There is no denying that one’s olfactory sense is at its most challenged during the summer months in New York City. So, what better time to discuss the sweet smelling world of fragrance? And not just any perfume at that but the creations of Christopher Chong, creative director for the House of Amouage. Despite the fact that he now resides in London, it is in his hometown of New York City that we first met back in 2010. At the time he was introducing “Memoir”, Man and Woman, to the U.S market. I cannot think of a better match than Christopher’s sophisticated sensibility and passion for the arts for the pedigreed House of Amouage that was born in the Sultanate of Oman twenty five years ago. When I discovered that Christopher also has a background as an opera singer, a lyric baritone to be more specific, I figured he must approach the composition of a fragrance the way he would a score of classical music or a piece of an opera. He indeed confirmed that music is always part of the inspiration. After all both arts require a certain amount of dexterity mixed with a magic touch so that a wide audience can enjoy the final product. In the case of the fragrances he creates for Amouage Christopher travels to Grasse, France where he works with a team of leading perfumers on his new creations. There he combines the middle eastern heritage of the house through the use of popular ingredients in the Arab world such as Damascene Rose, Frankincense and Sandalwood with more familiar notes such as Bergamot, Lemon or Lilly of the Valley to name a few that make the final results thoroughly enjoyable to a Western audience. As a result he has transformed Amouage into a truly international brand. Today besides being headquartered in London with a flagship store in Knightsbridge, Amouage can be found around the world. In New York Bergdorf Goodman carries the brand and if you are on the west coast you can find Amouage perfumes at Lucky Scent. At the time of this interview Christopher told me that the U.S. launch of his latest perfume “Interlude” Man and Woman is scheduled for September.
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Please click here to view the Interlude video.
1. What do you love most about your job?
It has to be the creative process. Being able to see the concept becoming an actual product and interacting with customers are what make my job fun and exciting.
2. If you did not live in London, England where would you live and why?
New York because I was brought up there. It’s home.
3. When not working what do you enjoy doing?
I don’t think I have experienced that moment yet.
4. What is your best memory from childhood?
I couldn’t think of any because I spent my entire childhood longing to be an adult. I guess I make a good case study for a psychoanalyst.
5. What is your favorite holiday destination and why?
Japan. I love how their culture is based on paradoxes.
6. Book or e-reader? Why and what are you currently reading?
E-Reader. “The Marriage Plot” by Jeffrey Eugenides
7. Which social media platform do you use and how did they impact your business?
Facebook and Twitter. They are tools for me to communicate with customers around the world 24/7.
8. What is a true luxury for you today?
To have a moment when I am not thinking about work.
9. What is your biggest accomplishment to date? Why?
Watch this space. I will let you know first when I believe I have a big accomplishment.