Meet : Maison Crivelli

Portrait | DECEMBER 7TH 2018

A NEW APPROACH TO PERFUME: MEET THIBAUD, FOUNDER OF MAISON CRIVELLI

Thibaud Crivelli is a born traveller. Far from confining himself to only one discipline, he has chosen perfume to bring his memories back to life. After spending 10 years in Asia, he founded Maison Crivelli and is developing a very sensorial approach to perfume while paying special attention to raw materials.


He is offering an extraordinary experience at Le Bon Marché which takes you on a journey to discover each perfume’s history and its raw materials with a unique video installation. Let’s meet Thibaud !

Could you present yourself to us? Can you tell us about your career path?


I was born and lived in France until I turned 20, but I remember feeling attracted to other cultures from the age of 10. This could be because of my family’s recent history, as for three generations we have all lived in the four corners of the globe, including Vietnam, Morocco, Lebanon and Australia.


I also developed a special relationship with fragrance at a very young age. As a child, I was struck by simple yet strong smells: the scents of the autumn undergrowth, wisteria in spring, old pharmaceutical jars in my father’s pharmacy, even the scent of beeswax on wooden floors. In 2006, I went to live in Beijing, and I stayed in Asia for about 10 years, which had a strong influence on me afterwards.

What are your sources of inspiration, and how do you nurture your imagination on a daily basis?


Besides perfume, I am greatly influenced by colours, gastronomy, drum rhythms and nature in general. My imagination comes, therefore, from real elements; I do not like fiction or surrealistic escapism.


I am inspired by contrasts, textures and the effects of shadows. For example, I prefer watching the shadow of a palm tree moving along a wall while listening to the sound of waves, rather than watching the palm tree itself.


There is something so strong in these oppositions! My approach is always active; it does not involve passive contemplation. I am constantly anticipating new surprises.

"Besides perfume, I am greatly influenced by colours, gastronomy, drum rhythms and nature in general. My imagination comes, therefore, from real elements; I do not like fiction or surrealistic escapism."

Are there any fragrances of choice that you like to work with?


All raw materials are sources of inspiration; each one has many facets which bring the imagination to life. I create by playing on the idea of surprise with unexpected combinations inspired by my most vivid memories.


There are some materials which I really love, and others less so. I like working with the unexpected facets of certain materials: the leathery facet of the osmanthus flower, for example, the lychee facet of roses, the peanut facet of vetiver or the bitter chocolate facet of patchouli. As well as some dry woods, such as cashmere.


I like mint, carrot and pepper spices, and notes of incense and styrax. Even cumin or cinnamon are very surprising and worth reinventing ! And there is one essential: bergamot.

What are the steps involved in making a perfume at Maison Crivelli?


Each perfume is inspired by unexpected discoveries of perfume raw materials, which awoke all my senses. I work with perfumers who I have chosen for their creativity, their personality, their generosity, and also their excellent technique.


I tell them about my memory of an experience I had, with surprising combinations of raw materials, and also with sounds, photographs, images and descriptions of textures. They suggest various options to me; I select one, which we work on together until we achieve an unexpected, very different and balanced creation. Behind each perfume lies, therefore, a very close relationship with a perfumer. It is real team work.

« Toutes les matières premières sont des sources d’inspiration, chacune a de multiples facettes qui font vivre l’imagination. Je crée avec l’idée de surprendre avec des associations inattendues inspirées de mes souvenirs les plus marquants. »

You are providing Le Bon Marché with a multi-sensory experience that brings together our sense of smell, of course, and sight, and you really help the customer to explore their senses; where did this philosophy come from ?


I recently realised the extent to which the experience of discovering a perfume is personal, and also mysterious and not properly understood. Many people love their perfume, but few really know why... Nowadays, perfume houses focus on their history, their DNA, or refer to the perfume’s raw materials in a very technical and automatic way. They seem to forget that each individual goes through a very personal sensory experience. For this reason, I wanted to provide a real focus on the essence of the perfume with videos, in order to reveal to each person how they perceive and understand the perfume.

What does Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche mean to you?


The epitome of refinement. It is a place of wonder, an artistic and sophisticated space, where it is worth taking your time. A special moment to discover incredible designs.


What are your favourite addresses on the Rive Gauche in Paris?


I have a wide variety of favourite addresses, mostly for food. Le Kult for its incredible cocktails, the Breizh Café for its Breton-Japanese fusion crepes, Godjo for its friendly Ethiopian cuisine, the Barthélémy cheese shop for its amazing selection. From time to time Little Tehran in the 15th arrondissement. At the moment, I am also enjoying discovering very good Asian restaurants in the 13th arrondissement.