After Sept. 11, the smell that enveloped New York City triggered the memory of the horrendous events that had occurred.
Struck by the awful reminder, Laurice Rahmé decided to create Bond No. 9 – “to make New York City smell good again,” she says.
The brand, named after the company’s headquarters on 9 Bond St., became a tribute to the city, with each perfume named after areas of New York.
All 55 of Rahmé’s scents – Brooklyn, Chinatown, West Broadway, to name a few – are inspired by the soul and feeling of the place they’re named after.
She compares their creation to the way an artist crafts an image.
“It’s the feeling,” she says. “If you were a painter, and you were painting, what would you make? Would you make it dark? Would you make it bright? Would you make it pastel?”
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Bond No. 9, Rahmé created Perfumista Avenue, the first fantasy neighborhood in her collection.
We snagged a few minutes with Rahmé before she got busy at Saks to talk to her about the abstract nature of perfume, falling in love with NYC and more.
Boca Mag: Tell me about your relationship with New York
Laurice Rahmé: I was 24 years old when I discovered New York. The first three months, I just did not like it, coming from Paris. New York is such a big city compared to Paris, so I just wanted to go home. My boss at the time at Lancome – I used to work at Lancome – said, “No just be patient, stay another month. I promise you’ll love it.” And it’s true. After three months, I fell in love and I’m still here now.
BM: Where do you draw your inspiration for your scents?
LR: It’s the idea of trying to capture the soul of the neighborhood, the spirit. It’s not about the buildings, the construction – it’s about the people.
BM: On your website, the description of Perfumista Avenue starts off: “Perfumes are all about dreams – and the power of scents to make our dreams come true.” Can you expand more on that?
LR: The big difference with perfume is that it’s invisible. If you’re going to buy a dress, you see it, you touch it, you can put it on. But if I spray something on you, it’s invisible. It’s very abstract. It’s just like dreams. There’s nothing concrete about a perfume. It’s the dream-like abstract concept of fragrance that allows you to travel. So for me this perfume as an art, it’s limitless. In jewelry, or fashion of shoes, you have limits. You’re dealing with the concrete. You have men that say, oh my wife used to wear this fragrance. It’s abstract – but it’s still in the memory.
BM: Do you think you’ll ever run out of neighborhoods and places in New York?
LR: No! When you read the New York Times, you read that oh, they’re doing this now? New York is doing changes all the time, so many [places] are coming up, many did not exist five years ago. Like the Highline, it did not exist. Madison Square Park, nobody talked about. The evolution of the city, we follow. So in my lifetime, I’m not seeing myself run out of neighborhoods.
While Rahmé has no plans of expanding Bond No. 9 beyond the City, she does work with Saks Fifth Avenue, the exclusive carrier of the brand, to create fragrances for various cities around the country – and yes, Boca Raton is one of them.