Thursday, July 25, 2013


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was walking down Westbourne Grove on a windy Sunday afternoon, through Notting Hill and I remember stopping at the lights waiting for them to change from red to green when a sign stared at me from the other side of the road. I had never heard of the store, yet I was utterly captivated with its presence. Most Australians might not be too familiar with the brand but SpaceNK represented something or more specifically somewhere where I felt at home. Forget eating croissants and sipping black coffee in front of Tiffany & Co., SpaceNK cured the male version of the mean reds with just one waft of perfume upon entering its doors. Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Belfast and Dublin, there were many around and within each space there was a familiarity that made one feel calm, welcome and electric. Whereas one person might feel a rush of electricity with the feel of a new cashmere jumper in their favourite boutique or department store, seeing a new bottle, with its magical elixir housed inside drived me crazy. I was like a grown up child in a candy store and if there is one extravagance I couldn’t give up, it’s the gems that can be bought in stores like SpaceNK, Mecca Cosmetics, the beauty departments of Harrods, Selfridges, David Jones and Brown Thomas.

I rarely tell people this but one of my dreams would be to own a boutique store offering something similar to the likes of SpaceNK or Mecca Cosmetics. I even dream about one day having my own range of body products, scrubs, serums, bath oils - the whole lot.

I remember there was once a store in Dublin called Nue Blue Eriu on South William Street. I think that this was one of the first places where I came across this love affair with grooming products. Situated close to Brown Thomas, I remember venturing into the store to pick up products from Jessica Simpson's Dessert line for my sister, Kerrie. Suffice to say, they cost a small fortune back then, but lately having matured a fair bit and expanding my tastes I have been introduced to some fantastic brands since I have moved to Melbourne and one of the brands that has really captivated me and reignited that desire to have my own grooming/lifestyle line one day is Arquiste.

I first came across Arquiste a few months back after coming across the Merida candle from Cire Trudon. A beautiful piece of work, I instantly had to find out more about it and it was through this candle that I was introduced to the jaw dropping world of Arquiste and its founder Carlos Huber. I was instantly drawn to the world in which Huber lives and the stories behind each fragrance are fascinating to read about. I have read a few great interviews with Carlos over the last few months and I wanted to cherry pick some of the best pieces of each and give you an idea about the brand and the person behind it.

How did Arquiste start out?
Carlos Huber: It was all very organic. I had the idea to launch a brand. This is what I studied and this is what I was going to do.  I’ve always known that I wanted to work for myself. My path was always to set up my own office and be my own boss. Before Arquiste though, I worked as an architect. (GQ Australia)

How long did you work as an architect before starting work as a fragrance designer?
I started working as an architect in 2003 and then I launched Arquiste in 2011. I quit my job at Ralph Lauren, where I worked as an in-house architect designing new stores, around 2010. (GQ Australia)

What made you want to make the career change?
I have always been into things about fashion and especially grooming. And fragrance is one of the things I really liked buying. It started as kid – getting the first cologne my father bought me  - and I loved the idea of aftershave. When I first started shaving, I was really excited by the idea of aftershave and wearing it. The art of shaving was really exciting. I became a fragrance enthusiast. In Mexico, I met a French girl who worked as an evaluator – which is the middle point between the client and the perfumer. An evaluator can remain objective and keep the client brief going while the perfumer is on the creative side. (GQ Australia)

Capturing a historical moment in a scent sounds like a difficult enterprise. How can an event in, say, 1695 in Mexico City (Anima Dulcis) evoke olfactory memories for you?
Because we are inheritors of the same world, heritage and traditions. When you visit an old building, you can sense its history by the feeling you experience. You smell the old materials. When you open a book on the period, you can find ancient culinary recipes that you might very well have tasted in 2012. Same with some perfume ingredients. We all know natural ingredients that have been used in fragrances for centuries, and that are tied to a specific geography or culture. That's why with Arquiste there is a big emphasis on "naturals." (Hint Magazine)

What exactly is your role?
My role is developer. I research the historic site and period that a story is based on, and I conduct smelling sessions to figure out the balance of the ingredients. I focus on evoking the historical moment and the perfumers try to make it a complete and aesthetic work of olfactory art. In the end we all end up agreeing over an after-work drink. I am fortunate to work with very accomplished perfumers who are smart, fun, and supportive of my stubborn ideas. (Hint Magazine)

What makes a good perfume?
Whatever works well with your own skin. A perfume that has 'flight,' that breathes, touches your heart and tickles your nose. (Hint Magazine)

In your opinion, what's contributed most to the success of your line?
The support of a very stylish, good-looking and hip clientele (Hint Magazine)

For more information on Arquiste, make sure to check out the brands website here and Merida by Arquiste Parfumeur can be bought at Peony Haute Parfumerie here or at Becker Minty here . 


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