Interviews The Comeback of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

The Comeback of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier

04/21/17 06:36:58 (6 comments)

by: Miguel Matos

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Logo

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier is considered to be one of the founders of niche perfumery. Rooted in the French perfumery tradition of the 17th century, the brand draws inspiration from travels, the world of opera and baroque aesthetics. 1988 was the year when the famous perfumer Jean-François Laporte founded MPG in Paris, opening with a line of 28 fragrances that year, including the hits Fraîcheur Muskissime, Vocalise and Ambre Précieux. After some troubled years following the death of its founder, the brand was acquired by Fahad Alturki in 2013 and since then everything has been reworked and improved. Besides the new design and better formulations, four new fragrances were launched in the new company: Ambre Doré (2013), Ambre Precieux Ultime (2014), Ambre Mythique (2016) and the re-edition of Santal Noble this year with an improved formula. During the last edition of Esxence I sat a while with Mr. Fahad and asked him some questions regarding the hard task of bringing Maître Parfumeur et Gantier back to its glory days.

Fahad Alturki


Miguel: You already were friends with the founder and you had a strong connection with the brand long before you acquired it, right?

Fahad: Yes I was a friend of Jean-François Laporte and I opened the first niche shop in the Middle East in 1989 with Maître Parfumeur et Gantier. I am connected to this brand for the last 25 years. Nobody knows it better than me now.

Miguel: We all know that Maître Parfumeur et Gantier went through difficult times before you took over the brand. Can you tell me about the decision of buying it and how did you do it?

Fahad: Back in 1988 I used to work with an interior designer decorating palaces in the Middle East and North Africa. Jean-François Laporte was a friend of his and when I met him I started to fall in love with the smell of amber that he was working with. I became a friend of him and he showed me the way he was doing his fragrances. I liked the way he was so exclusive. Then I opened the first niche boutique in the Middle East, in Riyadh and I started working with the brand. I traveled around the world and I founded it in New York, Paris, and other major cities.

After Jean-François Laporte died, the brand was sold to another company and I started reading bloggers' comments that it wasn't a niche brand anymore and the quality was no longer great. It was a good brand but it looked cheap. So I bought the brand and I hired a lot of consultants, designers, and graphic designers in order to improve the bottles. We didn't want it to be too classical so we could move in the direction of the current mood, with a better look and better materials. We also increased the volume inside the bottle which is now 120ml. And we made this heavy engraved cap made in Zamak. We wanted to make it look like a jewel because we see Maître Parfumeur et Gantier as the jewel of French niche perfumery. That's why we have the real Swarovski crystal on top of the cap, changing colors depending on the perfume family of each fragrance.
 

MPG Bottles

MPG Bottles

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier booth in Esxence 2017

Miguel: You also kept the iconic original boutique in Paris...

Fahad: Yes and I tried to modify the flagship store in Paris because it's a historical place and a very famous boutique. I didn't touch the ceiling and the marble but I put some modern touches in the space. Now we are opening doors internationally, including Harrods, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus, etc.
 

MPG store in Paris

Maître Parfumeur et Gantier flagship store in Paris Rue Capucines

Miguel: You acquired the brand in 2013. At the time what was the biggest difficulty that you had in order to bring the brand back to life?

Fahad: The improvement of the bottles was the toughest. But I also refined the materials used in the fragrances. I bought the highest ingredients in the market, not changing the formulas. I opened the old dossiers and worked from the original formulas. After a while, I saw that 30% of our sales were amber fragrances, and so I decided to create a new brand called Dear Diary, where amber is the center of all the compositions.

MOG bottle

Miguel: What are the plans for the future of MPG?

