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terça-feira, 8 de março de 2016

Happy Birthday, Sophia Grojsman!

by: Sandra Raicevic Petrovic, Miguel Matos, Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison, Stefanie Jähn, Elena Knezhevich,

Today, March 8th, is Sophia Grojsman's birthday as well as International Women's Day. There is no need to introduce her, we all grew up with the perfumes she created. Sophia's unique style is recognizable and we can feel it in a great number of famous fragrances from the '80s and '90s. Sophia Grojsman didn't graduate from a perfume school, she was a hard working immigrant and a minority in a perfume world ruled by men, and still... she did it!
On this special occasion, we are taking some time to smell Sophia Grojsman's creations:
 
Sandra Raicevic Petrovic: the Lalique perfume is made for ladies. It possesses a noble composition cherished with elegance and light. A calm, creamy chord of sandalwood and pear surrounds a beautiful bouquet that gathers jasmine, iris and,  Sophia`s favorite, roses. A blackberry note crowns the compostion in a dark and irresistible way.
 
Elena Knezevic: Sophia told me the process of how the responsible team decided on  the final version by blind testing: among numerous tries, they ended up choosing the original version. "Of course, because it was finished before we started 'working on it'. I made it for myself and carried it in my purse in a small lab spray." How unreachable it was to me in my youth! All I could do was stare at Isabella Rossellini, dreaming of this seemingly perfect place, France, where these beautiful women lived and smiled at you so warmly. I believed that the softness of the fragrance had a connection with ladies that looked like that.
 
Miguel Matos: Estée Lauder Spellbound is probably one of the richest fragrances I have in my collection and one of the strongest perfumes Sophia Grojsman has made until now. The thickness of cloves and honey against a carnation background makes it a bomb of voluptuousness. Balmy, luxurious, sweet and loud, this was not a crowd pleaser. In fact, Spellbound has a lot of haters, but also many lovers and that is a characteristic of a grand work of art. I am a fan of Sophia Grojsman and I wish her a long and happy life full of success and more fragrant masterpieces.
 
Raluca Kirschner: Besides the jammy rose of Tresor and the fizzy Yvresse, I love Jaipur which is sadly discontinued today. Its appeal resides in the glorious balance between tart and floral nuances, maintaining a sparkling character from the crown down to the musky base. I haven`t found anything similar to replace it - because no one better mixes the juiciest fruits into the best smelling flowers. Bon anniversaire!
Marlen Harrison: Grojsman's rose-themed Paris for Yves St Laurent was a foundational fragrance for the era of shoulder pads and big hair - the 1980's. I remember Paris as a sparkling floral, sweet and tender with a warm, woody background. Though violet is a key player, I don't really detect it as much as I do the other spring blossoms such as hyacinth and lily. If 1990's Tresor is fruity, 1983's Paris is powdery with a hefty dose of mimosa and heliotrope. One of Grojsman's earliest mass-market fragrances, Paris would showcase her brilliance in working with classic florals such as rose.
 
Sofia Papasotiriou: This is an airy yet luscious scent, green and revitalizing, which gives you the qualities to escape from reality and live in a dream! The fruits release their juices while flowers unfold sheer petals to transport you into the blooming humidity of the rainforest. Thank you Sophia Grojsman for creating my signature scent!
 
Stefanie Jähn: Sophia Grojsman's Eternity was the fragrance I wore on my weddingday in 2008. Sophia Grojsman encapsuled the timeless dream of idealized family bliss in a rich bouquet of spicy warm carnation, narcissus, rose, sweet heliotrope and a cozy base of sandalwood and a laundry type of musk. Applied with a light hand it has an aura of calm, warm and confident femininity that lingers all day and leaves a soft and inviting trail. Steadiness, love, and warmth in a bottle. I love it and it will always bring back great memories of a special day - thank you Sophia Grojsman!
Serguey Borisov: One of my first western fragrances that came through The Iron Curtain to my siberian industrial city was - Eternity by Calvin Klein. It was just a tiny sample vial with the name Eternity on it. I was charmed. I was smitten. I was puzzled. The Eternity fragrance was nothing like I could smell in Soviet shops. It was so different and unworldly beautiful, I just couldn`t get enough of it.
I had a tiny vial, my Eternity was so limited! I found a way to use it extra thriftily: I applied only one little drop on my upper lip, right under my nose. Long live, Sophia, long love!
Lucia Remigi: There’s something very compelling and lively about Grojsman’s rendition of rose here – the Queen of Flowers feels flirtatious, extremely modern and romantic at the same time: its graceful entrance is introduced by the sparkling effervescence of wine-like red berries and the dark toned juiciness of blackberry, leading soon to a semi-powdery accord where violet joins rose in a delicious, soft and warm embrace that strongly reminds me of a waxy lipstick on my skin until the final whisper of creamy sandalwood, patchouli and musk takes the stage. Happy Birthday, Sophia, and thank you for all the fabulous creations you give to the world!
Elena Vosnaki: The queen of "overdosage", infusing a fragrance formula with a ultra-generous scoop of a shattering glass material or two for effect and structuring, made the perfect fruity floral in the middle of the 1980s when everyone else was decked inPoison or Opium or Giorgio. I remember discovering it in the early 1990s and feeling this was something totally new. Unbeknowst to her, she ushered a huge trend of the coming decades, when everyone gasped for "fresh" air. With heaps of overripe guava and the smell of what seems like grapefruit or pomelo, Calyx is that perfect thing: tart without being sour, intense without being bludgering one's head, like a familiar face from the past with an element of surprise. 

