Hot off the release of his new Sydney Rock Pool fragrance, we squeezed in a chat with the ever-dashing founder of ARQUISTE Parfumeur Carlos Huber to discuss inspiration, his love of history, and why it’s always important to keep your message clear.
What is perfume to you? Perfume is like being dropped into a specific point in history — to the landscape, the vegetation, the cosmetics, the construction materials and even what people are wearing.
How did you become a perfumer? I’m an architect by trade, but after becoming friends with a perfumer I became interested in the world of fragrance. I was introduced to their lab and subsequently given classes on perfumery. I was learning a lot about history, from perfume to art, and that love for history sparked the idea. I brought it back to all these perfumers and they thought it was a great concept for a brand. I started showing it to more people, getting connections to different retailers and people in the industry to get their views and before long, it took off.
How much has changed since those humble beginnings? I never lose sight of the initial idea — which is grabbing moments in time that are personal. I use interests of mine instead of making it about a formula that will appeal to everybody, I’ve always thought that making it very unique and specific is something that needs to be done.
All of your scents are so evocative and Sydney Rock Pool is no different. What does this fragrance mean to you? It is a moment in time that I wanted to create, my idea of Sydney and my connection with it. I wanted to share this because the overall Sydney experience is something that everybody can share and relate to — everybody loves the beach! I wanted to create something that surfaces all our wonderful beach memories, as a collective experience.
Do you find it difficult to appeal to consumers without following trends? Yes, it is hard, especially right now. We all think we want to be unique and individual, but at the same time, the way we are bombarded in social media, and the way brands are represented, means we’ve started to respond to trends rather than creating something for ourselves. We are losing a lot of innovation. I think the lesson to be learned is to be consistent; believe in yourself, keep your message clear, keep doing what you’re doing in the most organic way — because that’s what people respond to.
What do you think makes a fragrance sell? Anyone can put on a regular orange blossom essential oil, anyone can use vanilla, but the perfumer creates something that didn’t exist before by uniting all these ingredients in a new formula. In addition to that, there are certain ingredients that act as codes, in a way. They are familiar, people can relate to them. A new creation with little ‘hooks’ that people can attach to, is what sells a perfume.
How do you navigate the toxic beauty issue? This issue isn’t black and white. Not all synthetics are necessarily bad for you, but some are worse than others. For example, good synthetics prevent you from using animal products and toxic organics. What people don’t realise is that there are a lot of natural products out there that are toxic — people were dying from poisonous things in the natural world before we created our own chemicals. Plus, many people are doing things for the sake of green that is actually really negative. Its all about education, and focusing on something that is conflict-free first and foremost.
The Sydney Rock Pool fragrance is available at WORLD.