You've said before that fragrance is fashion for the nose. Can you elaborate a bit more on that connection between the two?
"Today in fashion, it’s not just clothes. It has to be everything. It’s very important in the universe of the label of a brand to have a fragrance. I think fragrances are as important as clothes are. It’s what’s new to your skin. In today’s life, one has to use a fragrance because it’s impolite not to have a beautiful smell."
Between your design work, photography, fragrance creation, and now this hotel venture in Macau, you've got a lot on your plate. What is your secret to being such an efficient multi-tasker without driving yourself crazy?
"There is no secret. The secret is work and a clear mind and know what you want to do. Everything is like this in different boxes, so no confusion. I don't drink, I don't smoke, so my brain might be a little clearer than other people's brains, especially in this business, those who take so much. I'm a health freak, but I don't like that subject for conversation — fitness is as boring as sickness for a subject."
You have always been on the vanguard of nutrition and wellness, so what are your thoughts on how things like juicing, detoxing, and super-healthy living are now mainstream?
"It's a good thing for the social security! A lot of people want it, but not so many make a real effort. They think that if they run for an hour they can do everything, but I don't believe in that. Most of the people who run have to try to get rid of what they ate too much [of], so that's not really health. [Shrugs] That's the fashion. We live also in the world of junk food. They talk about health, but they eat junk food."
We know you're big on reading — your photo studio is packed to the rafters with books — so we'd love to know what your top five must-read books of all time are.
"In what language? In English, I like Emily Dickinson, Virigina Woolf...I like very strange things. I love poetry. In England, there is this very beautiful book by a few young poets who died during World War I. Raw poetry from 1914. In English, it's very, very beautiful and unknown. Siegfried Sassoon — you should read it, it's unbelievably beautiful. In French, I like Mallarmé, I like Verlaine. In German I like Rilke as a poet, and there's another one I like called Hugo von Hofmannsthal."
Do you read any online sites? Where do you go to spot the new trends and what the next cultural zeitgeist might be?
"Other people read for me. I have no time. My website is my brain. I got used to my iPhone. I use the iPad and things like this [picks up iPhone] for photos and for sketching. I am an expert on sketching on iPads. I use an application called Brushes. It takes a lot of time, the technique I use, because I use a technique of engraving. It takes hours. But, I'm pretty good at it. I don't do...big splashes with the fingers. I do it in a very refined way...this [technology] is great because it never existed before. But, I'm still a paper freak. I like the feeling and touch of paper.
It's been said by others in the industry that fashion has become too democratic, too accessible. What are your thoughts on this?
"Too much, never enough — it's very pretentious to say that there is too much. Who is allowed to do it and who is not allowed to? If people have money to spend to try, then they can try. It takes a lot of work for a lot of people. The world is open to all kinds of propositions, but not every proposition is serious or bringing something lasting. But, that's another story. Because if there are so many people who say 'oh, I don't do it anymore because there is too much,' then you can fall asleep. It is great to believe in things one shouldn't believe in."
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