Indigo Perfumery is very proud and excited to announce that we have launched the fabulous fragrances of Papillon Perfumery! As the first stockist in the U.S., we are thrilled to offer these very special creations of Liz Moores, the creator and perfumer of Anubis,Angélique and Tobacco Rose.
Papillon’s artisan perfumes were first released in June, 2014.
Without further adieu, here is Liz Moores:
Please tell us about your journey……
What led you to create your own perfumes, much less launch a perfume company in this era of mega releases?
I started creating perfumes through a desire to learn more about fragrance. I thought how wonderful it would be to have my very own signature scent and set about creating one. This process led me to explore and learn everything I possibly could about materials, classic perfume construction and the interaction of blends. It certainly wasn’t an easy process but I was desperate to prove to myself that I could make a finished perfume. Anubis was the first perfume I ever made and it was a perfume I made for myself. Every time I wore Anubis people would comment on my perfume, sometimes even stopping me in the street to ask me what I was wearing. This led to me making up small bottles for friends and family and slowly word spread.
The interest in my early creation inspired me to start work on Tobacco Rose and Angelique alongside creating bespoke perfumes for private clients with the idea to create a brand. I think there was a huge degree of naiveté on my part as there were some huge obstacles to overcome. If I had any real idea of what the process would entail it would have scared the life out of me. Not knowing the potential pitfalls meant that I was able to push along, coping with the challenges and refusing to be defeated by them, often oblivious to the difficult task I was setting myself. It was a proud moment the day Papillon officially launched as there were days when I never thought it would happen.
In a time when there are more perfumes releases than ever before I knew my perfumes had to stand out. With no focus group (other than a handful of willing friends to act as guinea pigs) it was easy for me to simply make fragrances that I personally loved. I set the bar very high with my own work so I knew that the finished product had to be exceptional. If I didn’t love the perfumes then how could I expect anyone else to? In a time where there are so many perfumes to choose from I still believe that a perfume conceived and created with real thought and emotion stands a good chance of being a success. And a beautiful perfume will always sell.
Were there any especially helpful persons along the way?
There were a great many and I have been overwhelmed with the support and time that people have put aside to advise me or to simply chat. The perfume industry and community is surprisingly small and I wondered how easy it would be for me to be accepted. It was very touching to not only be accepted but also to now count these kind people as friends. I’m not sure I could ever thank them all enough.
Paul Sillence from United Perfumes is an old school friend who I hadn’t seen since we left school. With the powers of Facebook we got back in touch and he has been incredible. Some days I have bombarded the poor man with endless questions but he has always shown great patience with me. Paul has over 20 years experience in the industry and his knowledge is vast. He has helped with my understanding of the industry as a whole and has given me sound advice and led me to some invaluable contacts.
Nick Gilbert is a fragrance expert based in London. Nick and I became friends after meeting at a Perfume Lovers event over 3 years ago and we have remained in touch ever since. He is an amazing man who I have great affection for. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Nick and he also has answered so many of the questions I had about the industry, particularly retail as this is an area that Nick has great expertise in. He is also a very talented writer who wrote a stunning review of Angelique that absolutely captured the heart of this perfume.
There are the wonderful bloggers that I have been fortunate enough to meet and interact with via social media. All of these people I am now very lucky to count as friends. Their beautiful and evocative reviews of Papillon’s 3 perfumes have conveyed them in a way I could only imagine. These reviews helped to take Papillon to a far wider audience and fire the imagination of their readers. I always think that it’s such a gift to be able to write about perfume, it is something I would be useless at. I have enormous respect for every one of them.
The people who have helped more than they know are my friends who have rallied around and helped with school runs when I have been busy in the studio, and the friends who gave their time and commitment to the entire project without receiving a penny for doing so.
Which artists or creative people are you inspired by?
I have a great love for history, so I am frequently inspired by writers of this genre. The author Catharine Arnold has written some fantastic historical books; City of Sin: London and it’s Vices, Necropolis: London and it’s Dead and Bedlam: London and it’s Mad. Hilary mantel is another writer who’s work I enjoy very much, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies were incredible works of fiction woven around solid historical fact . Sometimes a word or a line from a book is enough to spark my imagination when creating a perfume.
I think a perfume should have texture and this effect in Angelique was inspired by sculpture La Pieta by Michelangelo. The folds on Mary’s dress are so incredibly rendered that it defies belief that the image before you is carved from marble. The first time I saw this sculpture at The Vatican I was staggered by the sheer size but fascinated by the skill in transforming one element into another. I particularly love sculpture as an art form for this reason.
