Prepare to be transported into the spiritual, fragranced realm of Pauline Rochas. Her personal and professional path has deep, inspiring roots. Here is an exclusive insight into her world.
Pauline was born into the world of scent.
Her grandfather, Marcel Rochas, created the iconic perfume Femme for her wife and muse - the legendary Hélène Rochas, whose influence changed the world of art, culture and fashion forever. Every childhood summer spent at her grandma’s house in the French Riviera surrounded by nature and art intertwines with fragrance and memory to become part of Pauline’s heritage. She uses scents to take us back to our origins, to transform and heal, to allow a sense of wellbeing to emerge. We have the privilege call her a friend. Please enjoy her exclusive Muse & Heroine interview.
Salut Pauline! I’d love to start from the roots. Can you please describe your journey so far? What is your professional background?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a world of beauty, fashion, perfume, art, classical music and good wines.
My career began as a professional photographer in NY. I shot a lot for luxury cosmetic and perfume brands. Often my studio would be overwhelmed by those heavy headache type perfumes with synthetic notes. There was a craving to return to my roots. To create my own perfume. A functional fragrance. Perfumes with purpose. To go beyond. Something that would make the wearer smell but also feel good. The idea was to source luxurious essentail oils globally and distill them into elixirs with long lasting effect.
How did your passion for artistic perfumery begin?
As a child I was exposed to many fragrances. I grew up in a home known for perfumery. Helene Rochas, my grandmother, was always in search of the perfect scent. My maternal grandmother’s home along the Mediterranean sea was paradise with its flowery abundance, aromatic pines and tropical bushes. I wanted to capture nature in a bottle.
Spending time in labs taught me the process. I fell in love. Olfactive notes filled my soul with memories and happiness. That's when I left the dark room to study naturals in Grasse.
What do fragrances and scents mean to you? What is the power hidden behind the sense of smell?
Smell, surprisingly enough is our first developed sense as a foetus. Olfactive molecules reach the limbic brain - the seat of our emotions. This affects our sympathetic nervous system. Neuroscience shows that scent is the largest memory we have. It is the source of our emotions. Our drive. It is not surprising that fragrance plays a functional role.
How are scents and spirituality connected in your opinion?
Nature emits vibrations. When we source plant ingredients from nature we transfer this vibration onto the wearer. Shamans and ancient medicine have used these plant rituals for centuries.
What was the idea behind your new launch, the Cherished Connection?
The Cherished Connection: a day and night perfumed oil infused
with Vitamin C and CBD respectively. Its about reconnecting to our source. Finding our authentic selves, guided by natural rhythms, day and night. There is a strong need for people to connect within and to reconnect with nature - to the source, to the sun, to the moon. To self nurture.
In a world of uncertainty, to awaken and strenghten the immune system is a priority. In The Awakening I included Vitamin C (anti fatigue), lime to uplift, ginger to stimulate concentration and other notes with benefits.
Midnight Breaths is infused with CBD. This is a precious pause after the day. It relieves stress. Sandalwood quietens anxiety. Cardamom soothes the mind and emotions. Overall it helps us surrender and let go. A sensual moment.
I believe in the Power of Scents to heal - with an effect on a psychological and physical level.
In fragrances, as well as in beauty products, ingredients make the biggest difference. Where do you source ingredients from? What are your favorite scents to work with?
I am a true forager. I find them allover the world. I especially love woody, earthy, aromatic, oriental, and spicy notes.
Now, let’s dive into beauty. What is your approach to clean/holistic beauty?
One of my grand mothers used to crush fruit to nourish her face over the Summer, while the other used to lay plants on my face to heal, soothe skin, & relieve redness and pain, so I guess thats in my DNA. Having lived in NYC for 20 years, I always leaned towards skin care, food supplements, natural organic botanical products. I was on the quest for the natural to counteract hard city living.
What is your self-care approach?
Being gentle with myself.
We’d love to know your beauty secrets. What is your daily beauty regimen?
What do you do to relax?
I love being in nature. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Listen to classical music. Ride my bike. Walk with my dog, Meditate to the sound of water. Spend alone time. Bathe in my own space and energy.
Are there any beauty secrets that your mother or grandmother passed down to you?
To use nature as beauty regimen.
Your favorite holistic destination?
Como Shambhala and Hotel Post Bezau.
What is your favorite hotel?
Aman Venice or Como Parrot Cay.
Your brunch order?
Celery Juice, Poached eggs on Avocado (no bread) but with Crispy Bacon or Sausages, Chia Seeds Pudding.
The most valuable piece of advice you ever received?
Being alligned to my true self.
What is your favorite thing about being a woman?
Duality. The ability to be strong and soft at the same time. We are like reeds in the water. We bend without breaking. I believe in the power of women. We can be simultaneously driven yet caring.
Credits Ph: Pauline Rochas