The Spanish brand’s in-house perfumier Nuria Cruelles tells AnOther the story behind the house’s new home scents collection, which is inspired by 11 plant’s essences
“I started working on this project in my very first month at Loewe,” says Nuria Cruelles, the in-house perfumier at the Spanish brand, on the launch of its new Home Scents collection – a luxuriant range of home fragrances which evoke the earthy and sweet scents of the humble vegetable garden. Working closely with Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson on the project for over a year, the heady fragrances hone in on the raw essence of 11 garden plants, with the aim of creating a collection which resembles “something in between a botanical garden and an apothecary”.
Cruelles and Anderson looked to the revolutionary work of botanists and plant artists from the Age of Discovery for inspiration, including British artist Anna Atkins, whose 1843–1855 volume of otherworldly algae imagery – captured using a cyanotype photographic process which produces an electric-blue print – is widely recognised as the first book illustrated with photography. Further sources of inspiration were Spanish explorer Mutis’ illustrations of breathtaking South American flora, and the trailblazing work of Japanese photographer, printer and publisher Kazuma Ogawa, who pioneered photomechanical printing to document the flowers of Japan.
Like these preeminent botanists and plant artists, Cruelles’ collection of home scents is equal parts a document of and ode to the plants celebrated, which are all recreated as closely to their purest fragrance as possible. After creating samples of no less than 60 garden plants, the perfumier whittled the collection down to 11 fragrances: honeysuckle, beetroot, juniper berry, tomato leaves, coriander, liquorice, marijuana, pea, oregano, cypress balls and ivy – all of which are available in a range of candles, wax candleholders, home fragrances and rattan diffusers.
Here, alongside an exclusive series of photographs by Erwan Frotin, which capture the spirit of each fragrance, Cruelles tells the story behind Loewe’s Home Scents collection in her own words.
“[Jonathan Anderson] had wanted to create candles and home fragrances for a long time. His idea was to recreate and translate journeys he has made, as well as some childhood memories [into scent]. We discussed the brief and he gave me a list of plants that he wanted to include in the collection. One of his main points was to preserve the raw essence of the plants in each candle and product, enhancing them without any kind of flourish.
“I visited some gardens and greenhouses and took scents from my own memories that could fit in. In the lab, I experimented with oils and extracts in order to recreate the smells in the closest way possible to the original plant, while making sure that the molecule’s structure was stable when burned and that it performs well in the wax ... We created tests with the 60 odours of the proposal and narrowed them into 11, considering the innovation of the proposals, how the candles and home fragrances performed, and of course the idea of the whole collection and its inspiration: part botanical, part apothecary.
“It has been a really enriching process and close work. Jonathan led the project and gathered incredible people to inspire me along the way such as the amazing work of Erwan Frontin and their way of presenting the plants ... It’s been a really demanding project, but we are all excited about the result.
“Some scents are softer than others and that in a way can imply a calm or energetic mood. For instance, I will burn the Tomato Leaves candles if I feel full of energy or an Ivy candle if I need a softer scent for a lighter mood instead ... It should be all about playing and testing, so my first recommendation would be to dare to taste and mix. All of them match with each other well. We don’t use the same perfume for each day of the year or moment, so our homes shouldn’t always smell the same ... I’ve enjoyed each [of the fragrances] very much, but I would say [my favourite is the] Beetroot or Tomato Leaves because of what they implied technically.
“I have a small garden at home where I like to grow some herbs and ornament flowers mainly. I like to come back home and discover that a flower has just bloomed or that the rosemary smells more than ever. I try to get inspired everyday by the gardens I walk through, by the plants of my backyard but also when I walk down the streets of a city.”
Loewe Home Scents is available to shop now in select Loewe stores worldwide and on perfumesloewe.com.