Karen Walker knew from the beginning that she wanted her perfumes to be made nowhere else but the world’s capital of fragrance: Grasse, France. Joining with Charabot, the oldest perfume house in the world, meant working closely with the some of the most respected noses in the industry. “Yeah, that was a real drag having to go to the south of France,” Walker says laughing, “Doing it in Grasse guarantees you a level of craftsmanship, knowledge and history that no one else can bring to the table.”
Each of the three scents (or “juices” as Walker calls them) are composed of complex fragrance pyramids. A smells of crushed mint leaves, cassis and lily of the valley and is referred to as “the happiness potion”. B blossoms with bergamot and sambac jasmine and C is a bouquet of white flowers with base notes of amber and cashmere wood.
Fresh, lush and floral, the bottles come in two sizes, 50ml and 100ml. Walker favours the idea of a signature scent; of an individual uniform, so beginning with three scents that would appeal to different personalities was paramount. “I knew I didn’t want to make a stand-alone fragrance, having worked with ready to wear, jewellery and eyewear, I've always produced a body of work, so it also made sense in that way.”
The packaging is as sophisticated as it is playful. The bright hues of pink, orange and yellow are inspired by the natural tints that subtly colour each respective perfume liquid. Each of the three signature scents has had six reworkings and the total development process spanned two years. “It was always really exciting when a new little box of juices arrived to be tested,” she says.
When we ask Walker about her own olfactory memories she is warm and reminiscent, recalling musty tents, a cat’s belly and smelling the spine of a new paperback.
The Karen Walker fragrances are available online and at Myer stores nationally.