NOSE, the “smell good movie” by Arthur de Kersauson and Clément Beauvais, dives deep into the meanders of the mysterious world of perfume making, guided by François Demachy. The Dior Perfumer-Creator since 2006 was followed by the filmmakers for two years in his quest for exceptional raw materials in France and around the world. The cinematographic journey introduces the people whose work preserves the beauty, craftsmanship and ancestral know-how that make perfume possible.
François Demachy creates all Maison Dior fragrances at his Paris laboratory and his creative workshop Les Fontaines Parfumées, in his native Grasse. A passionate artisan and indefatigable explorer, the Perfumer-Creator tirelessly travels the globe in his search for amazing raw materials. In his trail, the mystery surrounding his creative intuitions is revealed in front of the watchful lenses of directors Arthur de Kersauson and Clément Beauvais.
Inspired by the “Dior flowers for Dior perfumes” ethos, François Demachy has for more than 15 years forged partnerships with sustainable flower growers committed to sustainable practices. By ensuring that only the most beautiful flowers are harvested for his fragrance creations, François Demachy carries on the heritage of Christian Dior, who cultivated roses and jasmine at his estate La Colle Noire. The story begins with the preservation of the unique fragrant plant sources in the Grasse region that ensure the exceptional quality of Dior perfumes.
NOSE features exceptional women who champion the dynamic of this French terroir, including Carole Biancalana, a grower of the Centifolia rose found in Miss Dior at Domaine de Manon, and Armelle Janody, who heads the Clos de Callian. These relationships with exceptional people are the soul of the documentary, which, as the filmmakers make clear, is much more than simply the portrait of a perfumer. They were particularly impressed by the flower growers of Grasse: “They are radiant, opinionated and bold. Their relationship with François is very touching, anchored in confidence, dialogue and solidarity. They are all passionate about flowers and beauty. You feel that François is moved by this strong and independent femininity, that he wants to celebrate them and show his admiration for the amazing work they are doing.”
With François Demachy as guide, the film NOSE welcomes people committed to protecting beauty and nature. The documentary clearly shows that far from a solitary undertaking, perfume creation is the fruit of an incredible chain of talented people, and this is in fact the key to the mystery of fragrances, as the perfumer himself explains: “One of the things I love most about my work is this human adventure, these exchanges of know-how and insights, but also the love of nature we share.”
The camera follows François Demachy to the four corners of the world, scouting for ylang-ylang in Madagascar, sandalwood in Sri Lanka, sambac jasmine in India or visiting patchouli plantations in Indonesia. A truly authentic and sensory approach to the production secrets of Dior perfumes, NOSE celebrates nature and the years of patience needed for exceptional creations. Inspiration is one intangible element that remains an enigma for this atypical film, and even for François Demachy. “Above all it’s perfume that’s mysterious. You can try as hard as you like to explain it, to describe and deconstruct it, but there’s always something missing. I think the trail of a fragrance is like love – you just can’t explain it.”