“Every Business Has a Special Smell”: Perfumery and Ballet

“Every Business Has a Special Smell”: Perfumery and Ballet

Can perfume convey the mood of a dance? Perfumers prove it can. We’d like to tell you what notes make a fragrance "ballet".

Carla Fracci

An Italian dancer and former La Scala prima ballerina Carla Fracci, who shone on the best ballet stages in the world, acted in films and worked on television, in 2003 created a perfume brand of her own, called Carla Fracci. Fragrances by this brand are calibrated like a ballet performance and have long-lasting, bright and sophisticated scents; at the same time, their prices are absolutely affordable, which determined their commercial success.

The title fragrance, which bears the name of the ballerina herself, is a combination of the white floral notes. Other perfumes by Carla Fracci are named after the major parts danced by the Italian prima ballerina: Giselle, Aurora, Giulietta, Salome, Medea, Odette and Hamlet. The last name is not a mistake but a confirmation of a unique fact in the creative biography of Carla Fracci: she really danced the part of Hamlet. This perfume combines the notes of pear, citruses, magnolia and pepper. You can tell the nature of Carla Fracci’s fragrances by their names quite accurately. Choose which ballet or heroine is closer to you, and, most likely, you will like the scent of the perfume when you smell it. 

Guerlain, Le Bolshoï Limited Edition

The French house of Guerlain is a longtime friend of the Russian ballet: the main perfumer of the brand, Thierry Wasser, dedicated a limited edition of five perfumes, Le Bolshoï, to the Bolshoi Theater. The first fragrance of Le Bolshoï was released in 2011 and was timed to coincide with the opening of the historic theater building after reconstruction. Later, the series was supplemented with the fragrances called La Traviata and Carmen, dedicated to great operas. In 2014, the 175th anniversary of Tchaikovsky's birth was celebrated, in honor of the great composer the Bolshoi opened a new theatrical season with the Swan Lake ballet and Guerlain released the black and gold bottle of their Black Swan having a delicate scent with the main parts performed by citrus fruits, sandalwood, jasmine tea and white musk. In 2016, Thierry Wasser expressed his admiration for the ballerinas who made Russian ballet famous by creating a niche perfume Prima Ballerina Le Bolshoi. Its scent with the notes of pine and citrus turned out very evening and feminine.

Roja Dove Diaghilev

In 2010, on the occasion of the centenary of the Russian Seasons, British perfumer Roger Dove released the Diaghilev perfume, dedicated to the impresario Sergei Diaghilev, who made the whole of Europe fall in love with Russian ballet. It is known that Diaghilev sprayed his favorite perfume on the curtain to create a specific atmosphere in the hall, which is probably what the perfumer tried to recreate.

The woody fougere fragrance of Roja Dove Diaghilev became a coveted trophy for perfume collectors in an instant - it was released in only 1,000 bottles which were sold out in several days. To create a thick and dense bohemian chypre, matching the scale of Diaghilev's personality, over 80 components were used, giving this ensemble a unique combination of notes. 

Moresque Art Collection — Ballerina

The Italian brand Moresque launched the Ballerina perfume in 2020, it is the 10th fragrance in their Art Collection series. In the official release, creators of the perfume say that they were inspired by the Swan Lake ballet, and the mood of the fragrance reminds of “a ballerina soaring lightly over the stage of the Bolshoi”. The base notes are rose, musk, violet root, white peach, ginger and tangerine. The bottle for this perfume, as for all other Art Collection fragrances, was created by Florentine masters. Every bottle is hand-decorated with gold leaf and Swarovski crystals.

The Beautiful Mind Series, Precision and Grace

Geza Schoen, the creator of the legendary Escentric Molecules fragrances, while working on the Precision and Grace of The Beautiful Mind Series, tried to unravel and convey the soul of the dance. The inspirer and co-author of the perfumer was the Russian ballerina Polina Semionova, who was performing for over 12 years with the Berlin State Ballet, worked with the American Ballet Theater and La Scala. The dancer suggested the base notes to the perfume’s creator: "I’d like to feel pear and plum in the fragrance because they remind me of the summer in the Russian village of my childhood."

Penhaligon’s Iris Prima

To create Iris Prima for Penhaligon's brand, perfumer Alberto Morillas attended rehearsals at the English National Ballet, in dance he was looking for a clue to create a formula symbolizing the purity and weightlessness of ballet movements. Eventually, the part of prima ballerina in his fragrance was given to iris, as you can tell from the name of the perfume. Performing in ensemble with the delicate proud flower are benzoin resin, citruses and sweet vanilla. In the black and white commercial, the viewer sees only the shadows cast by a ballet couple, symbolizing the fine line between perfumery and dance.