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Distilling the rainbow in a scent: Mary Katrantzou talks about her first perfume with Bvlgari

“Smelling this perfume instantly reminds me of my childhood summers in Greece,” says the fashion designer on her latest collaboration, the Bvlgari Omnia by Mary Katrantzou fragrance.

You know you’ve got a good thing going on when realise how well you work with someone. That was exactly what fashion designer Mary Katrantzou and Mirreira Lopez Montoya, the MD of Bvlgari Accessories felt when they first worked together for Katrantzou’s first couture fashion show in Greece back in 2019. A friendship was forged, and Montoya later invited Katrantzou back to be part of Bvlgari’s “Serpenti: Through The Eyes Of” designer series.

This collaboration later progressed to Katrantzou creating her very first fragrance, and for Bvlgari nonetheless. The Bvlgari Omnia by Mary Katrantzou perfume showcases how the Greek designer lends her signature touch to one of Bvlgari’s iconic fragrances — exuberant, joyful, and bold.

Naturally, what could smell more joyful than flowers? The Bvlgari Omnia by Mary Katrantzou is a floral fragrance with a vibrant cocktail of mandarin, gardenia accord, and fig leaf notes. At the heart of the fragrance is Gardenia, Katrantzou’s favourite flower, which Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas has blended with mandarin and fig leaves for a touch of luminosity and freshness. The resulting scent is one that is altogether explosive and flashy, just like its dazzling rainbow flacon.

I re-imagined the Omnia bottle as a sculptural vase holding a bouquet of flowers and colours that represent the notes Alberto Morillas used to create together this universe of optimism. The combination of gardenia and the luminous notes of mandarin and orange blossom, resulted in an uplifting scent that settles like a memory into your soul.

Mary Katrantzou

To find out more about her role in creating Bvlgari Omnia by Mary Katrantzou, we spoke to Katrantzou herself on her inspiration, the challenges she faced in creating a perfume for the first time, and how she feels when smelling the fragrance for the very first time.

What were your first thoughts when you were asked to reinterpret the Omnia fragrance in your own way?

I hadn’t explored the world of fragrance before, so it was an exciting challenge.  Studying the world of Omnia and its brilliant colours, I  wanted to find inspiration in the rainbow as a symbol of positivity and inclusion. My intention was to use colour as a wellness tool and create a fragrance that is uplifting and joyful. This collaboration made me believe even more that creativity is a force for good. A way to infuse optimism into our life. With it being an uncertain time for most people, I really wanted to be able to affect positive change by lifting our spirit. 

What were the first design elements that you wanted to inject into the Omnia fragrance?

Drawing on a vibrant colour palette, I was excited to re-invent OMNIA’s iconic infinity-shaped bottle. I re-imagined the Omnia bottle as a vase holding a bouquet of flowers, representative of all the different notes used in the scent – visually telling the story of the fragrance itself.

This is the first fragrance you’ve designed — what was your creative process like in undertaking this new challenge?

When there is a strong creative marriage between brands, it allows you the freedom to really explore your imagination and creatively challenge yourself. Our entire collaboration was unorthodox as it occurred in the middle of the pandemic. I had only met with Master Perfumer Alberto Morillas once in London before the lockdown and during this time we defined the direction of the scent. We talked about my childhood memories, my favourite smells and discussed my initial brief: to distill the rainbow into a scent. Doing everything entirely remotely, I think you take most decisions on instinct and fragrance by nature is very personal. It really heightened all our other senses that guided all the decisions around this collaboration. 

Why did you decide on a floral perfume?

I believe that taking pleasure in the beauty of nature and engaging in spiritual pursuits is more important now, than ever before. This is why the uplifting scent of flowers became one of the foundations to create this fragrance. To me, one of life’s purest pleasures is the smell of an unforgettable bloom.

What are your first thoughts when smelling this perfume?

Smelling this perfume instantly reminds me of my childhood summers in Greece. When I was younger, there was a beautiful gardenia tree in the garden. My mother always used to cut fresh gardenia blooms and place them on my bedside table. It was the first scent I woke up to, and the last scent before I fell asleep.

What do you want people to feel when they see, touch, and smell this fragrance that you’ve designed?

As a creator, my hope is that through purposeful design, we can make the world a little bit more beautiful and joyous. I wanted to convey this message of optimism and hope women experience an uplifting energy when they wear our fragrance and discover its different layers. I hope our addition to the Omnia family brings joy to women and settles like a memory into their soul.

Distilling the rainbow in a scent: Mary Katrantzou talks about her first perfume with Bvlgari

PohNee Chin

Editor, Kuala Lumpur

Poh Nee is the editor and writes about travel and drinks. When she's not living out her holiday dreams via Google Earth and sipping on an Old Fashioned down at the local bars, you can find her snug at home bingeing on Netflix and mystery fiction.


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