It was one of the summer afternoon in Paris when I finally made my wish come true to have a walk through Passage Choiseul, one of my favorite historic passageway that became a popular congregating venue for the style-savvy Parisian during the 19th century, with fashionable and stylish shops along both side of this sheltered shopping corridor. For me, it’s certainly an incredible experience to revisit and feel the glory and elegance of the past with its magnificent architectural structure and detail being kept in great condition, just when I took a turn by leaving the Passage on Rue Saint-Augustin, somehow there’s a vibe strike across my head and told me to look down few blocks away, not just another ancient confectionery shop that nearby the exit of the Passage but a sumptuous and luxurious scent that filled with history of ancient French elegance, nostalgia and romanticism, which eventually took me to the beautiful Oriza L. Legrand Parfums boutique.
Something that I cannot resist to adore this parfumerie boutique, a quintessentially ancient French shop with beautiful and intimate nostalgic feel, it almost feels like you are travelling back in time as an aristocratic and elegant customer in early 19th century, the understated store front in greyish robin-egg blue wooden frame and large glass façade that reminiscent the sophisticated detail of a French private mansion, the contrasting the luxurious display behind with the sumptuous fragrances of the house as well as the mix of the vintage mens accessories, that literally interprets the discerning and style-consciousness of the owner about mens lifestyle, and, the significant association of fragrance and menswear. I let myself in and start to explore these beautiful fragrance one by one with grace and care, then a dapper gentleman came forth and greet me with a simple smile, and that’s the first time I met Mr. Hugo Lambert, and later, Mr. Franck Belaiche, the current owners of this remarkable perfume house. The more I started to explore the fragrance and story of this perfume house from both gentlemen, the more I am intrigue and fell in love with it.
Founded since 1720, the perfume by Oriza L. Legrand was one of the most sought and adore by the elite and French royalty dated back then, including King Louis XV. With the French gent, Louis Legrand, took over the house in 1811, he sees the potential of the perfume house with its blooming elegance and luxuriousness, which subsequently become a rare perfume supplier to courts of Russia, England & Italy . While enjoying the flourish of success in Europe, the house was unfortunately forced to shut down due toe the economy crisis that hit during the late 30s. The revival of the perfume house came about with the enthusiasm of Franck, after realized the beautiful history and story behind, and, Hugo, who is passionate in fragrance as well as his solid experience with several prestigious perfume house in the past of his career, both gentlemen bought back the name in 2011 and started producing some of the legendary fragrances to present day, letting the connoisseurs to have an opportunity to experience the long-lost French elegance and historic beauty once again.
I am thrilled to have a brief conversation with the gentlemen about their passion of bring this French historic beauty, and their insight about fine fragrance:
MMD: Thanks Franck and Hugo for being here with us, firstly I would like to know what motivates you to revive this reputed perfume house? Do you already know that you are destined to be in the perfume world? What is your aspiration?
Hugo: The house of Oriza L.Legrand is a dream for any perfume lover. Its rich history spans over 200 years and perfectly illustrates French tradition and excellence in luxury craftsmanship. We researched Oriza's catalogue for many months and matured the project of reviving the House very carefully. The more we discovered about Oriza, the more we were wooed to its history and tremendous olfactive pallet. Eventually reviving Maison Oriza L. Legrand became a dream and an obsession. As French creators we believe in leveraging the excellence of French craftsmanship. All our products are handmade by some of the best artisans in their respective trade. This ensures the authenticity and constant quality of everything we make. Quality and originality are the ethos of the House.
MMD: As I know you both are fragrance enthusiasts and style-savvy professionals, can you share with us how’s the synergy works between you two gentlemen, and what’s the impact that results from your work?
Franck: We are both responsible of the revival of the brand and are associated. We are the successors of the previous owners. We are always searching new archives, old perfumes and lots of news concerning Oriza L. Legrand. It's amazing every day and we learn new information regularly, but we try to keep secret on what we are going to develop.
MMD: How do you see the relationship between Oriza Legrand from the past to the present day? and what are the values of this historic perfume house share with you the most in your life?
Franck & Hugo: We have more than 300 perfumes in the story of Oriza. Our current focus is on selecting the next perfumes we want to revive. It was important for us to re-launch the formulas of these perfumes we had in our archives and to present a complete range of 7 different perfumes to begin. Our latest fragrance, Foin Fraîchement Coupé (New Mown Hay, 1886), has been launched in February. The fresh and green notes will arrive in time to bring freshness to the spring. We are also delighted to introduce our first range of cosmetics. It is entirely handmade in southern France using Organic materials.
Special thanks to Mr. Franck Belaiche and Mr. Hugo Lambert, image courtesy of Oriza L. Legrand Parfums, Paris.