A legend in the world of perfumery
Probably the name of Edmond Rodnitska doesn’t sound familiar to everyone, but I think that everyone knows, at least by name, Eau Sauvage or Diorissimo. Edmond Roudnistka is the man that has survived his death composing such masterpieces.
He was a great perfumer and also a refined thinker. He wrote some books considered as milestone in the field of aesthethics and perfumery, giving birth to a new way of composing fragrances, trying to give a new sense to the word “creation” in perfumery.
He was born in Nice in 1905 and he started his training in perfumery in 1926 in Grasse at Roure Bertrand Dupont. At first he showed a poor interest to culture, having a big passion for sport. After a year spent in Grasse, he was invited to learn more about composition in Argenteuil, close to Paris. During three months spent with Mr. Léon he realize his vocation: to be a perfumer.
In 1935 he signed a contract with De Laire, a well-known firm, above all in the field of bases composition and synthetic raw materials.
In the 30s’ many new synthetic raw materials were developed, but they were very powerful and difficult to use, above all for the perfumers of that period, accustomed only to natural raw materials. The companies needed to sell these new raw materials, so they started to prepare some “bases”, compositions made with a low number of ingredients (about ten) where the new synthetics materials were contained. Some perfumers were devoted to create these bases, so they developed a new composition technique where a sketch is used to suggest an odour. Edmond Roudnistka have composed several bases during his career.
Thank to his friendship with François De Laire, during these years he was also introduced in the parisian jet-set, where he developed a new interest for culture, art, painting and music. In this period he also started reading about aesthethics and philosophy.
In 1942 he had the chance to meet the woman of his life: Thérèse Delveaux, a young, smart and elegant chemistry engineer working for the same firm. They share their own passions and Thérèse becomes a perfume lover.
In 1943 he composes Femme for Marcel Rochas, a fragrance in perfect accord with the fashion of that period for the “Chypre” fragrances. But Femme probably adds something more to the compositions of that period thanks to its contrast between the fruity and spicy facets.
In 1946 he found his creations society, Art et Parfum. He wanted to affirm his aesthetic approach and his art.
In this period he created many fragrances for Rochas (Chiffon, after renamed Mousseline, Mouche, La Rose and Moustache, based on an inspiration by his wife Thérèse), but in 1947 he met Serge Heftler-Louiche, director of Dior Fragrances and he started to create also for this brand with Diorama. Nevertheless he remained always an independent perfumer and has created also for other brands (e.g. Eau d’Hermes).
In 1949 he left Paris and he went to Cabris, in the south of France. He decided to go there to work in a different environment, surrounded by a big garden where he starts to cultivate aromatic plants and flowers, not to obtain the essential oils, but to be inspired by nature.
In this new environment he could create fragrances, but also write lot of articles about perfumery and aesthethics. His style changes becoming more rigouros and pure and also his formulation becomes more simple. This is the period of his renowned masterpieces: Diorissimo in 1956, Eau Sauvage in 1966 and Diorella in 1972.
According to Roudnitska’s words, for many years, most of his efforts have been concentrated on defending the creative side of the perfume industry and the recognition of the artistic copyright of this creativity.
Le Parfum de Thérèse
by Edmond Roudnitska for Editions de Parfum Frédéric Malle
Composed in the 50s by Edmond Roudnistka, it was never commercially produced and remained a well-kept secret. Thérèse, Roudnitska’s wife, was the only person allowed to wear it. Considered a masterpiece due to its water-fruit accord, and 40 years ahead of its time, this complex fragrance is also reminiscent of glorious perfumes of the past. A vintage fragrance that epitomizes its creator’s style.
In 2000, when Frédéric Malle launched his brand Editions de Parfums, he asked Thérèse to be allowed to “publish” this legendary perfume, well-known only in a restricted group of perfumers. Thérèse liked very much the project and now the fragrance is available to the public.