I love it when I get an opportunity to meet successful older women with TWR. I am curious to understand what it takes to get to the top and then stay there, particularly when it’s in a very male dominated industry, which surprisingly perhaps, fragrance is.
Chantal Roos has spent her long and successful career in the beauty industry helping to create monster selling perfumes such as Opium, Kouros and L’eau d’Issey for big brands. Now, she and her daughter Alexandra, a former musician, have launched their own fragrance brand, Dear Rose.
Also, what is it about French women that make them look so darn stylish? They we both charming to me but I still felt scruffy when I muddled up to interview them.
I was keen to ask Chantal how she had approached creating her own fragrance. Was she aiming her perfume at us grown up women? What had she learned after all her years in fragrance about creating the perfect perfume? And where did her gorgeous blouse come from?
So Chantal, have you created a perfume line that is ‘better with age’?
“Sure! Because whatever has built me, what ever has constructed me I definitely give it back in my work, without doing it on purpose. You are full of your own experience, it’s made me what I am today and so it’s reflected in what I do, it’s there in your maturity.”
Alexandra, do you bring in a younger angle?
“I’m not that young! I’m a grown up for sure, with a daughter of my own. My mother definitely brings something more daring than I could be because of all that experience…”
(Chantal continues) “Which is like a weight on your shoulders….I could have kept on saying ‘oh that’s old’ or “we’ve done that before and it didn’t work”, but Alexandra arrived with fresh eyes and a new vision which is energizing. We’re like a double infusion, experience and enthusiasm!’
Is your fragrance range more suitable to grown up women, since you’ve put so much of your life experience into its creation?
I never worked by ‘age’. Instead we’re about telling stories, entering into a different world…with different atmospheres, creating different ‘types’ of women or periods in time. I don’t think about it in terms of age at all. If you pushed me a little, I might say that I don’t think a teenager would die to have any of these fragrances but I may be wrong!
The scents are quite sophisticated and you need a bit of time to learn about them. Each has a different personality, for instance are you in love? Do you want to feel like you on holidays all year long?
You’ve had a very successful career in a tough industry, do you have any tips for women working today on how to be successful?
Oh, that subject is a whole interview on its own! Especially in France, where it’s still a man’s world.
My biggest chance came when I joined Yves Saint Laurent beauty (in 1976) which was then an American company (owned by Charles of the Ritz) and my boss was American. Americans rewarded success, regardless of what sex you were. The more successful you were, then you just went up…there was not even a discussion, it was just ‘pop, pop, pop and up you go!’
Then I had three years under the Japanese (at Shiseido) and they were so afraid of me! I frightened the life out of them if I screamed, and I do have a little bit of a temper. I did exactly what I wanted to do and luckily everything was a success.
But generally as women, we are not daring enough. We don’t dare ask for an increase in salary, when men are so self assured they think nothing of it, they find it so natural to ask for what they want. We have to get over this ‘religion’ of women being the number 2, I don’t know how it is now for younger women, but in my case and perhaps my generation of women, we don’t dare enough.
And that great blouse you’re wearing?
“Ah! It’s Isabel Marant! “
The Dear Rose collection is available from Harrods exclusively in the UK, there are five perfumes all at around £105, A Capella, I Love My Man, Bloody Rose, Sympathy For The Sun and La Favourite, all £105. My favourites are Sympathy For the Sun, a jasmine floral with a mineral hint of salt and La Favourite, a mix of saffron and patchouli.