Iva Grdinic is a perfume writer by night and an archivist by day. Iva writes the blog Mirisna and the combination of her love of history and fragrance drew her to Le Jardin Retrouvé. Based in the beautiful region of Istria, in Croatia, Iva took time out of her busy day to answer our nosey questions.
What question do you get asked most often?
As a blogger, I am most often asked how long the perfume lasts and how much it projects. I always try to draw attention to the fragrant qualities that may be less measurable but much more substantial and important. As a perfume lover, I’m quite often asked: when do you manage to wear all that, do you really need all these perfumes?
What’s your first scent memory?
I think it is Dad’s aftershave – it is a happy memory, many times repeated: he’s lifting me up in his arms – for a moment I’m almost flying – and then, at the moment my hands land around his neck there is the distinct bracing and warm smell. Up to this day, I connect this lifting up, a moment of flying and then a cuddly landing to all perfumes I love.
What was the first fragrance you bought?
The first scent I bought for myself was Calvin Klein’s Obsession. It was in 1990, at the very beginning of my first high school year. I bought a small 30 ml bottle from the gifted and saved money. I remember feeling grown up: Obsession stood on our bathroom shelf next to my mom’s chypres and green florals. I still wasn’t allowed to wear makeup, but the perfume was welcomed. In a way, Obsession was my fragrant confirmation of entering adulthood, and also my first womanly statement of difference and autonomy.
How did you discover us?
I found out about Le Jardin Retrouve while reading “Perfume Lover”, a book written by Denyse Beaulieu. I remember being struck by Yuri Gutsatz’s sentence: “Perfumer, your name is no-one.” Somewhat later, another perfume writer and blogger was responsible for the final push in the direction of getting to know Le Jardin Retrouve’s perfumes. It was The Plum Girl, Elena. As an archivist and history explorer, I was both personally and professionally deeply touched by the whole presentation of the family legacy and perfume history connected to it. It was all about emotions and respect I felt through reading and exploring before I even tested the perfumes.
What does fragrance mean to you?
The feelings. The possibility to change a mood, to lift up a day. The way to enhance or express some part of my personality and extend or mark my physical personal space. Perfumes are sometimes my silent messages. They also often make me think or – on the contrary – offer me the escape into just sensing and feeling. And also, behind the pleasures we smell, as in any other art, there are always traces of profound and complex historical, sociological, and cultural influences – I find them fascinating.
What do you think the fragrance industry needs in the future?
More transparency in communication with perfume lovers and buyers would be nice. I think the industry needs more creative boldness and diversity, and less calculation, “tweaks” and “safe bets.”