Launching a fragrance is a potentially lucrative yet tricky move. How do you prevent accusations of selling out when you’re a luxury brand producing a mass-market product? If you are Prada, Marni or Maison Margiela, you go to Daniela Andrier. A perfumer working at fragrance giant Givaudan, she is the highly respected nose behind many of the best-selling contemporary fragrances on the market.

For her recent fragrance Knot for Bottega Veneta, Daniela worked with the house’s creative director Tomas Maier from a brief in story form. “He actually writes the whole olfactive story,” she says. “For Knot, it’s all about this woman in a room on the Riviera. There are lavender-smelling sheets on the bed and a peony bouquet. Outside there is a mandarin tree and the sea from afar. It’s the first page of a book. You start to read, and in my case I can imagine the smell. For a mandarin tree, you won’t smell the mandarin oil; you will smell the orangey feel of the leaves and the flowers. So I made a mixture of neroli, orange blossom and mandarin oil, and bigaradier. The elements were so precise that I could work the formula from the story.”

Daniela has an impressive return rate of designers coming back for second and third perfumes. Indeed, for Prada she has become the unofficial house perfumer, creating 15 to date. Of the enviable list of brands she works with, Daniela says, “I think in life you end up where you belong, having the friends that you really get along with. From the beginning, even as a young perfumer, I was determined not to do things I didn’t like. I tried, and it always ended up being awful.”

Daniela’s perfumes may be beautiful, but they also sell, and she does not see “commercial” and “affordable” as dirty words. “I don’t work just for the beauty of it,” she says. “We all have to make money and we all have to make sure that what we do will bring money to the company we work for. I like the idea of a democracy of elegance, something interesting and beautiful. A lot of people can afford a bottle of fragrance, but you can still have something that has a lot of elegance and allure.”

As for putting her name on a bottle, for now Daniela prefers to let the brands take the limelight. “My very best work is not for myself, but for others,” she explains. “I need to give to someone. I enjoy working for brands and being inspired by their vision and their world. That’s what I really love to do.”


Text by Bora Kwon