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The Soul of Perfume: Fragrance Foundation Awards 2015

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The Fragrance Foundation has announced the winners (finalists listed here) of the 2015 Fragrance Foundation Awards. (See the 2014 winners here.)

The ceremony, held at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, included celebrity presenters such as Kendall Jenner, Naomi Campbell and host Alec Baldwin.

But the focus was on fragrance and the leading minds behind the world’s top launches.

“Fragrance has a Soul”

Gilbert Ghostine, CEO of Firmenich, and Patrick Firmenich, vice chairman of Firmenich, helped honor perfumer Annie Buzantian, who received the Perfumer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award. Ghostine noted that Buzantian thrives when breaking into uncharted territory, an invaluable trait for a perfumer. Buzantian, the first woman to receive this top honor, noted that “every fragrance has a soul, a personality.”

She recalled a childhood visit to a rose field and her first encounter with rose oil, which sparked her love for fragrance. Today, Buzantian still drafts her formulas by hand in order to create without a focus on commercial considerations. “Perfumery teaches you to be humble,” said Buzantian, who joined Firmenich in the early 1970s and worked on a range of consumer product categories before moving into fine fragrance perfumery.

Quoting the poet Tennyson, she concluded, “I am a part of all that I have met.” She added, “As perfumers we leave a piece of ourselves in our perfumes.”

Honoring Creative Perfumery

IFF and perfumery Clément Gavarry were recognized for the creation of Aramis Perfume Calligraphy Saffron. In accepting the honor along with Estee Lauder’s Trudi Loren, Gavarry declared, “nature is the essence of perfumery,” and added that perfumers should endeavor to use as many of these rare ingredients as possible.

Seeing the Future

Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO of The Estée Lauder Companies, led the recognition of John Demsey, group president of The Estée Lauder Companies, who was this year’s Hall of Fame honoree. Demsey began his career in retail stores such as Bloomingdales. He has been with Estée Lauder for 24 years, working in both cosmetics and fragrance.

Today, he oversees numerous fragrance brands, including Tom Ford, Aerin, Estée Lauder and Frederic Malle. Demsey, who received a special video tribute from designer Tom Ford, was recognized for his special bond with the designer community and his charity work for AIDS foundations.

Onstage, the honoree thanked Freda and William Lauder and noted that the first event he attended upon his arrival in New York in 1981 was the Fragrance Foundation Awards. He also thanked his creative and brand teams. He noted some advice he received early in his career: “Whenever you don’t know what to do, the answer is always in the room.”

He added, “If you can’t see the future, you’ll never get there.”

  • Fragrance of the Year: Men’s Popular: Modern Banana Republic Man (Inter Parfums USA LLC)
  • Fragrance of the Year: Women’s Popular: Taylor Swift Incredible Things (Elizabeth Arden)
  • Fragrance of the Year: Men’s Prestige: Dior Homme Eau for Men (Parfums Christian Dior)
  • Fragrance of the Year: Women’s Prestige: Giorgio Armani Sì Eau de Parfum (L’Oréal)
  • Fragrance of the Year: Men’s Luxury: Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi (Tom Ford Beauty)
  • Fragrance of the Year: Women’s Luxury: Tom Ford Velvet Orchid (Tom Ford Beauty)
  • Fragrance Hall of Fame: J’adore (Parfums Christian Dior) • Packaging of the Year: Men’s: Intoxicated (By Kilian)
  • Packaging of the Year: Women’s: Daisy Dream Marc Jacobs (Coty Inc.)
  • Interior Scent Collection of the Year: Hermès le Parfum de la Maison (Beauté Prestige International)
  • Media Campaign of the Year: Men’s: Dior Homme Eau for Men (Parfums Christian Dior)
  • Media Campaign of the Year: Women’s: J’adore (Parfums Christian Dior)
  • Bath and Body Line of the Year: Hermès Le Bain (Beauté Prestige International)
  • Indie Fragrance of the Year: Intoxicated (By Kilian)
  • Consumer Choice Awards Finalists: Prestige: Daisy Dream Marc Jacobs (Coty Inc.)