On Monday, Atelier Cologne will open the doors to its very first boutique in Paris, at 8 rue Saint-Florentin. The brand created by Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cersavel was born between Paris and New York and already has an address – its first – in Manhattan.
During the opening for the press on Thursday, in the very heart of Paris, we discovered the beautiful, 60-square-meter space, which the founders created with their own hands by pulling down the wall between two narrow, corridor-shaped stores. “One of them sold paintings, the other one sold cards. We bought both, and then quickly took out the hammers to see what was underneath the plaster walls. We found red bricks, which is part of our universe since we have a whole wall of brick in our New York boutique. And under the dropped ceiling, we unveiled the original”, says Sylvie while she points a finger at the mouldings.
The address features all of the house’s 11 fragrances, its Cologne Absolue, in bottles, soaps and candles, and it also has two workbenches where one can have a few letters of their choice engraved in gold or silver onto a leather case made to fit their bag-format bottles (30ml). Sylvie Ganter explains that they meant to revive a certain tradition of perfume as a genuine gift. That it is quick and easy to have this leather case engraved, especially since this service is included in the price of a bottle. We marvel at the quality of the leather, imagine how chic it would be to place a bottle of Vétiver Fatal in a beautiful, customized case underneath the Christmas tree this year, and start admiring Sylvie’s genius. Her spending eight years working for Hermès, the temple of quality leather goods, may have something to do with all this fine taste.
A few steps further in the store, her partner in business and life, Christophe, is detailing the characteristics of this new space. Which, most importantly, is equipped for “seated consultation”, as in no one will try to sell you something you’ve had almost no time to smell when you’ve hardly arrived in the store, as is often the case at Sephora. “In general, the sale of perfume is much too fast. We like to take our time. We want to sit down, tell the story of us, of our fragrances, explain our raw materials”. The long wooden counter at which you can sit on bar chairs illustrates the will to see customers take a moment to talk with the salesperson on the other side.
As a journalist, intoxicating herself with a smelling strip of Atelier Cologne’s first big hit, Orange Sanguine, asks him about the Cologne Absolue, Christophe explains: “Our customers are sensitive people, but they have character. They don’t want something that’s just clean. It has to be fresh, but at the same time complex”. Their magical recipe, based upon the idea of offering fresh, easy-to-wear Cologne scents the tenacity and trail of a real perfume thanks to exceptional concentration and mesmerizing tricks in formulation, keeps spreading to the world. Their little wonders can now be found on the shelves at Selfridges, London, and Harvey Nichols in Koweit.
Read more about it with my interview An hour with Atelier Cologne
Photographs: Sarah Bouasse