Byzance by Rochas | A legendary perfume bottle reimagined
This article is the first in a series published on the world of perfumers in collaboration with the Fragrance Foundation France.
Created in 1987, the House of Rochas’ Byzance fragrance marked a generation with its oriental notes, created by perfumer Nicolas Mamounas. Its name still evokes the dreams and mysteries of the Orient and all its mystical promise…
At the instigation of Interparfums, Maison Rochas regularly pays tribute to its heritage and its olfactory jewels ; and now is the time for Byzance to retake the limelight. Victoria Rongier, marketing director for Rochas Fashion & Fragrances, entrusted designer Alnoor with the mission of redesigning the bottle for this mythical fragrance.
Historically, what does Rochas’ Byzance perfume represent?
Alnoor – Byzance is one of the legendary perfumes of the 80s. Its trajectory is close to Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, because both fragrances are intended for opulent women, who are both present and mystical. The original bottle hadn’t really evolved, although the House of Rochas has changed hands several times since that launch. But I’ve seen variations on miniatures adorned with rhinestone studs or a bright pink pompom, in the purest 80s aesthetic…
In 2019, what was the intention of Maison Rochas (Interparfums) in entrusting you with the redesign of this bottle?
Alnoor – Rochas’ main objective was to relaunch this perfume, which retains its followers just like Femme, the House’s other great success. Alongside fragrances like Mademoiselle Rochas, launched in 2017, the House is keen to continue to appeal to fans of its classics such as Byzance. My brief was to create a contemporary and cosmopolitan object, one that links up with the historic bottle without distorting it. The guiding threads of the creation were enchantment and opulence around a fairy tale transposed to Paris. These themes also appear in the communication campaign accompanying the relaunch.
What elements of the bottle’s heritage have you preserved?
Alnoor – I wanted to keep the midnight blue colour , which has a mysterious connotation. The combination of blue and gold evokes the world of the Thousand and One Nights. In terms of form, the ring is part of the brand’s semantic heritage, as Marcel Rochas has often signed his bottles with round or circular shapes. I have observed that some luxury editions of Byzance already had this gold ring. I was keen to preserve this logic of form. The lace tied around the neck of the bottle echoes the original pink ribbon that bore a medallion. It provides a very haute couture textile trimming element, because you mustn’t forget that Rochas is also a fashion brand.
How did you go about creating this new bottle?
Alnoor – First of all, I looked carefully at the existing bottle. The circle is one of the fundamental elements of the brand’s vocabulary, I kept it for its geometric and readable aspect. I made the bottle’s curved body evolve into a cylinder with marked edges. In other words, the bottle has gone from a somewhat soft shape – perhaps due to the repeated use of the same glassmaker’s mould or the technical limitations of the time – to a more defined, sharper volume.
Which technical partners contributed to this project?
Alnoor – Interparfums’ in-house team, led by Marion Trossat – Director of Purchasing & Packaging Development – was responsible for the production of this bottle and I would like to pay tribute to their technical precision. The glass was developed by Bormioli Luigi, the gold plate by INCA, the cap by TNT Global Manufacturing. The oriental floral fragrance of Byzance was reinterpreted by the tandem Maurice Roucel and Aliénor Massenet, from Symrise.
Interview by Axelle de Larmina
About the Fragrance Foundation France
The Fragrance Foundation is a non-profit association whose objective is to share the know-how and talents of the French perfumery industry.
We organize events throughout the year to highlight French perfumery.
Since the beginning of the lockdown we have initiated Fragrance Talks: 20 minutes to discover or rediscover an inspirational or operational topic.
Find out more at www.fragrancefoundation.fr
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The new bottle for Byzance by Rochas was manufactured by Bormioli Luigi, with the gold plate by INCA and the cap by TNT Global Manufacturing