- Interview -
Valentine Pozzo di Borgo
When VALENTINE POZZO DI BORGO swas studying economics at the Université de Paris Dauphine, she had no idea that her destiny would in fact lie in the world of perfumery, further strengthening her strong family ties.
Your great-great-grandfather established the prestigious Givaudan company. Your grandfather created splendid fragrances including Fleur de Fleurs by Nina Ricci and Paloma by Paloma Picasso. Is perfume embedded in your DNA?
I never imagined so! I had opted to study economics because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, without really knowing which field that might entail. It was while I was at the other end of the earth and far from my family that my vocation emerged, when I entirely unexpectedly found myself at the head of a “cosmetics and luxury fragrances” project in Beijing. I immediately called my mother to tell her about this nod from destiny and to announce that I wanted to create my own perfume brand together with her! As soon as I was back in France, we founded Pozzo di Borgo and Quintessence Paris. This passion has remained with me ever since.
The first fragrances you imagined are tributes to family figures…
Yes, because they are very inspirational! My whole family lived in the same house for many years. My childhood spent observing these colorful individuals made a deep impression on me and I wanted to tell the story of their exceptional personalities through scented creations. Other olfactory portraits will follow, since this is a project I am keen to pursue.
Which perfume do you wear yourself?
Several ‘noses’ have studied my olfactory identity and almost all of them associated me with iris – which surprised and delighted me since I love its powdery delicacy. But in daily life, I don’t wear perfume, because I spend my entire live breathing in aromas.
Which fragrances have marked you for life?
One of my most intense olfactory experiences is linked to my mother. She has always worn Fracas by Piguet, a charismatic scent that filled the house with its powerful tuberous notes. It suits her so well that if she strays away from it, I don’t feel she is entirely herself! I am always keenly receptive to the scent of particular places, which directly connect me with memories and feelings. That of Corsican scrubland takes me straight to heaven. And when traveling, I sometimes spend time hunting out particular odors or plants, such as Iranian galbanum which I recently managed to track down!
What in your opinion is a great perfume?
One that stirs emotions, whether pleasant or not. It must make a mark, not be too bland, and above all never leave anyone indifferent.
Is your authenticity also a question of the balance you have established between your two passions?
Absolutely, horses are my other life. They are indelibly ingrained in me and help me to recharge my batteries, to find freedom. Since I have honed my sense of smell, I experience even more powerfully the associated odors of moss, rain, hay, leather… all of which reassure me. Competition has taught me discipline, sensitivity to others and a team spirit. I share these values in my daily interactions with the people who accompany me in my fragrance projects.
The Quintessence Paris boutique
38 rue de l’Université - 7e arrondissement.
Based on an interview by Michèle Wouters