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Frédéric Malle and Rosetta Elkin at Harvard GSD

  • Piper Auditorium, Gund Hall 48 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA, 02138 United States (map)

Frédéric Malle of Éditions de Parfums with Rosetta Elkin

So much money is spent on marketing and ensuring that the scent will sell in large quantities that the actual fragrance quality is lost and the creative freedom of the perfumer is stifled.
—Frédéric Malle 

Frédéric Malle was born in Paris into a family deeply involved in perfume and the arts, including his grandfather, who worked closely with Dior to create Parfums Christian Dior; his mother, who was art director of the Dior house of fragrance; and his uncle, the film director Louis Malle. After studying art history at NYU, seeking to master every aspect of the perfume trade, Frédéric Malle worked at French ad agency Havas International and at fragrance lab Roure under master perfumer Jean Amic before establishing Éditions de Parfums Frédéric Malle in Paris in 2000, which soon expanded to department stores and stand-alone boutiques in New York, Rome, and London.

Rejecting the norms of mass produced fragrance, seeking a return to luxury and creativity, Malle has kept his company on a carefully controlled scale in order to empower the fragrance creators while offering the customer an exceptional experience. He has developed his fragrances through collaborations with well-known master perfumers of today, including Dominique Ropion, Jean-Claude Ellena, Maurice Roucel, Olivia Giacobetti, Pierre Bourdon, Edmond Roudnitska, and (son) Michel Roudnitska.

Malle regards fragrance creation as analogous to publishing a book, with the nose as the author, the name of the fragrance as the title, and himself as editor in chief. This metaphor inspired the sophisticated yet restrained brand identity of Éditions de Parfums. His shop interiors—including the Greenwich Village store designed with architect Steven Holl—include Malle's own invention: the "smelling column" that first appeared in the boutique in Barney's New York, which allow a customer to experience the scent and appreciate its complexity in isolation from the surrounding air.

Malle will speak about design, the creative process, the fragrances themselves, and their ingredients and histories, joined by Rosetta Elkin, assistant professor of landscape architecture. 

Supported by the Rouse Visiting Artist Fund.

For accessibility accommodations, please contact the events office in advance at or (617) 496-2414.



Earlier Event: November 19
Yvonne Love at Brown University
Later Event: November 30
Yoshua Okon at Brandeis University