As the owner of a brand that sounds more like the name of an alternative rock band than a perfume company, Romano Ricci of Juliette Has a Gun is one of niche fragrances' most attractive faces. A RICCI, he is the grandson of perfumer Robert Ricci, and the great grandson of the fashion icon Madame Nina Ricci. Before founding his new company (which launched at Henri Bendel in 2007), Romano Ricci was a race car driver with a bad boy reputation as a playboy - someone who was always ready to party. Yet, he studied fragrance for over five years at an obscure company whch did not recognize his last name, and now, Romano is developing a master plan for his new wave brand.
Of course we all want to know why he named his company after a gun toting woman, but I suspect she is the modern day incarnation of Shakespeare’s Juliet, who would shoot any Montague that came between her and her man. His three fragrances were created around a rose accord, but his third scent, Citizen Queen, is a 'chypre noire' and is an irreverent nod to Orson Well's Citizen Kane and dare I say...Rosebud?
Michelyn Camen: Congratulations on the success of all your fragrances. Is there any significance that the first two eau de parfums, Lady Vengeance and Miss Charming are rose based?
Romano Ricci: Olfcatively, it is a flower which I thought had a good potential for expressing what I wanted to say with my fragrances. Like my Juliette, I am a lover of symbols, and the rose is a flower you have to handle with care… or it can hurt a little…
RR: Having lived a 100 meters from the Nina Ricci factory all my childhood, my first fragrance memory was a mix all the perfumes that were manufactured there. It is a very special smell…indescribable (too many notes), and incredibly powerful! I have also a very strong memory about my grandfather’s perfume. I remember him, his house, his clothes smelled like Signoricci. It was a sensual and masculine fragrance; from my point of view, one of the best male fragrances ever. (image: source)
MC: The large PR machines of the fragrance industry have been waking up to the fact that they are not connecting with the many women and men that they are targeting. Do you see an awakening among consumers that fragrance is more than toploading and a famous face in an ad - that it's an Art? Will consumers start demanding quality?
RR: I think perfumery in the fifties was real perfumery, very qualitative, creative, and urbane at the same time. Today, it is a very different. It has become a gigantic business with worldwide companies aiming for maximum profit. I am not against evolution but I have to say, it sometimes a bit sad to see great names on those kind of products. But on the other side it is good, because it leaves some room for a brand like Juliette.
MC: You have been in the media and you generate plenty of buzz. Tell us something we don't already know about Romano Ricci?
RR: I am not the dandy the press talks about. I am romantic and much more passionate than the image of me they portray.
MC: You must be fearless to be a race car driver. There must be something you are afraid of?
RR: I am frightened of heights. Even on a chair!
Juliette Has a Gun fragrances are available at Henri Bendel NYC, LuckyScent.com and First-in-Fragrance.com. What we love: Juliette Has a Gun’s rechargeable perfume ‘bullets (above) - available for pre-order at LuckyScent.com & BeautyHabit.com for $75 (for the set). All three Juliette has a Gun fragrances will be available Oct 1st, and includes four fragrance ‘chargers’. A cult object not to be placed in innocent hands or purses. BANG BANG
- Michelyn Camen
Camen is a New York City based fragrance specialist and the owner of FifthSense N.Y.C. where she consults for luxury, beauty and fragrance companies. She also provides personalized fragrance evaluations based on body chemistry, psychology, fashion, and lifestyle. She is an Editor for Fragrantica.com, the Fragrance Columnist for UptownSocial.net, the former Senior Contributing Writer for Sniffapalooza Magazine, New in Niche Columnist for Basenotes and Editorial Director/Fragrance Editor for Beauty News NYC & LA. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Michelyn AT Fashiontribes DOT com.
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