Photo by Seb Roy.
Olfactive portrait of New York by Ruth Sutcliffe.
Ruth Sutcliffe is the Fragrance Designer and Curator for a large and diverse portfolio of celebrity and lifestyle brands for Coty. What does she like best about her job? “My joy and passion is working with some of the most talented perfumers in the world bringing emotion, creativity and beauty to the marketplace through scent.”
What is your personal secret “olfactive spot” in New York?
I love going into fine Indian restaurants where the warmth of the space is combined with the experience of alluring and sensuous ingredients like Jasmine and Basmati Rice; exotic spices of Cardamom, Anise, Saffron, Curry, Ginger and Peppers; Naan, and Mint Tea. The overall smell is a very sensual experience.
What would be the main ingredient for an iconic “Eau de New York”?
Various wood notes would be the main theme, with sandalwood being the core ingredient. For me, wood is a metaphor for strength and the solid framework for a good home. Wood notes are so naturally sexy, no matter what sex you are.
Why are you in New York?
From the age of 13, I knew I belonged in New York. It’s an enduring love life I have with this city: For its vibe, energy, the diversity of life, its people, and culture. There’s something for everyone here.
Your perfume advice to New Yorkers?
Wear what connects to you emotionally, and don’t always wear the same fragrance. Have variety, just like the city.
What is your favorite place in New York to discover and shop fragrance?
Please share with us your best New York perfume anecdote!
This goes back to the second year of living in New York, and the first year working in the business: I was given a blind smelling test to determine if I had a good sense of smell, and if I could communicate in fragrance language. From the first sniff, I detected many aspects of life back on the farm in the Midwest: “I smell flowers (but not one in particular), fruits like peach, and oddly enough … an animal smell … like the goats!” I thought how odd it was to have an animal smell in a perfume, but this fragrance was particularly sexy. The perfumer was so excited that I was able to describe this very unique fragrance, and told me it was Chypre by Coty, inspired by the island of Corsica, where Francois Coty was born and raised.
This perfume story was brought to you in collaboration with Elements Showcase New York, 2014.