Striking in simplicity, depth, and its power to evoke emotion, Ex Voto Paris offers a world of fragrance unlike any other. Handcrafted and hand-selected in France, each product is expertly developed by founder Nathalie Paillarse. Subtracting all inessential elements in each of her creations gives way to the single most important remaining element: pure beauty.
Tell us about Ex Voto Paris – what was the inspiration behind developing the brand? Ex Voto is a magical adventure, far beyond a personal journey. An ultra-exclusive independent niche brand dedicated to aesthetes, fragrance connoisseurs, or luxury lovers.
I am definitely attracted by aesthetics and design, addicted to an infinite quest of beauty combined with an extreme purity, which are the underlying elements behind my inspiration. I love the concept of aesthetic emotion. Ex Voto is a very exclusive universe where beauty is infused with design, where sensitivity is merged with creation, where emotion meets my customer’s inner taste. It is truly a beautiful alchemy between my clients and me, almost an interactive process or even like a love story. I am so touched with all the moving testimonials I often receive, where persons literally explain they fell in love with my products. I can’t imagine something more beautiful for a creator. It is a world where my desires and imagination are translated into products that touch people’s senses. It is just magic.
My first inspiration is an intense desire of beauty. I crave beauty, and my new tagline for my brand is even, ‘A World of Beauty.’ Then, ‘less is more’ is also my trademark, I could say. Although, the expression has been over-used and sometimes for anything. I always tend to subtract in my creations all inessential elements to enhance a sophisticated simplicity and reach the core of the design. Like this, only beauty remains. Although my design reveals a very strict minimalism, it is also deeply intertwined with an immense sense of softness. Behind each scent, each design, each detail, there is my emotion and sensitivity which hopefully adds something special and different to my products. I am also a perfectionist and very detail-oriented, and fortunately my customers feel the luxury and the ultra-sophisticated side of my brand. The production process is very complex, from the special bespoke shapes, to the tinted glasses, to silk-screen printing and the fragrances. We really do haute couture for our products, and indeed without knowing all the very specific work behind each product, my customers feel it.
Serenity is present in my collections as a sense of calm and peace. I am a solitary person, loving silence and peace, relaxing vibes. Purity embraces all of my Ex Voto products. I am definitely fond of extra pure, neat, and clean lines. It leads to the core of the product itself and to its inner beauty. Sensuality is also conveyed in my creations: from the smooth touch of a plexiglass tray to a subtle iridescent color or a sensuous scent, all the senses are solicited and intertwined with design. Ultimately, a discreet luxury emanates from my collections, which I think, that is, once again, felt, and not ostentatious. It is a chic and soft minimimalism.
An understated and nuanced luxury with rare fragrances. An endless quest for beauty, sensuality, and purity. This is my inspiration for Ex Voto.
What do you believe to be the ultimate message behind your brand? An Ode to the Senses. A World of Beauty. Beauty is emotion to me. Created with an uncompromising aesthetic bias, my collections of fragrances are made with lots of love and care. I believe in the sensitive power of scents and beauty, and in the strength of emotional design. Indeed, perfumes are a highly personal matter that deeply reach the memories, the feelings, and ultimately the senses of the persons. They create a beautiful bond between me and my customers. The alchemy of a perfume comes from an emotional creative process based on the creator’s imagination and desires, and when the fragrance instinctively matches their inner taste and olfactory sensitivity, it is such a beautiful encounter. Ultimately, it is all about love – and emotion too. A fragrance is always related to a kind of love at first sight. And creation is emotion. So when both are united, it is beautiful.
The ultimate message behind the brand is the love for beauty, the love for well-being, the love for desirable products and rare perfumes. The statement is to provoke an aesthetic emotion and ultimately, to give pleasure.
What is the process behind selecting and developing each of your fragrances? It is all about my dreams and desires, and then how to make them come true and translate into products. From the sensuality of Black Amber, to the nuances of Ginger Lotus, to the masculinity of Deep Leather, to the precious Datura Cedar or Leather Vetyver – all of my fragrances are created in Grasse, in the South of France, from the finest essences and ingredients. They are unisex and my collections include woody or fresh or musky scents, rarely floral ones – except a few like the Neroli, which is a very noble scent.
I try to create distinct scents with the purest design and sleek aesthetic – my perfumes are encased in bespoke bottles, silk-screen printed, and topped with a bakelite cap. I like also when fragrances slowly blossom in the senses, without overwhelming them. I try to find balance in my olfactory compositions, complex yet subtle.
