Article by Roxana Florina Popa
Parfums Dusita, France’s newest Maison de Haute Parfumerie was launched at Jovoy, l’Ambassade des Parfums Rares à Paris, by Ploi Umavijani on 7 March 2016.
Launching of Parfums Dusita at Jovoy in Paris
Dedicated to three fundamental states of happiness, the opulent perfume collection is at the same time the tribute of a daughter for her father’s quest of joy and contentment in heavenly Dusita. Montri Umavijani is an internationally acclaimed Thai modern poet.
The limited-edition perfumes blend new scents in classical French style with rare, natural oils and resins previously not found in the French haute perfumery. For the creator, each new scent is essentially “a fragrant poem evoking different states of happiness“.
Because of the scarcity and value of the ingredients used in all three perfumes, Parfums Dusita blends only in small quantities. This guarantees quality and freshness.
ISSARA is a “fougère fragrance” for women finding happiness of soul and mind in the sense of liberty. It recalls experiences like long walks in fertile lush fields near the sea and the caress of the face by the wind breathe.
MELODIE DE L’AMOUR is a symphony of white flowers, expressing the ecstasy of being alive and in love.
OUDH INFINI is an exclusive perfume of Dusita incorporating Oudh oil distillated from agarwood from Laos and exuding an attractive harmony.
Ploi Umavijani, founder of Parfums Dusita
Roxana Florina Popa: How did your love story with fragrances begin?
Ploi Umavijani: My passion for fragrances began as a child. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Bangkok, in a beautiful house with a big tropical garden. I was always exploring the garden and loved smelling the soil, the grass after it rained and all the exotic flowers like lotus blossom, frangipani, jasmine, pandan leaves and champaca flowers. It felt so peaceful and nature’s fragrances gave me a wonderful sense of tranquility.
The odours of that house and garden have remained with me as powerful childhood memories. Later, I developed a keen interest in photography and travel and took time out to make a long voyage for over 2 years. Everywhere I went I took nice photos, but I found that photos cannot capture feelings and memories in the emotive way that a unique, beautiful fragrance can. I realised I would have loved to be able to capture memories through unique perfumes that make people and places different. That’s how my love for perfumery really began. That’s why I decided to develop my own perfumes, which in the end became the basis for Parfums Dusita.
I developed my first perfume to conjure up a memory I had of a place with lush green rice fields near the sea and of a gentle breeze blowing through the trees. This perfume has a pine tree scent blended with fresh smelling coumarin and mellow earthy fragrances. I associate it with the wonderful feeling of freedom I felt in that place.
RFP: Is there a certain scent that pleasantly obsesses you? Which sides of a woman’s personality does this fragrance express?
PU: A classic, old perfume I really love is Bandit created in 1944 by Robert Piguet. The olfactive experience is given by bergamot flowers with a twist of animal leather. This perfume suggests a woman who is sweet and, at the same time, not afraid of sensuality. She has the glamour of a Hollywood star, is very liberated, has her own goals in life, is independent, special and follows her heart. It is a mix of femininity and masculinity. I really like this perfume because I think this is how a woman should be.
RFP: When did you actually take the decision to found Parfums Dusita? Did you take the decision by yourself?
First Dusita collection
© Parfums Dusita
PU: Before my arrival in Paris. I came to study in Paris and that was my chance to meet perfume critics and professionals who had worked with hundreds of niche perfume brands. I consulted them and they found my creations original and pleasant. They encouraged me to establish a brand and bring my new perfume creations to the market as fragrant niche alternatives.
At that moment, I was alone in making the decision. I was determined to work hard for this project, although I did not know then what it takes to create a brand. I was fortunate to meet people with a variety of very helpful expertise, some of whom later became my partners. Dusita was founded as a French perfume house in 2014, 3 years after I had started the project.
