Zadig&Voltaire’s artistic director on the power of fragrance: “Wearing perfume is an intimate moment”

HUNGER sits down with Cecilia Bönström to discuss the brand’s new innovative scent, This Is! Undressed, in an exclusive interview. Here, Bönström discusses the importance of Zadig&Voltaire’s eco-friendly sustainable approach, the inspirations behind the fragrance and her intimate relationship with perfume.

What does the new olfactory duo This Is! Undressed bring to your mind? How would you describe it? 

This is! Undressed is an intimate encounter with the self, bringing up sweet memories of summer and eliciting powerful emotions. To me, this new olfactory duo exudes sincerity and simplicity.

The subtle balance between style and nonchalance is at the heart of the Zadig&Voltaire clothes range. How would you say these dual facets are reflected in the new This is!  Undressed creations?

Balance is key for us at Zadig&Voltaire. In This is! Undressed, we find this balance in the strong lines of the bottle design which contrast with the simplicity of its transparent glass. We also find it in the hues chosen for the fragrances: a delicate yet not overly romantic apricot colour for the female version and a timeless light grey for the male version

What hidden sides of the Zadig&Voltaire have been brought to light in the new This is! Undressed campaign? Does it mark a turning point for the brand and for the This is!  olfactory saga?

This campaign tells the story of a young couple that discovers a strong yet completely natural attraction for each other and the exciting uncertainty of their unfolding journey. They get to know each other by enjoying the simple pleasures of life, but also through a shared love of art, fashion, and culture. This is! Undressed is not a turning point in the story of Zadig&Voltaire as much as it is the reflection of a modern couple. 

Who is this modern Zadig&Voltaire couple? And how do Maya Stepper and Mikkel Jensen, the two campaign ambassadors, embody your vision?

The answer can be boiled down to two words: they are young and free.  

With its white label and signature wings etched into the glass, the bottle obviously takes its cues from the Zadig&Voltaire collections. Are there any other connections between the new packaging of This Is! Undressed and the fashion label?

I wanted this bottle to be as pure as possible, while also paying tribute to the men’s and women’s collections. The label on the bottle is inspired by the label on our blazers for men. The wings can now be found on all our clothing, not just on our accessories, as was the case earlier. Holding the bottle now transports us immediately into the world of Zadig&Voltaire. It’s as simple as that. 

From the VoltAIRe CSR program to the sustainable and timeless pieces of The Real Wardrobe line as well as the use of environmentally friendly materials…sustainability has long been integral to the story of Zadig&Voltaire. And it seems like This is! Undressed is no exception. How did this approach play a part in the creation and launch of this new duo? 

This is! Undressed is very much a continuation of our commitment to responsible creation. The two compositions are vegan, made using natural and organic ingredients and harvested using ethical practices. The bottles have been made using recycled glass and are lighter in weight. The packaging is made from cardboard sourced from sustainably managed forests. We have tried to pay attention to the very last detail.  

What is your personal relationship with perfume? Do you think perfume is an important step in the beauty routine to complete one’s signature look?

Spraying on some perfume is the last step in any routine and a way to express one’s mood and identity. Every person looks to define their style and attitude in some way, and perfume provides the perfect finishing touch. I personally cannot do without it. Wearing perfume is an intimate moment, a gift to the self, an act of self-love.  

And do you think that a fragrance, like a piece of clothing, can boost the self-esteem of its wearer?

Absolutely! Finding one’s personal olfactory signature helps boost confidence, so we are sure to leave an impression on the people we encounter. 

Which items from the Zadig&Voltaire wardrobe would you pair with each of these new fragrances? 

From the men’s collection, it would be the Teiss round neck cashmere sweater. From the women’s collection, I would say the silk Caraco camisole with lace detailing. 

Purchase the fragrance here