This Summer I had the chance to e-interview Kenzo Takada, the world-famous designer and founder of KENZO Paris. I found this opportunity a blessing, but not until I got to actually meet him. This September Ron and I flew to Paris with AVON to experience the city of love & fashion through the eyes of Kenzo Takada, and find out about the two fragrances he has created for the beauty company.
Below I’m going through the major highlights from our Paris stay. You can also WATCH THE VLOG HERE.
On the evening after our arrival Ron and I had to meet Kenzo Takada in his home in Paris. As good upbringing has taught us, one should never go empty-handed in somebody’s home. So, we brought Kenzo a piece of Bulgaria. A coffee table book with photos from Bulgaria and a vial with Bulgarian produced rose oil.
I don’t think there’s a need to explain how stylish and special Kenzo’s home felt. I loved the mix of French decor & Japanese culture. There was also a good abundance of fresh flowers, and beautiful artworks all over the place. His assistant Johnattan said that this was one of the very few times Kenzo’s desk was that well organized, because usually it would be a creative mess. He also showed me (confidentially) the two books Kenzo had been working on for a while. One telling his life story, and second one sharing a portfolio of 30 years of creative work.
However, one of the truly impressive places in his home (for me) was the upper terrace. A small and cosy spot with a view over the entire city, including the Eiffel Tower. It was astonishing!
After the cocktail and all the emotions bursting inside me throughout the night, we all went for a dinner at Kenzo Takada’s favorite restaurant in Paris – Le Pavillon Ledoyen. A 3 Michelin star restaurant, where we tasted literally the most delicious food.
The morning on Day 2 started early. We took a Paris journey to discover 4 of Kenzo’s favorite places. And we had a rather dreamy ride inside the VW microbus!
However, I was quite surprised to find a street reminding me that much of Venice’s Burano. Bright, colorful and with its own character – this is Rue Crémieux. Nothing one would expect to see in Paris. And the story tells that one day all the people living there decided to paint their facades colorful, because they wanted to cheer up their days. Think how wonderful it would be if our entire society functioned like that mini-community! Anyway, Rue Crémieux is certainly one of Kenzo Takada’s favorite spots in Paris as he himself is very much drawn by colors and colorful living.
Next stop was Galerie Vivienne. Bult in 1823, once this arcade used to be one of Paris’ most vibrant spots. Being there would feel like walking a moment out of time in a truly exceptional setting now listed as a historical monument. If only it hadn’t been under construction. But it will not always be, so keep a note of it in case you are visiting Paris.
However, Kenzo has special feelings when it comes to Galerie Vivienne, because there he opened his first store called Jungle Jap at the time. He even painted the walls himself. His inspiration came from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s works and his childish take on art. An influence that has helped Kenzo shape the world-famous tiger behind his brand KENZO Paris. Well, this store lasted for just 3 months. As the popularity of Kenzo’s designs boomed so quickly, he had to move to a larger store!
The third place in Paris that inspires Kenzo Takada is Jardin de Tuleries, located between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde. For this, I wasn’t surprised because it’s one of Paris’ pretties gardens. How can one not love it?
And the last and most surprising thing that Kenzo loves about Paris are its carousels! He believes that in order to keep one’s body and spirit young, people need to go back to their childhood & childhood memories. And where better than at the colourful and cheerful carousels. We took a ride on the one right by the Eiffel Tower, and I can tell you – I haven’t done this for ages, but it was such a sweet experience!
On the 3rd day of our Paris Trip in Colour that AVON took us on, we went to finally learn about the fragrances. The two fragrances that Kenzo Takada has created for AVON are called AVON LIFE COLOUR, and were both developed at Firmenich – the world largest privately-owned fragrance & flavor company, creating fragrances and flavors for the world’s most desirable brands. So basically, this company is the one responsible for about one-third of all fragrances in the world, with a huge portfolio including Gucci Bloom, YSL Opium, Diptyque, Givenchy’s Gentleman, many of Avon’s fragrances and so much more.
Of course, I couldn’t help but mention to them that I was born and grew up in the Valley of Roses. The team approved that this was where they would buy the best rose oil from. Couldn’t be prouder!
However, throughout our tour at Firmenich, we learned about the process of creating a fragrance. It would take an average of 500 samples before the perfumer reaches to the final product. It’s an insane number that would have taken years to accomplish if it wasn’t all computerized. It was far from my romantic vision for a small mansion in Provence sourcing and extracting by hand the oils and aromas with all the little secrets. In fact, just typing this feels hilarious in our fast-paced & consumer-driven world! And even though it’s not as romantic as I would love it to be, the entire experience was inspiring as a lot of technology goes into the development of a fragrance!
Additionally, we experienced each of the main ingredients used for AVON LIFE COLOUR by Kenzo Takada prior to feeling the aroma of the actual fragrances, both of which are based on the aroma of the Magnolia flower. However, I will take the opportunity to share with you more about them in a separate article.
Later that night, Ron and I attended the official launch of AVON LIFE COLOUR by Kenzo Takada at Mini Palais. A lot of good food, good music & good people to end up this amazing trip to Paris.
You can also watch AVON’s official video from the trip here.
Thank you AVON for giving us the opportunity to experience all this!