The perfume historian Barbara Herman insists she is ‘‘not a nostalgist.’’ Still, she found herself lamenting the fact that the more animalic, “erotic” fragrances she prefers (she collects vintage perfumes, like Lanvin’s My Sin and Robert Piguet’s Baghari, from as far back as the turn of the 20th century) went out of favor in the 1990s, for reasons of style and animal rights. (Some of the ingredients were invasively obtained.) And so she decided to bring them back. For the first collection in her new line, Eris, she collaborated with the renowned French perfumer Antoine Lie. Each perfume in La Belle et la Bête, which uses only synthetics for the animal notes, is ‘‘a collision between the animal and the floral.’’ Of the more provocative, funky notes, she says, ‘‘It’s not just shock value. It makes you rethink your sense of smell.’’
An earlier version of this post misquoted Barbara Herman in reference to her fragrances. She referred to the vintage scents she prefers as “erotic,” not “almost pornographic.” Additionally, the post incorrectly referred to the ingredients Herman uses in her perfume line. While La Belle et la Bête uses synthetics for the animal notes, it is not the case it uses only synthetic ingredients.