Interview by Azar
Your company name O’DRIÙ is an anagram derived from the Celtic word for “oak” and “druid” and you have described yourself as a shaman. How have these images of magic and ritual shaped your creative process and the evolution of O’DRIÙ as a niche brand?
Indeed, the brand name O’DRIÙ comes as a crasis of two words: “duir” – the keltic word for oak, and “vir”, a latin word which stands for “sapience”. But, as you know, the same Pliny “the elder”, described as the Druids performed the “ritual of oak and mistletoe” in its “Naturalis Historia”
Druids were the connecting elements and the depositaries of the keltic culture, one of the few connecting element in this people, so socially and politically divided.
After such an extraordinary length of time, Europe is a socially and politically divided nation, and I thought about a brand name which could symbolize an international vision on perfumery, an European and unifying one, which not necessarily had to go after French perfumery clichés.
So, O’DRIÙ wants to dig up ideas and concept that transcend the mere perfumes production!
Druids not only were like nowadays priests, they were philosophers, scientists, teachers and mentors also.
Somehow, I also wanted to transcend today’s perfumery boundaries, proposing an ancestral paradigm about smells, and opposing my knowledge and art rooted vision against the mass-market. I’m fighting to throw away “classical” banalizations which seem to rule the fragrances world.
Is there a perfumer (living or dead) whose work you especially admire? Who or what has influenced your decision to use scent as an artistic medium?
Giovanni Paolo Feminis, which is widely acknowledged as the very creator of “ACQUA MIRABILIS”. Looking at some of my production techniques I feel myself as I was a ‘700 perfumer. These were the days when one could, and it had to freely create! Raw materials were a few, so it needed to do one’s best, using each and every creative resource, as well as production tools and techniques. This is the scenario in which great intuition and great ideas come to life!
I also feel to be close to the Pierre François Pascal Guerlain modus operandi: as Guerlaine did, I also started creating “su misura” (bespoken) fragrances; only time will tell the O’DRIÙ business size, still it seems true to me that O’DRIÙ is an important linkage between the past and the future.
Who or what has influenced your decision to use scent as an artistic medium?
Art, in its most sublime meaning, is the aesthetic expression of human inwardness. My need was to depict the inner universe of the human being, going beyond every denomination, in a non-aesthetic and non-retinal way. My artistic vocation has been influenced by my background, my closeness to so many artists, I could say my DNA and my uselessness, because –first of all- an artist is useless, that is to say “vain” and yet dramatically fruitful.\
Do you wear fragrance? This seems an odd question but I’ve been told that some perfumers rarely, if ever, wear anyone’s perfume.
Oh yes, my perfumes, specially the newest ones, that I’m near to launch: I want to understand how they “live” on my own skin! I don’t wear perfumes when I’m working at the laboratory. Sometimes I run something like a “social experiment” wearing an “antisocial fragrance” which I created for me: it creates a certain repulsion that –absurdly- seems to become fascination when the one who is speaking with you discovers that you are a “Nose”. At that time the incredible happens: this person “wants” to love my perfume, just because he knows about me. It’s like having a mystic fragrance: a different and a mysterious one!
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
O’DRIÙ releases fragrances strictly as limited editions. Is this solely an artistic decision or are there practical considerations as well?
Creating ultra-limited series of perfumes is –at the same time- a sign of craftsmanship and a way to push in the market my vision about the perfume exclusiveness.
Fashion stylists change their collections and this continuously regenerates their style. I never understood why perfumers don’t act in a similar way, proposing their fall/winter or spring/summer collections! Indeed, it seems that there is a tremendous lack of creativity in Noses, so they pretend their creations are “eternal poems”, while this is only a sluggish marketing strategy.
How does the availability of natural materials play into the creation of your perfume?
Nowadays, raw materials are available every day of the year. Yes, it’s possible to have even huge variations in prices, but the problem is not the availability one. My perfumes come to life in my mind: I don’t need to smell anything, and I don’t permit to materials to influence my creativity. I use materials, I bend them to my needs, not the opposite. I could use some basil and bergamot and just another essence to create a great perfume: may be oxidizing part of the basil with sunlight, or burning a part of the bergamot essence while freezing the other part…
At this point I could play, yes: play, feigning most common odors…
And the third essence could be pure and precious, this could be enough to create a great perfume: technique overcomes every unavailability.
Since its inception in 2011 O’DRIÙ has released 19 fragrances (that’s a lot!). What do you see in the future for O’DRIÙ (the company) and for your own vocation as an artist and perfumer?
A lot of them simply are expired… but you should add four more perfumes from the Perfhumance performance, then “Supercilium con una C” and “Subcilium” which came from “Mise en Abyme”. Sometimes, when I go back to smell them, I’m surprised. I’d want to regenerate some highly costly concepts, as the JMT (Jasmine Mean Time), in a inexpensive fashion, but without renouncing to quality! My efforts are aimed to create great perfumes with an affordable price. This is not possible simply following the traditional marketing processes, so I tried to change the rules with Peety and Eva Kant. Both Peety and Eva Kant are principally purchasable via our odriu.com store; there are also some perfumeries in Europe where is possible to test them, but the perfumes will arrive at our customers home as a mail order.
I’d like to have a production plant in USA also, so to cut production and export costs, but it will be possible only finding a partner… hopefully in this life!
As an artist, I have the particular need to create a new communication pathway in perfumery. From this point of view, Peety has been simply a phenomenon, due to its advertising and its related new visual concept. We are also in the creative process for the next step in Peety communication: a viral video which we want to issue on line… we expect it will be explosive!
TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW WITH A GIVEAWAY!!
Peety is available from the O’Driu site €150/49ml
Photo Stolen Wikipedia