10 Questions with Meredith Waga & Tony Perez of Belle Fleur NY

1. How did your background in fashion/architecture help you build your brand?

Diverse backgrounds bring a completely fresh and different facet to how we approach and think about designing flowers and/or fragrances. There’s an inherent order and an anchoring to concept in architecture which bodes well in fragrance creation, and fashion is rooted in texture, color, pattern and composition, so these backgrounds have been instrumental in guiding our aesthetics and creativity, ensuring we are always looking at things from various perspectives.

2. What are the most important qualities of your brand?

Authenticity. We are a brand whose products and services were born out of a true passion for what we do, and we are experts in our fields. But it goes further: We are interested in promoting a scent that makes connections to places, history and nature with the belief that modern perfumery should be less revolutionary and more evolutionary in process - where a respect for nature, the raw materials and the art of fine craftsmanship are the foundation of our brand values.

3. What is a scent that you connect to & use often?

Meredith: For me it’s Pétales d’Amour – it’s such a romantic and delicate fruity floral that is uplifting, flirty and feminine. Notes of jasmine, black currant, fig and rose, with a touch of sandalwood.

Tony: Paradis, a new aroma we created specifically for Hennessy, is the most unique fragrance we created to date. We were commissioned to create an olfactive interpretation for the launch of a very rare Hennessy cognac. It’s an intoxicating, boozy, oakwood, smoked floral that represents an old school redux with a modern feel.

4. What are some of your favorite flowers/scents to work with?

MEREDITH: I’m a true romantic so my go-to flowers & scents are heady, warm and sweet, including gardenias, tuberose and fig.

TONY: Quite the contrary, I a drawn to more exotic woods and resins like oud and benzoin, that remind me of growing up in Europe and the Middle East.

5. How is it working as a couple? Do you run into any challenges running a company together?

There are always challenges with partnerships, but there’s a level of trust and compatibility that works in our favor. We have a great appreciation for our very different approaches to both design and business, but it’s fusing of these juxtaposing ideas that makes for a successful team and a stellar finished product.

6. What are some similarities between fragrance and architecture?

People are genuinely shocked when they hear us say there is very little different in the process of designing a building versus a fragrance. Architecture and fragrance go hand in hand when you consider both necessitate structure, composition and materials. There is a direct correlation between the fragrance pyramid and the materiality of architecture – an aroma’s top notes equate to transparency/lightness, heart notes equate to the connective core of a building and the base notes directly correlate to a building’s foundation. Thoughtfully composed, you can have a lasting, beautiful and iconic aroma/building.

7. How do you begin your process of creating a new Belle Fleur scent, what are the first steps?

It could be as simple as a memory, an event or even an encounter. Our latest fragrance launch, Scarlet Flower, came from going to the Metropolitan Opera to see Bizet’s Carmen last year. We were struck by the scene where Carmen tosses a Cassia Flower at her love interest’s feet to get his attention, and that’s all it took for us. We had to make an aroma that represented this impetuous, passionate love story.

8. How do you choose your ingredients for Belle Fleur products?

We always start with materials we love, but we look for provocative ways to present them. That usually means looking at elements that normally wouldn’t go well together and finding ways to celebrate that contrast. Taking a mimosa or violet for example, with is delicate and powdery notes and playing that against a deep, resinous or balsamic wood accord. We just love the unexpected.

9. Tell us a bit out the process of creating a scent.

It’s a mental exercise at first as we run through the concept and ideas for materials we’d like to use. Once we have a general notion of where we’d like to go, we start to experiment with different accords and essences to capture what is on our minds and when we feel we are close, we call on our perfumer to refine the idea and give us something truly beautiful. Sometimes we nail it only after a few tries, other times it takes a bit longer to refine.

10. Please tell us about the emotional connections to the flowers chosen to be used in certain scents.

We are not emotionally connected to any one flower in particular, but rather the combination of raw materials and what that can evoke. Much like a signature Belle Fleur bouquet, our fragrances are complex with layers of varied blooms which are nestled together. We’re selecting these mixed scents based on a narrative that we are creating, it’s much like storytelling with fragrances.

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new ScentSpeakers which is cutting edge Bluetooth aromatic technology. We have 12 very different scents to select from, each one transforming space in a very modern way.

10 Qs with...Michele Iacovelli