On a grey, cold day like this one, it's appropriate to focus on our other senses for a dose of optimism. The new Ralph Lauren fragrance, Ralph Wild, was created by perfumer Linda Kramer. Although the ad campaign and the market work required to put out the new fragrance piques our interest, we thought it appropriate to speak with the perfumer behind this soon-to-be popular commodity. When working with an ever-reaching brand like Ralph Lauren, every aspect of that identity has to be considered. Translating these notions into fragrance, into notes, is a feat in and of itself. Our interview with Linda Kramer follows, and for more from the perfumer, and on perfume in general, look to our network partner The Scented Salamander, whose education on fragrance consistently makes for an interesting read.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be a Perfumer?
I have been interested in fragrance since I was young. I went to private school where I wore a uniform and wasn’t allowed to wear make- up, so fragrance was the only true way I could express myself. Not only was I was obsessed with trying new fragrances, I loved reading the fashion magazines to see the fragrance ads – the beautiful, seductive women, the elegant, elaborate packaging, the exotic imagery. It amazed me how a blend of certain ingredients could not only smell great, but could completely transport you to another place. Once I finished high school, I attended a college with a fashion/beauty focus.
What aspects of the field are people unaware of?
I think people are unaware of the limitless amount of inspiration that surrounds each project. For example, with Ralph Wild (and all of our fragrances), what inspired me most is the fact that I work for such an iconic designer as Ralph Lauren. His vision guides the project from conception to completion. Another source of inspiration was our new model, Amanda. At the beginning of the project I watched a video of her taken at a photo shoot. The video captured Amanda playing Frisbee and having fun with the photographer and crew. She exudes this great energy and I found her fearless, feminine confidence very inspiring.
How long does it take to develop a perfume?
There are several steps in the process of developing a perfume. With Ralph Wild, The first step was to identify the key elements of the brand – This fragrance was designed to represent a girl who is spontaneous, fearless and confident. We also looked at the imagery and the color of the packaging. Based on all of these elements of Ralph Wild, it was clear to us that we needed to create a fragrance that would make a bold statement but would also tie in the Ralph Wild Girl’s personality and the color of the packaging.
How great a role do cultural changes play in the popularity or prevalence of particular scents? How does this dynamic inform your creations?
Right now there is a trend towards floral fragrances with juicy, fruity, edible nuances. Ralph Wild is so popular because the juicy, fruity notes and the warmth of the fragrance not only provide a feeling of playfulness and comfort, but has a nostalgic effect on us as well. These types of notes have the amazing ability to olfactively transport us back to the happy memories of our youth.
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