Barneys in Beverly Hills is home to several of the world’s most coveted fragrances, but none occupies a more stimulating space than Frédéric Malle’s Editions de Parfums (www.editionsdeparfums.com). The collection is presented in what Malle calls “smelling columns,” which resemble a cross between an English telephone booth and a sci-fi-movie time capsule. A shopper spritzes a fragrance into the column to sample the scent, and then a vacuum flushes out the perfume so that he or she can test the next fragrance. “They are to perfume what mirrors are to garments,” says Malle.
To create his line’s 14 fragrances for men and women (from $75 to $210), Malle, the grandson of the founder of Parfums Christian Dior and nephew of French filmmaker Louis Malle, enlisted nine designers. “We want to be a direct link,” Malle says, “between the best perfumers in the world and people that are not happy with the common mass perfumes.”