First Look: Prada's Surreal New Fragrance Video

We premiere the beautiful, hypnagogic trailer for Prada's new fragrance series, Olfactories, and speak to the nose behind the emotive scents

When Daniela Andrier was a child, she would sneak in to her mother's bathroom and make special concoctions from the perfumes that lay inside. "I was obsessed by fragrance," she explains, "but I thought that was normal; that everyone was that way." Since then, Andrier has come a long way from blending Yves Saint Laurent's Rive Gauche with Hermès' Caleche – in fact, she was the woman behind Rive Gauche's 2003 reformulation – but perhaps most signficant to her career has been her relationship with Prada. Her nuanced understanding of the house codes, of its inclination towards contradictions and abundant array of references means that she somehow manages to bottle its core components in an assortment of different variations; from the iconic iris of the new Olfactories' Purple Rain to the the "cloud of pink bubbles floating through the heart of Tokyo" that makes up Pink Flamingos (it's namesake far less innocent than its description). 

Considering that watching Prada's most recent womenswear collection was like entering a strange timewarp where historic references were spliced together, and soundtracked by what Frederic Sanchez called "A disorientation of time, where your head is full of memories – fragments of a life," the timing of Olfactories' new release seems apt. "I think that Mrs Prada always has an intelligent relationship with references to the past," explains Andrier. "She's comfortable going back there without being afraid that she’s copying anyone, because she knows that she will transform it and bring it into a very lively present – and maybe even project us into the future."

The Olfactories series is very much based around this temporal flux; each perfume designed with the distinct intention of triggering the subconscious mind, of "provoking the surreal, cinematic experience of a partially remembered dream." "You're always coming from somewhere" says Andrier of her creations, "You're never inventing something brand new, you're an element within the whole story. I'm interested in creating fragrances that have a relation to the past, the present and the future, and that you can give fragrances material that people might use to dig up their old memories."

On Olfactories...
"The idea with Olfactories was to make a chemical collage, for each scent to evoke a flash of different images like those that that come to you in dreams. It's like when you wake up from a dream and you have a very strong impression of something that happened and, even if you can't keep that image with you, it can paint your whole day and give you something you can't put a name to. You can't grab onto it because it's not reality; it's the fantasy of a parallel world that lives alongside us. It's a very nourishing world, and I hope that the fragrances are like a companion to it – that they can take you into this dream world that is more colourful and more inventive."

On the virtual paradise of the iCloud...
"Fragrance is a reminder. Today we’re so aloof about our relation to the past; it has been cut off, in a way, society is growing to be all about ‘now’ and ‘later’. The past is something that I find is very much denied in contemporary society, as if it is a threat, as if looking back or remembering or having nostalgia would be a threat to the efficiency of the now. Even our photographs are now in the iCloud; it’s like we are creating a virtual paradise that some day we will get around to living in. Now, I’m not saying that we should be nostalgic, but I’m saying that we should have a strong relationship with what has been there before. There is something quite depressing about just cutting it off."

On the eternal explanations of bergamot...
"Each of the fragrances has a strong identity, but you'll have to invent your own story as to what's in them, because there aren't any explanations of the ingredients inside. I think it's something we're so fed up of; these eternal explanations of bergamot. So, the idea is that you'd be attracted by the name and then attracted by the collage and then you'll smell it and, if we did a good job, then they'll all go along very well together. So, in a way, the perfume will be your own dream; you will invent what's inside, the composition is your own story. You decide the smell. It can be a fragrance that is a strong moment of yourself."