On Monday, 7 March 2016, Dusita is launching the first 3 perfumes. The launch will exclusively take place at Jovoy, as they are the Parisian ambassador of rare perfumes. Jovoy, led by its President, François Hénin, has an amazing “library” of rare perfumes. It’s fantastic for us to have Jovoy as our distributor because of their great strength in selling niche perfumes and because later we can also expand to their international locations.
RFP: What is the advantage of having its own laboratory for a perfume house? How does the creative process look for Dusita like?
PU: There are many advantages of having our own laboratory. They are the freedom of creation, the unlimited time spent to develop and play with the formulas and the ability to choose only the best materials. You can get the best Jasmine from Egypt, the Rose de Mai and Mimosa from Grasse, France, Orange Flowers Blossoms from Monaco, Neroli from Tunisia, and Oudh from both India and Thailand. This is another reason I’m fascinated with perfume creation: it’s a journey around the world coming together in a single drop of scent.
Our laboratories are located in Paris and Grasse in France. Having our own laboratory is necessary to create unique new perfume accords and to experimenting with rare oils and resins. It’s possible to let the imagination fly and try blends that are completely new.
RFP: There are so many perfumes on the market thanks to modern production techniques. Is it difficult to enter the French market? In which perfume niche does Dusita position itself?
PU: Indeed. Not only for perfume brands, but also for luxury brands generally. France is the most important market, the ultimate dream market to make our product visible and memorable among 200 – 300 competitors. Customers are also very demanding in terms of uniqueness, rarity and new fragrances. As a niche brand in high-end perfumery, Dusita makes no compromise on our perfumes’ quality. The tough challenges of the French market are actually very good for us, to help us focus on making our products the best they can possibly be, creating lasting value and satisfaction for our customers. I’m a great believer that quality and attractive fragrance will always win in the end.
RFP: What does Maison Dusita bring to the European perfume market? What do you bring different?
PU: We create French perfumes with Oriental inspiration. We honour the classic French style of creating perfume and are careful to create fragrances which as far as possible, use the best of, often rare, natural ingredients. To this traditional French sophistication, supported by our partners in Grasse, we add a creative approach that has its foundations in beautiful Siamese arts and knowledge of exotic fragrances. Thailand has a long tradition of blending and using natural fragrances for personal, religious and cultural purposes. We are therefore not afraid to be creatively different and we aim to create perfumes that are very hard to copy.
RFP: What does the name Dusita mean?
PU: Our name Dusita is the old Siamese name for “paradise”. There are different levels of heavenly realm in Thai / Buddhist belief. In Dusita, the spirit finds and enjoys pure delight and contentment.
This Siamese concept of a paradise also inspired the work of my father, Montri Umavijani who was one of Thailand’s leading modern poets. His work in English achieved international recognition. His quest in his travels and work was always to find the happiness and contentment in life of the heavenly Dusita. His poetry and quest became the inspiration for me to call the company Dusita…
His poems and this notion of pleasing the senses and evoking happiness inspire the perfumes we create. Happiness, of course, differs from person to person and comes in many guises. So, our perfumes can be multi-dimensional, reflecting different facets of happiness. We wish that people who wear a Dusita fragrance will enjoy a sense of well-being and happiness that is entirely individual and personal.
RFP: Tell us more about the character of Dusita perfumes. What does a client buy in a Dusita perfume besides a very good fragrance?
PU: Well, the feeling of happiness and self-confidence in one fragrant effect on others is a major part of what Dusita buyers enjoy. Moreover, the unique quality of the brand that respects French perfumery tradition and sophistication, but has its own exotic elements that offer a sense of romance and sensuality, are important to them.
In our collection, one aspect of happiness is about travelling and being able to see the world. What we express through our perfume Oudh Infini is a traveler’s sense of adventure and discovery. It comes with a unique odour of mixed spices and an abstract, exotic air to question mysteries like “who is this traveler?”, “where does he or she travel?”, “what fresh perceptions arise?”. The poet William Blake said “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite“. Travelling engages a constant infinity of perception and the thrill of discovery of a new place and people where anything could happen and where you can be open to somebody new. I brought the best Oudh from India and Laos, blended with precious Rose de Mai from the south of France, a little bit of Orange flower, and Tonka beans absolutely from Madagascar. This is a unique perfume with animalic notes, which is neither totally feminine nor masculine.