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y !

Interview with Sophia Grojsman





















 
 
The Art of Perfumery has its epochs and its titans. We can discuss social tensions and tastes of generations, but there are always great individuals who shake up traditions and open new doors for their contemporaries. I am speaking about Sophia Grojsman, one of the titans. Everyone knows her perfumes. Some of them are symbols of generations and evoke dearest memories to many of us: Lancome TresorBvlgari Pour FemmeCalvin Klein EternityEstee Lauder White LinenYves Saint Laurent Paris, etc. Now, as in the past, she is full of ideas.

Sophia Grojsman warmly responded to my request to meet her in New York IFF Office (International Flavors and Fragrances) despite her busy schedule, which I witnessed when I arrived.  Sophia was working simultaneously on revising one of her fragrances in accordance with the new fragrance ingredient regulations, finalizing a second perfume, and conceptualizing a third one (in the main chord stage). She was also working on a line of fragrances for detergents. I immediately became interested in the fragrance under revision, and received two blotters with the previous and the "new" versions of the fragrance. I noticed no difference, neither on paper nor on the skin.  When the work of perfumer is so good, the difference becomes unnoticeable.
 

Meet Sophia Grojsman
Sophia is one of the most famous contemporary perfumers and has achieved some of the perfume industry's highest honors. Sophia received the 1994 Cosmetic Executive Women's (CEW) Achiever Award for her lifetime contributions to perfumery. In 1996 she was honored by the American Society of Perfumers with the Living Legend Award. Sophia was honored again by the beauty industry's CEW in May 1999 for her lifetime achievements in the fragrance industry.

Sophia was born in Belarus, in village Ljubcha in Novogrusky region. The city Novogrudok once belonged to Poland, where her family moved in hope of a better future for the two daughters. Some of her brightest memories of her homeland are nature and forest flowers. Sophia was an excellent student and attended college in Poland, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in analytical inorganic chemistry. Sophia’s family was invited to the U.S. by a Jewish family Sophia’s father saved during the Nazi occupation. "I have much love and respect for my father. He was fearless and honest man, he loved us very much. I remember looking at him at a ceremony of Living Legend Award from the American Society of perfumers, he was infinitely happy."

"Once the family moved to the United States, I learned about freedom and I wanted to work.” At the IFF she held her first position as a lab technician for Ellie Fox, a perfumer at IFF. Sophia remembers the great support of two notable American perfumers, Josephine Catapano and Ernest Shiftan, and also Tom Joy, a sales person at Estee Lauder who introduced Sophia to Estee.
 
 
My Perfumes are My Children
Estee Lauder White LinenBoucheron JaipurCalvin Klein EternityLancome TresorBvlgari Pour FemmeYves Saint Laurent Paris - these perfumes are still today reinterpreted  in multiple seasonal editions. Sophia Grojsman is the perfumer behind some of the most successful fragrances of the past three decades.
 

Sophia lost track of how many perfumes she created. In addition to well-known brands, she did many non-commercial, small and custom projects. She is certain about one thing - she worked with unconditional dedication in all of her projects, so the question of her favorite perfume hardly makes any sense. In all of them, as with her children, she invested all her time and soul. But in our interview, Sophia was pleased to mention Eternity, which she did not recognize on a random passerby, and when she received the answer, she just smiled about the independent lives of her own creations.
 













 
She remembered her stay in Paris while working on Paris by Yves Saint Laurent. The violet, her favorite childhood scent and Guerlain Apres L'Onde served as inspiration. 100% Love was a daring project, says Sophia: “It’s a resounding and honest declaration of love, with vibrant sweet chords (pink berries, rose, and cocoa) on the background of musk with sexual notes of aroused human body.
















 
I am loyal to IFF, where I became a perfumer
The New York office of IFF occupies several floors in one of the towers near Central Park. Behind the glass door, you enter the realm of scents with photographs and ads of famous perfumes made by IFF perfumers. On one wall are pictures with perfumers and time-lines with the most famous perfumes by IFF. From 1980, half of them were made by Sophia Grojsman.

































 

Laboratory IFF is made of few large interconnected rooms with hundreds of little bottles on shelves, high precision scales, lab accessories, thinning and blending machines, etc. In the bottles are liquid or solid ingredients. At my request Sophia gave me a few varieties of musk notes, some of which I could not even recognize, to my great disappointment.


















 
Sophia compares the creation of perfume to music. Her compositions draw from small pieces, or chords, one of which is the main chord. Her work on a perfume usually begins by figuring out the main chord. Her chords never include more than five to seven notes, and this is generally so because when one is trying to improve a scent by adding notes, it only becomes "dirtier".































