With summer officially over and autumn drawing in, the floral scent of the summer season that has filled the atmosphere for the past couple of months is inevitably starting to fade. There is, once again, a chill in the air. However, Saskia Havekes, a self-confessed ‘flower addict’ and perfumer from Australia, is allowing us to delve deep into the floral world once more with the creation of her distinct range of perfume, ‘Grandiflora’. Releasing perfumes from 2013 to present for both men and women, this range has continued to make a statement since its inception. Behind the Grandiflora collection is years of work from Havekes, who has perfected the art of combining florals with fragrance.
Flowers are not just a key point of inspiration for Havekes, they are her muse. It was the opening of a little flower shop 23 years ago in Sydney in 1995, where Havekes floral journey first began. This is where she met a figure who would be of great importance in her development from a florist to a perfumer: Michael Edwards. Edwards, a British fragrance expert, designer and founding editor of ‘Fragrances of the World’, was a keen follower of Havekes’ work. It was their interaction that became the catalyst for Havekes’ ‘huge learning-curve’ within the art of creating fragrance, as he introduced her to the perfumer Sandrine Videault. Havekes and Videault developed a wonderful working relationship and friendship, Videault’s forename ‘Sandrine’ giving one of the fragrances in the Grandiflora collection its name. Videault taught Havekes to see flowers from the point of view of a perfumer, and voiced her belief on concentrating on the flower as a whole, ‘incorporating the stem, the leaves and the journey the scent takes as the flower develops’. Videault’s four-year instruction under Edmond Roudnitska (creator of Diorissimo and Eau Sauvage) formed her trust in the idea of creating a perfume that gives one a sensory shock followed by a psychological one. Also, that ‘perfume composition should be unique, much like a musical score.’ It is this ideology that has been passed onto Havekes and which she incorporates into all her work.
Through Havekes’ relationship with Videault, she established a new friendship with Michel Roudnitska, the son of Videault’s mentor Edmond. Roudnitska would also become an important component in the development of Grandiflora after Videault’s untimely death due to cancer. Like Havekes and Videault, Roudnitska was very interested in the natural world, and Havekes found a connection with him in their shared love of flowers and, specifically, the magnolia flower. Roudnitska introduced Havekes to a creation of his from twenty years ago, a magnolia perfume. It seemed the perfect opportunity to collaborate. The fragrance in the Grandiflora collection named, ‘Michel’ became a reproduction of this scent. ‘Michel’ bears similarities to ‘Sandrine’ in the sense that they are both inspired by the magnolia flower, but different in that they each capture a different stage of its bloom. The Grandiflora collection is very special to Havekes and all those involved in its production. It has brought together the work of several great artists while being a poignant tribute: keeping alive the soul, talents and memory of Videault.
Saskia Havekes is now fondly known as ‘the first lady of flowers’. She has earned her place as an internationally respected florist, perfumer, an author of titles such as ‘GRANDIFLORA’, ‘GRANDIFLORA ARRANGEMENTS’, ‘GRANDIFLORA CELEBRATIONS’, AND ‘FLOWER ADDICT’. She has become known by her ability to create using her strong passion for the beauty of nature. It is no wonder that the Grandiflora collection has managed to gain such prominence, in a society where people are endlessly searching for the more ‘natural’ way to live their lives, in terms of what they put in their bodies, how they clothe themselves and what they surround themselves with. The aesthetic of the collection has continued on to be a key influence in fashion, hospitality, interior styling and the life-long tradition of arranging and giving flowers. Havekes’ collaboration with perfumer’s Michel Roudnitska, Sandrine Videault and Bertrand Duchafour in these fragrances have allowed her to continue her natural approach to perfuming, creating a product where the consumer can drench themselves in an element of nature that has always managed to uplift the spirits and has eternally been a sign of peace and serenity. With several different scents that both enamour and refresh the senses, this range is neither too obvious nor too overpowering; and manages to avoid the sickliness that often accompanies less well-constructed scents. This range succeeds in giving those who wear its scents, a complete edge of sophistication.
Saskia Havekes expresses that she feels her most beautiful when she is among nature. It is this natural essence of beauty that is immediately accessible when taking in the scent of ‘Michel’. Composed by and named after Michel Roudnitska, the perfume encompasses the fresh, soft, floral scent of Magnolia combined with the elements of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Musk, Vetiver, Bergamot and Lemon. The inspiration of the Magnolia flower is significant to Roudnitska’s creation, as this flower fascinated him from childhood. Ever since then, he had been determined to reproduce the scent that captivated him at such a young age. ‘Michel’ completely arouses the senses and allows the wearer to feel united with the elements of nature.
Composed by and named after Sandrine Videault, ‘Sandrine’ is the other half of the pair of Magnolia inspired fragrances in the Grandiflora collection, the other being composed by Michel Roudnitska (as mentioned above). The perfume aims to echo the freshness of the magnolia flower when it first opens. The perfume is a creation of earthy substance, stimulated by the roots, trunk, branches leaves and bark of the flower in which it originated. These raw elements are very present in the scent, with the various musk of Grapefruit, Moss, Dry Wood, Pepper, Ocean, Tree, Petal and Sky and of course, Lemony Citrus also contributing to create a scent that expresses a certain air of femininity, peace and purity. This perfume’s launch tragically came at the same time as the untimely death of its creator, Sandrine Videault, and acts as a poignant tribute to her, keeping her talent alive through the subtle and beautifully crisp aroma.
Queen Of The Night
This fragrance takes its name from the night-flowering cactus: Selenicereus grandifloras, commonly referred to as ‘Queen Of The Night’. This hauntingly beautiful flower, that blooms for one night in a year and then dies at dawn, gives inspiration for a collaboration by Saskia Havekes and Bertrand Duchafour. ‘Queen Of The Night’ is captured in a sensuous perfume, which evokes desire and passion with the sweet musk of Berries, Citrus, Fresh Green Accents, Bergamot, Clove, Incense, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Pittosporum, Wisteria, Vanilla, Dry Wood, Sandalwood and Patchouli.
Saskia Havekes and Michel Roudnitska reunite once again for the creation of, ‘Madagascan Jasmine’. The perfume was produced with the intentions of recreating the scent of the Stephanotis floribunda plant, known for its fragrant blooms and glossy leaves. Havekes and Roudnitska elegantly recreate the flower’s essence of Natural Jasmine and combine it with the scents of Green Banana, Dark Green Leaves, Jade, Emerald, Smoke and Musk to create an intense, invigorating perfume.
‘Boronia’ is inspired by the flower Boronia megastigma, which is commonly known as Brown boronia. After the success of ‘Queen Of The Night’, Saskia Havekes reunites with Bertrand Duchafour to create a perfume inspired by this Australian native wildflower. Fitting for the autumnal season, the scent is deeply aromatic, with a hint of Tobacco, Caramel, Suede, and an undeniable woody extract. It is also intense in its showcase of verdant florals. All of these elements are mixed together beautifully, and those who choose to wear this perfume will certainly leave a lasting impression, as this rich, classy scent is quite unforgettable.