The Craft behind Craft & Glamour

Celebrating the launch of our new collaboration with The Royal Opera House, we speak with Mylene Alran, the perfumer behind our evocative fragrance.

Mylene, you’ve created a beautiful and complex fragrance, can you describe your first impressions when you visited The Royal Opera House?

I was so honoured to be there and to have the opportunity to venture ‘behind the scenes.’

It was very special to me as I danced for more than 20 years, especially ballet and I have a lot of good memories of the time passed behind the scenes just before representations. We were there with friends, working and working, dancing in the same sort of atmosphere. I can remember the dark light, the silences and songs, the smell of the dusty carpets and the old parquets… So precious!

When I visited the Royal Opera House, which is an incredible place, I immediately felt peaceful even though the building is somewhat of a labyrinth. I was so inspired and curious to discover each part of the beautiful building.

My first idea was to create a perfume very rich and intense with beautiful raw material to make a parallel with all the complexity, beauty and richness of the Opera.

Were there any particular spaces or secret places which inspired you and were there any surprises throughout the olfactory journey?

There are two places which especially touched me in a olfactive way of course but also because of a kind of magical atmosphere. One was the “engine room”, it’s really like in a boat, under the stage. This place is like the heart of the Royal Opera House, I remember clearly a mix of dark woody notes coming from the parquet with the metallic and grease aspects of the machines. We were like “wow” – I didn’t expect that kind of smell in an Opera… and the surprise was it actually smelling very very good!

The other place was backstage, I didn’t want to leave this bit. I could pass hours in this place smelling and looking at everything. A mix of suits, masks, and box of dry flowers, tins of paint, some of them opened. Pictures, pencils, brushes, books, wax, candelabrums, plaster, there was even a sawmill. The mix of wood, paint, wax, solvent, metallic even dust smells was fascinating and unforgettable.

I felt so lucky to be there and I learn a lot about the operation of the Opera.

Finally, would you prefer to be behind the scenes, creating and crafting,  or centre stage, performing? Maybe, like Craft & Glamour, you’re a bit of both...

I’m definitely both. I would like to be always behind the scene, because it’s maybe more comfortable to be hidden. But it’s important to have the opportunity to be present and sometimes have to take centre stage, to be able to share, to explain. I love to share my emotion through perfumes but I also really appreciate having the chance to speak about my work and the collaboration with beautiful brands like Miller Harris.