.”

Superstitious comes with an Elbaz-designed eye motif on the bottle and box, and is a heady blend of rose, jasmine, amber, patchouli, vetiver and incense.

At the conference, Malle also commented upon the deep ties that the perfume industry has with frankincense, an ingredient most popular and readily available in the region, especially in Oman. “The Middle East is the centre of the world of perfume, it is the home of the oldest perfumes.”

Superstitious by Frédéric Malle for Alber Elbaz is now available at the Editions de Parfums counter at Bloomingdale’s in The Dubai Mall.

smaisey@thenational.ae