Meet the Bard of Fragrance
Meet the great-grandson of fashion icon Nina Ricci, and the grandson of Robert Ricci – creator of the L’Air du Temps fragrance, one of the many brand blockbusters for which the fashion house is so famous. Enter Romano Ricci, stage right. He has turned the traditional notions of fragrance on their head, and seems to be having the time of his life doing so. He draws his inspiration for his Juliette from Shakespeare’s tragic love story about a boy, who meets a girl, whose families are mortal enemies, and all hell breaks loose in Verona. (You know the one.) With scent names like Miss Charming, Lady Vengeance and Citizen Queen, he’s adding a chapter of his own to the most famous love story ever told.
You have quite the family legacy in fashion and fragrance. Has it played a role in your brand?
I was very young when I got initiated to perfumery by my grandfather and I have always been very sensitive to scents in general. I guess it was in my genes, and even if I have other passions, I always come back to perfumery because I realized that it is my personal way to express myself. My grandfather taught me the fundamental secrets of perfumery but also how to contravene them. That is how I came up with a brand having a very strong personality.
How do you see yourself breaking the mold with your own perfume empire?
I have always liked breaking the established rules. As a creator of a niche brand, I am free. My creations are not influenced or dictated by temporal trends. Today, I strongly believe that a lot of perfume brands lack of personality, more or less voluntarily, to please a majority. Of course, I keep a close eye on the launches, but my whole goal is to anticipate the trends, and sometimes, to go against them! I do not pretend to one day be a perfume “emperor” (smile) because everyone has his own taste and I will certainly not please everybody with my fragrances.
What is the essence of your fragrance?
My inspiration could come from a color, a shape, a situation, a song, a movie, a person… anything could inspire me! Ingredients are my tools, my words. Most of the time smelling an ingredient reminds me of a situation from which I start to “draw” the contours of my new fragrance. The essence of my fragrances is my imagination.
Describe your scent portfolio.
My two first creations were made out of natural essence of rose. A wild ingredient, since you can interpret it in very different manners: It can be fresh, heavy, spicy, fruity, classic, modern, sweet, like the different facets of women! I also love patchouli, an ingredient full a character, musky and amber notes – very sensual.
What’s in a name: ‘Juliette has a gun’?
Juliette stands for the Juliet of Shakespeare, the romantic one who falls in love. The gun is the weapon of seduction. Juliette has a Gun represents the symbol of the paradox of the woman, lost between her desire for romance but also for independence.
What kind of woman wears your fragrance?
One that wants to have a different olfactive signature. The interesting main part of my fragrances is to propose original scents that will smell different. Wearing them, you will get reactions from your entourage. As they are all eau de parfum (highly concentrated), they also have the particularity to have an important volume: what’s the point of wearing a fragrance that doesn’t smell?
Did you always have a thing for Shakespeare?
Yes. We have in common a particular taste for the complexity of human relationships. But I also want to be precise that I only use his Juliet as a romantic, very feminine and nearly “naive” symbol. (I don’t really get into the details of the tragedy). Then I twisted her with a gun. The two symbols are the essential opposites, which cannot live without each other. They are a whole.