“I created La Voie Parfum as an olfactive language”
As part of our series on new luxury entrepreneurs, Coralie Chappat presents herself as the alchemist of fragrances. Through a series of unique sensory experiences, the tailormade perfume she offers reveals the hidden side of each person.
By Cristina D’Agostino16 novembre 2021
To choose a bespoke perfume is never a trivial sensorial journey. While the ultimate luxury when it comes to fine fragrances is to self-gift an “olfactive portrait”, many well-established houses now offer this experience. In just a few hours, and for prices often over a thousand francs, perfumers will compose your essence. But here, the approach is different. That which Coralie Chappat offers is an inner journey, revealing the hidden part of its commissioner. The essence here, is not a vain word. La Voie Parfum (the Perfume Path) offers to access it and to condense the emanation of oneself in a bottle. A crazy bet which Coralie has taken on, by creating her own brand Coralie C. and a unique aesthetic method, La Voie Parfum, to achieve it. The Parisian who now lives in Nyon, Switzerland, is a researcher in Social Sciences specialized in the principles that lie at the heart of Japanese Middle-Age’s aesthetics and was trained in Grasse. For four years, she learned the craft of perfumery, which she then pursued in contact with a nose from Firmenich. Also trained in astro-psychology, her background enabled her with both wide and specific knowledge.
On the client’s side, the approach requires commitment, but as the experiences unravel, the discovery is troubling. The support that Coralie proposes takes place over several months, a significant difference compared to common perfumers. The price for this self-essence? Over 40,000 euros. A luxury which targets a wealthy clientele, often Asian or Middle Eastern. But for those who would still be tempted by the inner olfactive adventure, a Fragment of la Voie Parfum was recently created. In just a few hours (2,000 euros), the complete but succinct process already enables the unveiling of buried mysteries.
What is your method for creating a bespoke perfume?
La Voie Parfum is a unique protocol which follows three readings. First, the astrologic theme, a traditional process which enables to know more about the singularity of each person, their inner self, their patterns, their environment. Then, there is the identity landscape of one’s true Self, a concept which I created, and which enables total self-abandonment, with no reference nor bearings, by immersing in the painted landscape. Then the third step is the olfactive connection through materials.
Can you explain this identity landscape?
The identity landscape is a concept which I created and which, just like emperors of Chinese Middle Ages, brings the person to look at their own landscape. I require to choose among eight sights of Xiao and Xiang. A connection with nature then happens. I question what is seen and offer guidance through the landscape drawn. By immersing in the landscape, the latter will project its own reading. Through ShanShui, a 4th Century Chinese landscape art of the Xiao and Xiang, the emotional discovery becomes clearer. As a third reading, I choose materials which I then have the person feel. My work consists in the interpretation of all this information and in identifying oneself or one’s hidden desires.
What are those materials?
The olfactive materials are selected for their exceptional quality and composed either of natural extracts or synthesized in order to offer the most subtle notes. My main supplier is in Grasse, but I also work with many in Japan, where I lived for many years, for wood essences such as Hinoki. I created an olfactive language which resonates with KIGO or words of seasons in Japanese poetry. It is important to note that we all have 350 smell captors, which are the only neurons in direct contact with the outside world. When we smell a perfume, an emotion happens but there is no scent, as the molecule cannot be smelled. Emotions and the limbic brain are associated and interpret a smell. We like or do not like it, but it is the historicity related to what we have been through that speaks to us. Yet a perfume has no scent. Already in utero, the fetus builds its olfactive capital in its mother’s womb. Can you imagine how crucial this sense is? A spermatozoid already carries olfactive captors.
What do you think is the function of a perfume?
It must reveal who you are and not the person who created it. For me, perfume reveals meaning. It is what we want to show. When a person chooses the olfactive materials, I ask them to put words on what they smell. They are the silver lining of the perfume creation process, as we only talk about emotion. I created the method La Voie Parfum where then endgame is to find what has been ignored in our life path. The idea is to work on our missing part, and to have it emerge across the three readings. It is our mystery, a dimension which can escape us. Through La Voie Parfum, we can access our most hidden desires. But it is important to specify that my approach is aesthetic and not therapeutic. I encapsulate buried desires which are hidden in the perfume’s formula. When we wear the perfume, it’s as an injunction to materialize one’s desire.
What has been the catalyst to creating la Voie Parfum?
This entire adventure started over thirty years ago, when I discovered the Man’yōshū, the first anthology of waka and Japanese poetry dating from the 8th Century. I understood the notion of “sharing one’s thoughts with things”, a way of becoming immortal, sign of our finitude, by living in the objects of our emotions and feelings.
To whom does your method speak to?
My current clients are wealthy and can own anything they want. They are searching for the unexplored. I offer them something beyond themselves, something they do not possess.
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