Regarding the creative process, there are many ideas and tests behind each scent. It’s a sort of fantastic chaos before reaching the final composition. I have multiple inspirations for my perfumes. I can develop a scent from just a name of product or collection I find beautiful, and then compose the notes which can match this idea. I can crave a scent and add layers of several notes until I reach the perfect balance and harmony. I can also be inspired by a color or shape, and find the olfactory notes to reveal a matching blend. I also find I can create a scent reminiscent of a person, a place or memories. Often times, something unexpected happens in the fragrance-making, like a beautiful serendipity – finding interesting or delightful notes without looking for them – and it reveals a new olfactory direction.
From home fragrances to luxury hotel amenities – describe the development process for Ex Voto Paris: My journey at Ex Voto is full of magic. After I launched my scented candles, room sprays, and perfumes, I was contacted by luxury hotels. They wanted to carry a line of hotel bath amenities with my design and scents. It was wonderful, especially since these hotels were mainly carrying Hermes or Bulgari, etc. They were looking for an ultra-luxurious brand for a sophisticated clientele and this is how my hotel line was born. One of my first clients was Le Sereno hotel in Saint Barth, a beautiful boutique hotel designed by famous French architect Christian Liaigre who recommended me to the owners. At the same time, I was contacted by the Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris for their spa on behalf famous architect Pierre-Yves Rochon. I am very grateful for all these beautiful encounters and the pleasure to collaborate with true aesthetes or persons who share the same taste as you. Later, I was contacted by the Société des Bains de Mer in Monaco for their five-star hotels to create a bespoke line of bath and body care for their spa and prestigious hotels. It was wonderful collaboration. I’ve also collaborated with hotels such as The One & Only The Palm in Dubai, luxury hotels in Geneva, Marrakech, Maldives, and spas such as the Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo. It is also a pleasure when the hotel guests are pleased with our products and contact us after their stay to buy Ex Voto, which reminds them of delightful memories.
Where do you find inspiration not only professionally, but personally? I translate my personal taste in my collections, so both are deeply intertwined. I love art – my favorite artists are Soulages, Lucio Fontana, Christopher Wool, Tracey Emin, and much more. I love visiting art galleries (we have great ones in Paris, from Thaddaeus Ropac to Emmanuel Perrotin to Karsten Greve). Architecture and interior design are also a passion, and this is why it is fantastic to work often with talented architects for amazing hotel projects, or with my VIP private clientele for Royal Palaces – mega-yachts featuring amazing interiors, all beautifully designed. I adore minimalism but I am also very fond of ancient architecture or Greek or Roman statues with a timeless beauty. Michel Angelo has a special place in my heart; David’s statue is such a masterpiece. On another note, I love fashion – Saint Laurent, Gianvito Rossi, Isabel Marant, and Chanel to name a few. I also love the luxury store architecture (the new Saint Laurent stores by Hedi Slimane are just beautiful). In addition, I am very fond of photography, including fashion photography (reminiscent of the ad campaigns I was doing when I was working with an advertising agency after my MBA) and talented photographers. Everything related to the creative process interests me. Graphic design, colors, typography, and magazine design are interesting fields. I enjoy still-life photography also, especially close-ups of products and textures. There are many different things that are attractive to me. The common point is beauty, always beauty – and emotion.
I also love entrepreneurs and all persons involved in their work with passion and talent. I love perfectionists, creative persons, and people ready to move mountains to make their dreams come true. Emotion again.
What are your hopes for the brand as you move into the new year? The year started well with the launch of my online shop and my new website, Ex Voto Paris. Five minutes after it was online, we had orders from New York to Buenos Aires and Sydney to Santa Barbara. It’s a true pleasure to have this online store and to be able to connect with our customers. The site also has private access for our retailers to visualize all of our collections and select the appropriate products for their stores. In a few weeks, I will also launch my forthcoming Amber hotel line, with a new bespoke bottle, which is beautiful and luxurious. We already have many requests for this line as well as hotel projects. It will be a great pleasure to further develop it. I also plan to extend the number of retailers, while maintaining a very selective distribution. A new collection of perfumes has just been launched, too. I am involved in every part of Ex Voto, and I am probably the last independent perfume house, with everything made with love.
To learn more, visit Ex Voto Paris.
Images courtesy of Nathalie Paillarse and Ex Voto Paris.