We’re all familiar with the wall of scent that hits like a ton of bricks upon gaining proximity to a department store perfume counter—that potent mingling of each and every spritzer on offer can be completely overwhelming when floating free. But what would happen if all those aromas were united in a single oversized vial? "Everything" is the redolent result of Dutch artists Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug’s quest to create a perfume that combined the scent of all new releases from last year into a single elixir.
"We did some research and found out the industry pumps out a staggering 1,400 fragrances annually" the pair tell Co.Design. "The idea soon popped up to put them all together and claim our own. We like the irony of having a slight critique of that gigantic outcome by adding another." Using the open-source database Basenotes as a guide, they called upon friends from the fashion and fragrance trades to help gather up the teensy testers and samples, along with the integral help of two intrepid interns who "dedicated two months of their lives to this."
Unfortunately, the most interesting notes were "smothered" under all the more commercial additions. "We envisioned it would end up odorless—everything put together ending in nothing," they say. "Tragically, it’s an arresting smell that could easily be synthesized and be sold under the name: l’average." Which is not to say they don’t appreciate the incredible depth of some of the more refined or experimental new perfumes. "We think there are some brilliant, mind-blowing fragrances coming out," such as Karl Lagerfeld’s Paper Passion, designed to capture the essence of the printed page. "But we fail to believe Girlfriend by Justin Bieber is an asset to the world."
The handmade, hand-screened 1.5-liter bottle was displayed on a pedestal at Colette during Paris Fashion Week, alongside a stack of extra-large sample papers printed with the names of each and every individual "ingredient" (with graphics courtesy of the talented Veronica Ditting, art director of Fantasticman & Gentlewoman). In spite of the sky-high price tag (30,000 euros), the pair almost made a super major sale. "The amount of people coming there and the amount of money they have to spend!" they say. "One particular lady from Dubai really loved the bottle, didn’t blink about the price of the piece and asked: 'Can I have two?'" Turns out hot branding can turn even l’average into treasure.
(h/t It’s Nice That)