Happiness is also about love and being loved in return. This wish inspired Mélodie De L’Amour which recreates the emotive power of being in love. I describe with lines from a poem of my father this feeling of love which is like a beautiful flower blooming in an empty room. Whether the other person perceives it or not, the flower is there soft, gentle and seductive. I blended Tuberose with a drop of White honey and mixed it with Peach, Lily of the valley, with a splash of Cedar wood, Virginia oil. It’s all about the eternal beauty of love expressed with a bouquet of wonderful white flowers.
The ultimate happiness for me is found in freedom of the mind and spirit. This sense of freedom is evoked by Dusita’s perfume Issara. I call this our signature fragrance. It is the first fragrance that I created, with a fresh Pine-tree note, blended with Oak moss. It comes from a live memory of wandering in green forests on a fresh summer morning, in a tropical country like Thailand, enjoying a fresh wind blowing in your face, feeling time standing still, banishing all worries and outside thoughts. This perfume embodies that experience of freedom.
The entire collection is thus about three states of happiness: the joy of love, the exotic adventure and inner freedom.
RFP: We would love to enter the atmosphere and spirit of Maison Dusita. Could you be our guide?
PU: Dusita is a small French perfumery house with professionals sharing the same passion and vision. We are devoted to the creation of Dusita and develop the brand at international scale. When we smell various fragrances, we discover things about ourselves. We can relate fragrances to our experiences, to our memories and our own private feelings. Dusita is truly a journey into yourself.
At Dusita, we have a library of rare vintage perfumes that inspires us in our artistic creations. Each of us love to spend hours talking about the grand perfume creation and the historical influences on perfumery. It is very interesting because a bottle can tell you many things about each period of time. For example, the differences between the notion of perfume in Eastern and Western cultures.
RFP: How would you describe a man’s relation with his perfume and a woman’s relation with her perfume?
PU: For me, there is no division between men and women. It all comes down to how a human being would like to be thought of and remembered by other people, consciously or subconsciously. This is what influences the choice of a perfume.
Their perfume is a way of communication: you smell a person subtly; you breathe the scents that give you the gift of memory. You may not see this person for years and one day you meet him or her again and all memories and all precious moments come back with one breath and one smell.
Perfumes classify people and say a lot about their past. For example, there are old generations who use vintage quality perfumes.
RFP: Meeting such a person, have you been tempted to offer her more of the present through your collection?
PU: Not really, but I love fantasizing about what would suit this person. I like having a conversation with her about the perfume creation she wears. Women who received it as a gift from their husbands talk about memories of their wedding and children. For example, I met one woman who had used 30 bottles of Diorissimo.
I want people to choose for themselves perfumes which represent who they are. They could choose the unisex appeal of Issara to be independent, strong and free. If they search for femininity, they can choose Mélodie de l’amour. A more artistic, confident and rebellious person should wear Oudh Infini. In the beginning I did not expect French people to like this perfume because it has a strong specific scent that would appeal to Middle Eastern people. However, a French artist tried it and preferred it because she became more aware of her uniqueness and because nobody else knew about this perfume. She said “This is who I am”.
RFP: Where can we smell and purchase a Dusita perfume?
PU: Dusita is now available at Jovoy Paris, 4 rue de Castiglione. Our collection of perfumes will exclusively be sold in the Jovoy shop close to Place Vendôme. We also intend to be soon available in London, Milan, and the United Arab Emirates. We were invited to participate as a star brand in Esxense Milan, the best niche parfum event. You can find us there from 31 March to 3 April 2016.
This article has been selected into the book “Beauty Elegance Creativity – 12 Interviews on the Act of Creation” published by Roxana Florina Popa