For most designers, perfumes and cosmetics are a rite of passage. They waste little time in getting into lucrative businesses. But not Van Noten. For more than three decades, he was one of the few independent fashion operators to make a name for himself not on licensing, but on clothing. And yet, the 63-year-old is probably better suited to these things than many of his peers. “I said I wanted a rose scent that was kind of a punch—really not a soft, beautiful, feminine thing. It had to be something that men could easily wear. It was sort of the symbol of how we started working,” he says of his fragrance line, which also includes Neon Garden, one of the fragrances the designer himself took to wear that combines the freshness of mint with iris powder, and Jardin de l’Orangerie, which combines traditional orange blossom with sandalwood for an earthy, grounded effect.
What Van Noten didn’t want: “easy to live with” perfumes. “I think there’s so much on the market already. The idea was that each fragrance really tells a story – in my own way, I’m a storyteller too.” For someone who’s covered Van Noten’s soulful Parisian runway shows for a decade and a half, I can say that holds true. Unlikely, inspired combinations are an integral part of his narrative.One season it might be military fatigues and florals, another he might rework plaid in taffeta, organza and lamé in a new luxe take on grunge. And not forgetting the kismet from his Spring 2020 watch, when he collaborated with esteemed French couturier and costume designer Christian Lacroix, whose exuberant maximalism was a fashionable foil for Van Noten’s own brand of conceptual cool. but portable., or concepts,” Lacroix explains of his affair with Van Noten. “Bringing opposites together is a wonderful and productive practice, each side making its opposite even more precious, enhancing it by contrast.”