Fahad: We have been working on creating room fragrances for the restaurant Georges 5 in Paris, the Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh, the Fouquetes restaurant, Four Seasons Prague, Ritz Carlton Berlin... Next year we are thinking of launching a fragrance based on atlas cedarwood. We are also working on a contract with Rolls Royce for a car fragrance. We already have three shops and we are thinking about expanding to Florence, Cannes, Marbella or Barcelona. My idea is to have stand-alone shops, like Jo Malone. Another thing we would like to develop in the future would be the relaunch of a very special fragrance from our brand, Secrète Datura (1992) and we are starting to work on it so that will be very exciting since it is a really exceptional edition from our older fragrances.
 

Secrete Datura

Original edition of Secréte Datura, 1992

Miguel: How did the public react to this comeback?

Fahad: We have 30 fragrances and normally one person likes 10 of them. But I have never heard anybody saying that they really dislike any of them.
 

Miguel Matos had his own art magazine for 15 years and he was an art critic for Time Out Lisbon. He writes essays for museums and art galleries. He wrote the books Artistas Portugueses em Discurso Directo and Making the Body Think. Miguel joined Fragrantica in 2013 and edits its Portuguese version Fragrantica.com.br. As a fragrance curator, his first show was Project Synesthesia at Miguel Justino Gallery in Lisbon, along with the project room Per Fummum. Later he curated Making the Body Think at Casa da Cerca Contemporary Arts Center, in Almada, Portugal, with 6 perfumers. Miguel does conferences on perfume and writes for Beautyalmanac.com. Honorary Member of the International Perfume Bottle Association. He is the creative director of a scent line with Sven Pritzkoleit for the brand SP Parfums. His writing was recognized at the Fragrance Foundation Awards and the Perfumed Plume Awards in 2017.



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intersport
intersport

How nice to have some news on Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, honestly, to read that the so called 'improvement' of the bottles was the toughest is simply a shame - the original 90 ml Maître bottles were pretty good already - and the ever forward upscaling - first to 100ml and now to the perfectly unpractical size of 120ml should not be prioritized over getting their formulations back on track again. On a recent trip to Paris I managed to sample - with great anticipation - their latest version of Route du Vétiver (in that new 120ml flacon), sadly it does not reach to that unique rooty, vetegal, moisture opening that made the original 90 ml version so special. It reminded me of the reformulated and much lamented 100ml version. Prizes also raised quite a bit, must be the cost of all that 'lot of consultants, designers, and graphic designers in order to improve the bottles' … Now looking forward to smell the new version of Santal Noble !

Apr
22
2017
donna255
donna255

Very interesting. So glad someone who knows and loves the House is the owner. I have a number of the MPG's from way back.

Apr
22
2017
mellene
mellene

Miguel, what a marvelous interview of Fahad Alturki. I have been a serious follower of Jean-Francois Laporte back to his L'Artisan Perfumeur days. I am happy to hear of Fahad's work to restore prominence to Laporte's legacy.

Apr
22
2017
Readysniffer1
Readysniffer1

I've only smelled two of the ambers, but they are great. These bottles do look much more beautiful, Hope they're still attainably priced (and hope I get a chance to try more some day). Thank you for the interview.

Apr
21
2017
jeca
jeca

Miguel, I am grateful to you for your questions, but answers of Mr. Fahad sound a little disappointing. He is a businessman, and a successful one, but, for the next time, could he put his numbers and stores, and packaging aside and talk a little bit more about perfume art? Wasn't it his goal to preserve it for us, because he sounded like making money... Which is ok, but not THAT LOUD.

Why, oh why packaging and the quality of ingredients are so damn important? I wish he hire consultants for a better stories to tell about his own perfumes. Next time I hear how expensive packing is, I am going to scream! There was not a single word about actual perfumes...

If he is a good businessman, he will change his story next time, just for the sake of his romantic and passionate customers.

Apr
21
2017
guerlainfreak
guerlainfreak

Maitre is definitely a jewel in the niche world and somewhat of an oddity in today's mass marketed fragrance market. One can only hope that the new leadership can maintain a healthy balance between profits and the integrity of this brand.

Apr
21
2017

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