Ezra Woods and Alia Raza, the duo behind Régime Des Fleurs began their flower charged journey eight years ago when they first bonded over a love of perfume and flowers. What started as an art show project consisting of one scent named Nymphaea Cerulean, quickly became a full range line due to the rave response.
Régime Des Fleurs officially launched in February 2014 with a collection of six intoxicating floral scents consisting of three tiers which vary in complexity entitled Lyrics (30ml), Ballads (50ml), and Epic (8ml). The feverish fragrances are made up of natural flower and plant extractions joined together with unlikely ingredients such as non-toxic UV dye, the ultra precious blue lotus, or ambergris derived from the digestive system of a sperm whale.
Although the creative pair has just started their quest in perfumery, its no surprise they were so warmly welcomed by the fashion community. Ezra Woods has styled starlets like Chloe Sevigny and Michelle Williams while, Alia Raza has released a number of short films inspired by fragrances starring musicians and fashion types like Devendra Banhart, Kim Gordon, Margherita Missoni, and Sevigny. These two are wildly imaginative and a ton of fun to hang with. I am eager to get my hands on a bottle of nitesurf!
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01. When I previewed your collection and got to experience the pleasure of sampling your scents, you shared with me an in-depth story about your perfume Nymphaea Caerulea and why some of the ingredients naturally brought tears to the eyes who have smelled this fragrance.Can you share this story again?
RDF: Nymphaea Caerulea is our perfume based on the blue water lily or "Blue Nile Lotus" - considered to be sacred and divine by the ancient Egyptians, who used it in spiritual ceremonies and religious rites of passage. The flowers are considered to be mildly psychoactive when ingested - giving gently euphoric, hallucinogenic and sedative effects. We haven't tried that, but the extractions we use do smell incredibly otherworldly. Working with this extremely precious and rare material, we can certainly understand that it has a special something that takes you out of yourself. One client said that she had an out of body experience while smelling it, another told us that it heightened her ESP! One woman who wore it told us she felt her heart was opening. Several people really have been brought to tears when smelling this perfume and we now feel that there really must be a reason that this flower was held in such high regard by such an advanced and sophisticated civilization.
02. I absolutely adore nitesurf! What made you decide to name this perfume nitesurf? What makes it a neon marine floral?
RDF: For nitesurf, we drew inspiration from the artwork of our friend Max Hooper Schneider. His practice aesthetically touches on postmodern neoclassicism and draws source material from both marine biology and counter culture (black metal, death metal, surf and skate etc) - it's amazing. We also really wanted to make a scent that romanticized Southern California the way that many scents romanticize exotic locales like the South of France or whatever. We call it a "neon marine floral" because it smells like the beach and it also smells like a bright, glowing flower. We use profuse amounts of aroma materials that signify the scent of orange blossoms and mix them with natural extractions that amplify the different facets - so if the scent of orange blossom was a color - say "orange" - then we feel that this scent is a "neon orange." It's exaggerated. The "marine" aspect of the scent comes from many materials, both natural and synthetic, that evoke "aquatic" and "salty" and "ozonic" effects, including an extraction of seashells.
03. Describe your perfume water/wood as a location or moment in time?
RDF: We describe water/wood as the scent of a forest under water. We really wanted to juxtapose woody notes that are warm and deep and soulful with a "wet" and "fresh" impression. It's a very addictive combination!
04. How did you come up with the design of the bottles? Describe your creative process.
RDF: We designed the bottles sort out of necessity - we didn't have a million dollars to tool our own custom bottle so we needed to work with plain stock bottles. But we sourced really high quality bottles from France that have simple, clean proportions and a feel in hand that is substantial and sturdy. The colors happened initially because we wanted to find a way to make the bottle for Nymphaea Caerulea the colour of sunglasses from the 80s - like an iridescent peacock. That color looked like what the perfume smelled like. And then we did the same for the other perfumes - we thought about what colors each evoked, whether they would be matte or metallic, et cetera. We developed the design of chroming the bottles and then painting on top of the chrome which gives a lot of dimension. It was also important to us that there was a "elegant" and "watery" and "minimal" feel too - because just liquid in glass is so simple and beautiful. So that's where the idea of leaving one side of the bottle untreated came from. Lastly, we didn't want to have any copy on the bottle itself, so we came to the idea of distinguishing each scent with just color and only having our gold emblem on the bottle to identify the brand.
05. Who are some of your favorite noses in the industry? What perfumes have they created?
Ezra: I love Jean LaPorte the creator of the line that became L'Artisan Parfumer and then Maitre Pardumer et Gantier. It was through his brand that I learned to appreciate perfume. And I love Calice Becker's lush and sheer style. I also love the work of Nathalie Feisthauer - her perfumes are gorgeous but not necessarily "pretty."
Alia: I grew up wearing Fracas and other tuberose perfumes and I think the creator of Fracas, Germaine Cellier, is a genius. She was a French chemist and perfumer in the 1940's - she was so ahead of her time in so many ways. I love Dominique Ropion too. His big hits like Amarige and Carnal Flower, and his room spray Un Gardenia La Nuit, are incredibly beautiful. I only wear tuberose and jasmine and gardenia type scents, or "white florals," and he's the king of them.
06. What is something inspirational you can share with those who are preparing to or dancing around the idea of launching a Fragrance Collection.
RDF: We are obsessed with perfume and can talk endlessly about it. This is an art practice and a creative outlet for us, not just a way to earn a living. That passion must really come through, we think, and that's why the reaction to our work has been so positive. So our inspirational advice would be to do this if you truly care about it, not if you think it will make you rich. In all aspects of Régime des Fleurs, from the creative to the business model, we've applied our individual and shared references and interests, and made the decision at every step to think outside the box and do what's unexpected. That is what works for us.
07. Since launching, what has been the most exciting and uplifting moment you've experienced?
RDF: All of it has been a lot of fun but there are a few moments that stand out as really exciting. Getting an email from Luca Turin, the biophysicist and fragrance expert, saying he really liked our perfume was pretty incredible. Being contacted by Vogue for a meeting just a week after we launched was also kind of great! Our friend Erin Wasson hosting us for a week during the Dallas Art Fair and throwing a party for us at our favorite store in Texas, Forty Five Ten, was so much fun. And then our friend Christopher Niquet giving a bottle of our fragrance Dove Grey to one of our muses, Deeda Blair, who happens to be his next door neighbor, was genius. But honestly, the reaction to the perfumes from our friends and families has been the most uplifting and exciting part of all of this. We get text messages from them all the time saying 'Another stranger followed me down the street and begged to know why I smelled so good! Send another bottle!' That means more to us than anything else.