First there was Marrakech, Tacit and Hwyl, and now comes Rōzu: Aesop’s fourth fragrance of its tightly curated perfume line is dedicated to the life cycle of the rose — a variation on the well-worn perfume category with the aesthete in mind.

Perfume-makers are seemingly always trying to refresh and redefine the classic rose scent, to the point that its reinventions might be met with a grown. Yet, our interests are piqued with Aesop’s fourth fragrance release Rōzu, where the brand has taken the conventional floral category and added its own nuanced, rather intellectual twist.

Aesop - Rozu
(Image credit: Julien T. Hamon)

Aesop has once again tapped Barnabé Fillion as the nose of this new release. The French perfumer is also the author behind 2017 release Hwyl and the revamped Marrakech Intense in 2015, not to mention other notable bottles such as Geranium 30 by Le Labo and La Remue by Les Foins. 

For this commission, Fillion drew inspiration from the life, work and times of the late modernist designer Charlotte Perriand, whose work as an interiors specialist had to develop in the shadow of patriarchy — namely, behind her colleagues Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. (She was notably rejected by the studio for her first job application in 1927, with the curt reason “we don’t embroider cushions here.”) Later, her talents were embraced when Le Corbusier needed someone to help furnish the pristine, modernist rooms he was creating during the rise of the machine age in the early 20th century. 

A recent retrospective at the Fondation Vuitton brought to light Perriand’s many pivotal contributions to the art of modern living — such as the famous ‘Chaise longue basculante B 306,’ which ended up being credited to Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. 

Charlotte Perriand in Japan, 1954.

When it comes to Rōzu, Fillion captures her independent, irreverent and intelligent spirit with a paradoxical notion of ‘tender intensity’, intended to appeal to all genders. During the development of the fragrance, Fillion and the Aesop team spent time with Perriand’s family: At her former apartment in Paris, her family’s chalet in Meribel (where the team shot the campaign visuals by Jacques Barsac, the husband of Perriand’s daughter, Pernette) as well as retraced Charlotte’s footsteps through her travels in her beloved Japan.

Imagine a montage of this R&D process and you’ll get Rōzu: a heart composed of Wabara garden rose, and piquant and fresh shiso that references Perriand’s love for Japan, which also brings in a sense of the verdant alpine environments that she frequented.

A light smoke from guaiac wood complements the muted spice palette in the background, while an earthy green vetiver extract is a nod to the men’s colognes the designer preferred to wear. Other notes of patchouli, myrrh and other powdery base notes rounds it all out into an unconventional rose perfume that certainly matches the universal, gender-fluid appeal of Aesop.

The new Rōzu by Aesop.

Priced at HK$1,300, Rōzu is packaged in a 50ml bottle and an elegant box set featuring imagery selected from Perriand’s archives — making for a thoughtful gift (especially during this season with Mother’s Day coming up) for any design aficionado. You can purchase Rōzu from 20 April 2020 at all Aesop stores, counters and online.

Evelyn Lok
Managing Editor
When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.