Perfume: 'An Ethereal Corset Trapping Everyone in the Same Unnatural Shape'

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

"People who smell like everyone else disgust me," Christopher Brosius explains. He hates conventional perfume so much he started a company to create scents inspired by unexpected objects, spaces, and abstract ideas. His New York-based company, CB I Hate Perfume, sells bottled olfactory experiences with names like "In the Library," "At the Beach 1966," and "Invisible Monster." In a documentary portrait produced by Monomania, he waxes poetic about his sources of inspiration. Aaron Peasley, the film's producer, discusses project in a brief interview below. 

The Atlantic: How did you find this story and decide to tell it? 

Aaron Peasley: Personally, I've always been a bit of a fragrance fanatic and I had always been intrigued by Christopher's approach to creating scents. CB I Hate Perfume's "In the Library" has been a favorite of mine for some time (what could be more evocative than an old library?). Also, growing up my mother was a big French "power" perfume aficionado -- YSL's Opium being one of her favorites -- so Christopher's manifesto struck a chord with me.

Did anything surprise you in the course of making the film?

Christopher's creative process was fascinating. Watching him working on his new fragrance "Invisible Monster" was really cool as we actually got to see him bring the scent to life. He works instinctively and just automatically knows when he has captured the scent he has imagined. What also struck us was the challenge of capturing a creative process like perfume-making on film. Interpreting the story of the fragrances with vignettes was great fun for us.

What's next for you?

At Monomania we really want to use video to capture creative personalities and endeavors around the world. We have an upcoming portrait on a well-known New York mannequin maker, another immersive beauty film and a piece on a well-known couturier.

For more work by Monomania, visit http://monomania.net/.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/archive/2012/08/perfume-an-ethereal-corset-trapping-everyone-in-the-same-unnatural-shape/260815/