The Philosophical Scent

By Jo Phillips

So what do a clothing company, a collection of perfumes and philosophers have to do with each other? Well, it’s the French fashion brand Zadig and Voltaire whose name is linked to the Novella by the writer Voltaire. Find out more in The philosophical Scent, where classic meets modernity, Here.

François-Marie Arouet 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778, known by his nom de plume Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity and of slavery, as well as his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. So that’s Voltaire but what about the Zadig part of the link?

In the ancient language of Hebrew the word tzadik, means righteous, but the link to Voltaire here is probably not much to do with that but a link to a character in his book Zadig; The Book of Fate, in french known as  Zadig ou la Destinée from 1747.

It tells the story of Zadig, a philosopher in ancient Babylonia. Voltaire does not attempt at historical accuracy, and some of the problems Zadig faces are thinly disguised references to social and political problems of Voltaire’s own day.

Philosophical in nature, it reflects human life in the hands of destiny that is beyond human control. A story of religious and metaphysical orthodoxy, both of which Voltaire challenges with his presentation of the moral revolution taking place in Zadig himself, as he faces many trials and tribulations in the book’s journey.

So now we have the connection with the name of the French clothing company which opened its first store in Paris in 1997. The company’s owner, Thierry Gillier, is a Parisian native and is the great-grandson of Andre Gillier, one of the founders of the sportswear company Lacoste, so there is fashion and sportswear heritage in his blood

Yet Gillier was a bit more Rock and Roll, inspired by the rebellious styles of Patti Smith and Marianne Faithfull.

Together with a former model (and now his wife) Cecilia Bönström at the helm of creative control Zadig & Voltaire grew and began to amass a cult following among women who were drawn toward the brand’s boundary between masculine and feminine; comfortable relaxed wear, and refined materials.

This french brand is seen very much as a chic, yet edgy rock ‘n roll style DNA, that embodies the concept of easy luxury every single day took that fingerprint and moved into perfumes.

Zadig and Voltaire, This is her!

An oriental vanilla fragrance featuring top notes of jasmine sambac, pink pepper, and silkwood blossom, heart notes of chestnut, whipped cream, and vanilla, and base notes of sandalwood and cashmere wood. Rich creamy and warm fragrance that wraps around the very heart of a woman.

Zadig & Voltaire This is him! is a woody-amber fragrance by perfumers Nathalie Lorson and Aurelien Guichard as a complement to the feminine fragrance. Its olfactory pyramid highlights sandalwood as its key, opening with refreshing notes of fresh grapefruit and sparkling black pepper. At its heart explore notes of incense and vanilla that bounce off from smokey to creamy, that finish in a sensual base note, sandalwood.

Both of these are the rock and roll queen and king of fragrance. So what about their other scents?

This is her! vibes of freedom was created by Sidonie Lancesseur and is a fresh, floral fruity blast of positivity with sparkling Peony and Pear. A luminous Jasmine and a modern Rose. Addictive notes of chestnut cream. A modern and sparkling life-affirming scent.

This is him ! vibes of freedom for the gents created by Nathalie Lorson is a fresh and aromatic injection of positivity, with Lavender and effervescent Tangerine. In the middle find soft warm spicy notes of Cardamom and smokey Incense finalising in Patchouli and Cedarwood.

So if you are looking for a bit of rock and roll spirit to wear alongside your clothes to reaffirm your own power maybe a spritz of one of the above scents may just be all you need; knowing that coming with the scent comes a little bit of a philosophical take too.

Find out more about Zadig and Voltaire here or visit the store in kings Road London where you can shop clothes and fragrances.