« It’s a very intimate relationship we have with our perfumes. For my part, I need to be proud of them and in love with them. »

Nathalie Cetto

L’Air du Temps Antoinette Poisson in the words of the perfumers who made it

L’Air du Temps x Antoinette Poisson - Nina Ricci

The floral, spicy and sunny L’Air du Temps has been leaving a breeze infused with joyfulness and frivolity in its wake since 1948.

The perfume is back in a new limited edition as a fragrance revisited by perfumers Louise Turner and Nathalie Cetto and contained in an elegant bottle designed by Antoinette Poisson, the Parisian maison specializing incovetable handmade wallpapers.

We took the opportunity to talk to the duo of ‘noses’ about the 2022 incarnation of the legendary fragrance and their relationship with perfumery.

L’Air du Temps x Antoinette Poisson - Nina Ricci
L’Air du Temps x Antoinette Poisson - Nina Ricci
L’Air du Temps x Antoinette Poisson - Nina Ricci

How does working on a perfume with a long history make your job even more exciting? 

Louise: It’s a real challenge. Even when you’ve got a perfect understanding of it, it’s intimidating to take on a fragrance that iconic and feel up to it. Can we do something as good as that? Never. But the challenge is thrilling.

All the complexity lies in the idea of respecting what makes it unique, its values, while also giving it a new personality. 

Nathalie: That’s exactly it. It’s equal parts intimidating and rewarding revisiting a longstanding fragrance like this with such a unique character. Ours has retained the floral notes of the original fragrance, but in a more sensual, more gourmand version. 

« It’s intimidating to take on a fragrance that iconic and feel up to it. »

Louise Turner

How do two noses create a perfume together? 

It’s not always easy to create something with another perfumer. It requires a certain degree of affinity and admiration, I think.

Nathalie and I had already worked together quite a bit and knew each other well, so I think it comes down to a smooth rapport and also both people having a unique way to tell a story.

With L’Air du Temps, it’s quite a funny example - it was almost a textbook case. It was a perfect match between our two fragrances right from the beginning; they were made for each other.

Yes, it’s very rare to get that point, to put two fragrances together and get a perfume that just works.

Louise’s fragrance was very much on the sensual side whereas mine was more floral. The two fitted together naturally. 

L’Air du Temps x Antoinette Poisson - Nina Ricci

When you are putting together a perfume, is your priority the people who will wear it or is it first and foremost a selfish pleasure? 

A bit of both. I think of the people who’ll wear it often, but it’s still a selfish pleasure, not in the end result but in the doing of it. When you start a new project, you know you’ll be working on it for months and months, so it’s essential to work with accords you like. Pleasure is vital in this job.

And also, it’s a very intimate relationship we have with our perfumes. For my part, I need to be proud of them and in love with them. 

Louise: I would say more selfish, yes. It’s hard to work with notes I don’t like. If I don’t like it, I don’t think other people could like it. 

« What does L'Air du Temps leave in its wake? A floral, spicy, almost solar breath. Happiness. Something that cannot be explained and that makes you smile. »

Louise Turner and Nathalie Cetto

L’Air du Temps x Antoinette Poisson - Nina Ricci

How would you describe L’Air du Temps in three sensations? 

Breath of inspiration. Skin. Spicy.

Breath of inspiration. Sensuality. Being enveloped. 

What role does fashion play in your creative process? What did you take from the Nina Ricci spirit when making this perfume? 

In a general sense, fashion enables you to determine the world, the spirit, the kind of femininity of a perfume, which is why it’s great when there’s a correspondence between the two worlds like at Nina Ricci. Their fashion is super-relatable but unique. We had to put in an element of that. 

Exactly. When you say to me Nina Ricci, I know exactly what their fashion represents. It’s joyful, very colourful, feminine, timeless and vivacious! L’Air du Temps, I hope, reflects that spirit.

If L’Air Du Temps could take a form, what would it be? 

The first image that comes to mind is a caryatid, one of those statues of draped, powerful women supporting entablatures on their heads. But then there’s also dove feathers, down... 

Louise: This perfume is so closely associated with its bottle with two doves on the lid that I see the form of a bird straight away. It’s a form with wings. 

What is the scent of timelessness?

Nathalie: Musks, as they last so many hours.

Louise: Patchouli. While we’ve done different things with it, there will never be any substitute for it. 

What is the scent of happiness? 

: Honeysuckle - it reminds me of my garden. It’s a comforting, positive scent. I just love it, I never get tired of it. 

Nathalie: Citrus notes. For zing, freshness, joyfulness. The smell of lemon or lime zest makes me happy. 

What is the scent of a woman? 

It calls for a kind of sensuality and I find that the most beautiful kind of sensuality is chypre accords. 

Louise: A musky note. It’s sensual and clean and white. It’s a scent without being a perfume, almost a second skin.