 








 
Sophia has an entire collection of such small pieces. Some of them are already included in perfumes ("This is a piece of Paris's heart.  This follows immediately after Calyx's opening.")  Some express her fantasies, and some blends reflect her current interests and will eventually end up in her future creations ("This is my fantasy about the gentleness of flower petals. I named it Petalia.")
A pretty base note is the main distinction of Sophia's style. "The perfume has to live long on the skin, and create an aura around it’s wearer. This is only possible with a well-conceived base." Sophia applied masterfully the fruits from which she draws a velvety, sensual and feminine warmth, and which, in my opinion, characterize her style more than flowers, specifically the roses which became her trademark.














 

Have you noticed that among many Sophia’s perfumes there are no male perfumes? "I was never interested in male fragrance, and if I would consider it, it would probably be too 'feminine.'" Sophia adheres to the viewpoint that the perfume must be identified by gender. It is a condition for the perfume to avoid losing its personality.
 














 

Perfume Industry Today

The mass perfumes industry, which should improve the general taste, instead copies successful designs, saves money on quality, and is focused on improving sales. "As a result we have, for example, surrogate replacements for "freshness" - a tedious salty lemonade. Think about what makes the fresh scent. To me, it's pure air, the smell of a green garden".

“You don’t like citrus?”, I asked having in mind a number of citrus perfumes created by Sophia. “Not quite,” she replied. “Citrus, like every ingredient you work with requires love and understanding.” Sophia identified as one of her fondest personal inventions the natural scent of orange blossom and grapefruit flower, which she enjoyed in Israel. The nice grapefruit flower scent later became the base forthe Calyx perfume. I would also add scents E andJelisaveta, where citrus literally dominates.

Sophia stated that nowadays in the process of creating a perfume there are too many "redundant" people involved. The conflicts presented by their interests and aesthetic views often work against the perfumer’s vision.
 
Does it make sense to improve what is already perfect?
Sophia is absolutely convinced that it makes no sense to revise a once-completed perfume and adjust it to the taste of new generations. Imagine doing the same to a painting? The Perfumer who created the most successful commercial perfumes is definitely against the commercialization of perfumery by the industry, which we experienced in the last decade. The compositions are easy to decipher by modern technical means, but such copies are devoid of souls, which the perfumer brings into the composition with her/his creative fervor.
Perfume Trends: How to Choose Your Perfume?






 

When I asked why the last two decades are dominated by sweet scents, Sophia agreed contentedly that women's perfumes should be sweet. It’s a question of quality and the personality of scents. These two features are desperately lacking in many modern perfumes. As in all things, one should never pursue trends without attention to one’s uniqueness and one’s own taste, both of which should be nurtured.
 
When choosing fragrances look at yourself, don’t be conservative, don’t blindly follow fashion, but choose what suits your look and your inner peace. The right choice is made when you add to your life more feelings for yourself and others, when you add what is very much missing in today’s world: conviviality. The courage in views and actions and true creativity come when one is open to others and genuinely interested in everything that makes his/her life. The mission of the perfume is to gift your aura with feeling comfortable and free about yourself, and to be attractive to others.
 
Perfumer - Humanist
Democratization of fragrances brought its commercialization, but these two phenomena don’t have the same meaning for Sophia. The commercialization originates in human greed, but Sophia doesn’t see any harm in making fine fragrances accessible to ordinary people. High price does not guarantee high quality. Super-pricey perfumes for rich people are an absolutely improper trend in perfumery. Fine quality and the right scents can be found also in the detergent. Before she created perfumes, Sophia was making fragrances for soaps, fabric softeners, etc., on which she prides herself as much as with her perfumes. “People are satisfied with my products and it makes me happy. My goal is to enable women to smell nice without much cost."

Sophia prefers small handy bottles, conveniently fitting in the purse and always within  reach. As far as application methods, roll-on is ideal--a very intimate and beautiful way of socializing with the smell.  It caresses the skin and doesn’t bother others. Water and oil base is one way to reduce the price of the perfume and avoid allergies.

"Scent has great power, not only to attract attention of others, but as a means of reconciliation with ourselves and others, as well as spiritual relaxation and cleansing of evil thoughts. I would call it the scent-prayer, and its goal is to serve the people," said Sophia, while meditating on her new project.
 
Sophia Grojsman for Fragrantica Members

Sophia has enthusiastically agreed to give away a few bottles of perfumes with her autograph to Fragrantica members. Sophia signed Lancome Tresor perfume andEstee Lauder Spellbound - "I made this one ahead of its time, and I think its time has come right now." Sophia refused to sign one of the perfumes I have suggested, although I think that was the essence of her style. She agreed, but said that she would have to sign it along with another perfumer, who is currently in Paris.











































 
I am pleased to give regards from Sophia Grojsman to all Fragrantica members and announce a give away of three perfumes signed by Sophia - two Lancome Tresor perfumes and SpellBound by Estee Lauder.
Dear friends, thank you very much for your reviews, Sophia was very excited to read them! It's a pity that we have to choose only three of you, that is why we chose three winners randomly, here they are:
        PerfumePatty (Tresor)         FruitDiet (SpellBound)       Aredore (Tresor)























 
 Images & video: Fragrantic

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