Architect Carlos Huber has transformed his love of historic buildings and perfumery into a distinctive fragrance line, called Arquiste, which takes it cues from specific historical times and events. His latest creation, Boutonniere no. 7 ($195), was inspired by the Foyer of the Opéra-Comique in Paris, on a glamorous evening in May 1899.
Picture a group of seven debonair young men gathered in the Opéra’s Grand Foyer looking to engage the flirtations of the beautifully dressed women in the audience. Each wears a gardenia boutonniere in the button hole of his lapel. The crisp, green scent of the gardenia blends with the men’s bergamot and lavender colognes to emit an intensely seductive and masculine scent that the women cannot resist.
Traditionally, gardenia is considered a women’s fragrance note, but, Mr. Huber craved a less feminine version. “I really love gardenia and I wanted to create something I could wear,” he said at the Boutonniere no. 7 launch party held at Osswald Parfumerie and Luxury Skincare Boutique in New York City. “I didn’t want to take gardenia away from women, but rather make it neutral so men could feel comfortable wearing it.”
The result is a green floral, gender neutral fragrance that features notes of lavender, bergamot, Italian mandarin, gardenia, genet absolute, vetiver and oak moss. The fragrance was created by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux of Givaudan.
Like Mr. Flores-Roux, Carlos Huber hails from Mexico City, a diverse metropolis rich in sensual sights and smells, history, art, and, of course, architecture. In fact the name Arquiste is derived from a combination of the words architecture, history, and art, “all concepts which influence the particular development of our fragrances,” Mr. Huber said.
Launched in September 2011 at Barneys New York, Arquiste now comprises seven eaux de parfum with the launch of Boutonniere no. 7. Since then, distribution of the line has expanded to 10 different European countries, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue in Mexico City.
For each scent, Mr. Huber researched the period to find authentic olfactive notes to include. Many of the fragrances reflect Mr. Huber’s studies and travels in Europe, as well as his love for Mexico City. Anima Dulcis ($165), a baroque gourmand scent, reprises a recipe for cocoa infused with chilies that dates back to 1695 and the Royal Convent of Jesus Maria in Mexico City. Flor y Canto was inspired by an Aztec festival, celebrated at Tenochititlan, Mexico, in 1400.
Fragrance is well known for its power to conjure up particular times in our own lives. With the launch of Arquiste, perfume can now serve as a cultural and historical guide.
Boutonniere no. 7 is available in a Deluxe Limited Edition ($195) that includes a boutonniere and cufflinks specially made by M. de Phocas jewelers of New York City for Arquiste. For more information about Arquiste, visit arquiste.com.