A Legendary Fragrance Collaboration

Phuong Dang, founder of Phuong Dang Perfumes, will be in town on Friday, December 8, to announce the launch of her new fragrance, “Artist.” Artist is a perfume that boasts a richly evocative scent, which conjures up the never-ending curiosity, eternal hope, and outsized dreams of an artist’s perspective. The opulent and magnetic scent was produced in collaboration with renowned perfumers Mark Buxton and Bertrand Duchaufour, and Phuong Dang discusses the group’s journey to create the fragrance below.

Q: Welcome to New York! You’re based in Singapore. What do you love about this city, and why do you think Barneys is the perfect place to launch Artist?

A: New York has a very special place in my heart—incredible energy everywhere, open-minded people, and always something new around every corner. I take inspiration from it’s expansive art and culture, the details of stunning architecture, the innovative culinary scene, and the world-class music. I’m always sad to leave and happy to come back. In my eyes, Barneys New York has very unique character and style unlike any other store. It’s a perfect window to the world.

Q: What was your initial inspiration for Artist? Did it change over the course of creating the scent and if yes, how?

A: As an artist myself, I’m driven by curiosity and the desire to make things, to create. With Artist, I wanted to capture and express that feeling in a scent. A true artist is constantly seeking and exploring, questioning the world around them, and creating new worlds. It’s a difficult and challenging life, but the urge to create is unstoppable—for me, at least.

The scent’s spirit, which remained constant throughout the whole making process, is based on my writing for Artist:

Question everything you see, hear, should believe. Chase the urge, the want, the need, to know the matrix of life. Find the answer, the dream, the consonance you ultimately seek.

Q: Bertrand Duchaufour and Mark Buxton have never collaborated on a scent together until now. How did this come about and why does it make sense for these two iconic perfumers to collaborate together?

A: Bertrand and Mark are hugely talented perfumers, both with outstanding levels of technical expertise. However, their styles and strengths are very different. Mark’s approach is audacious and irreverent, while Bertrand’s is unrestrained and expansive.

I decided to invite Mark, with his own perfumer’s handwriting, to both collaborate and compete with Bertrand, for the first time ever, on a project. I had to try to find my own ways to bring out the best in each of them and at the same time, combine their talents to tell this compelling story in a scent: the solitary intent and life-long commitment to the pursuit of excellence of an artist, driven by curiosity and passion.

Q: What was the process like between you, Bertrand, and Mark?

A: Having convinced them both to accept this project, I also suggested to them a three-way working method for us, since they work separately in their own labs and I am not based in Paris.

Several weeks later, Bertrand and Mark sent to me their proposed interpretations of the scent based on my writing, vision, and initial suggestions. It took them two attempts before I finally chose Mark’s unusual and compelling accord with its daring dosages of iris absolute, and an exclusive real natural ambergris as our starting point to build Artist.

This combination of unusually high doses of these two remarkable ingredients give an intense complexity and a sense of strangeness, like a dream carrying you far away. Together they capture perfectly the quest, hopes, and dreams of an artist’s perspective.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add about the creation of Artist and why it’s such a special fragrance?

A: Both Mark and Bertrand have the incredible ability to listen with precision and patience. I feel so humble to have gained their trust in my instinct throughout the creation of Artist. I was also able to learn a great deal from them both, each time we defined and refined the formula as we witnessed the perfume take its final form.

It was perfect teamwork with a remarkable result, and certainly one of my most cherished experiences.

Artist will be available for purchase at Barneys on Madison Avenue and at barneys.com starting December 8.

For more information on the launch event and Phuong Dang’s perfumes, visit phuongdang.com.