There are so many creative people that inspire me whether that be dancers, gardeners or chefs, manipulating form to produce a thing of beauty or interest always draws me closer.
What influences your style?
My personal style changes on a day-to-day basis and this is often reflected in my perfumes. I have days where I crave the serene coolness of orris and weeks where I want to be drenched in tuberose. When I am creating a perfume my style is influenced largely by what I am trying to express at that moment in time. Holding onto feelings and emotions, memories or responses is very important to me while I’m working; I can’t simply sit at my perfumers organ and expect to create unless I’m in the moment and feeling it. The process is exhaustive but for me personally, it’s the only way I can work.
Nature often influences my creations and this is most apparent in Tobacco Rose and Angelique. Both of these perfumes were directly inspired by the nature in my garden. Tobacco Rose is my olfactory portrait of a rose almost at the point of death, buried deep in the wet earth after a thunderstorm. I remember smelling these elements in my garden and wanting to capture them in a perfume. It was the perfume that has challenged me more than any other to date but the one that I am probably the most proud of. I very nearly gave up on this perfume and surprised myself with my tenacity when I didn’t so it taught me a lot too.
Often a beautiful material will present itself to me that I know I simply have to use although this merely prompts the creation process. I then attempt to unlock the material and find links with other links inside my head. Often a thread will appear that begin to join the materials, ideas and elements coming together to start to form a story. It is from this point that I then have a foundation for a perfume. The rest is trial, error and inevitably hundreds and hundreds of mods before a finished perfume will emerge.
What is a typical work day for you?
My work with Papillon is often blurred with the work of looking after my 5 children although I am learning to be a little more organised and structure my days better. After the morning school run, I deal with any emails that I need to reply to and package up any orders for samples or full bottles of perfume. If there are new batches that need to be made up I usually dedicate the entire day to this process and tie this in with filling our sample bottles. Another day would be spent decanting full size bottles and packaging them. Once a week I run through a stock check in the studio and make contact with my suppliers to check availability for stock going forward.
If I am working on a bespoke perfume for a private client, this process takes 6 months and so my working days are devoted to this. The usual day to day tasks I will then complete in the evenings with the help of my partner Simon.
Simon usually arrives at the studio by 4pm and he will then deal with our stockists or complete any overseas packing that needs to be done. His work with Papillon covers many more aspects and we are constantly finding new roles for us both.
It’s all very hands on and truly artisan in every sense of the word. Nothing is out-sourced, everything is completely handcrafted, compounded, macerated, bottled and packaged within our studio. I am very protective over my batches and I have never handed that job over to anyone.
I’ve been working on a couple of formulas for the past 3 years and when I have time I move back to these and have a play, create yet another mod and decide where the composition is going. Unfortunately there hasn’t much spare time recently to devote to these mods but one of them is showing potential. Hopefully it will appear in the collection one day. Early feedback from those closest to me is very positive and my eldest daughter is currently trialing the most recent mod. She loves it but I have to keep reminding her that its not a finished perfume!
How and when do you pamper yourself?
There hasn’t been enough of this recently! I had my beautiful daughter 8 months ago so pamper time has taken a back seat. When I do have the time I love to treat myself to a facial or a massage, sometimes a meal in a beautiful restaurant. Simply spending time with my horse, even if I’m not riding him is very cathartic for me. It might not sound like pampering but I certainly leave his company feeling so much better about everything so that in itself feels wonderful. My favourite way to unwind is a deep bath followed by peace and quiet so I can read a good book while someone brings me a pot of tea and a slice of cake. Perfect.
What are your plans for Papillon Perfumery?
Everything with Papillon, right from the very beginning has grown organically. It sounds like a terrible cliché but it’s so true. We have been approached by some amazing stockists from around the world, so we are currently looking to take our perfumes to a wider audience. The stockists have all approached us, which is not only a huge compliment but also upholds the organic way that Papillon has developed. We want to expand the brand slowly and without forcing it too much. So many amazing opportunities have presented themselves to us that sometimes it feels like Papillon has a life of it’s very own. It has taken a long time arriving at this point so it would seem reckless to bend Papillon to our will when so much has happened for the brand when we have been patient and taken our time.
There are also the 2 mods that I have been working on so I would love to see those added to the collection in the near future.
We are extremely excited to see what the future holds with Papillon and are looking forward to sharing this with all of the people who have championed us from the very beginning.