Since I came back to Puerto Rico end of March, I have been working for the Alliance Française on the organisation and preparation for an event called “Réveille tes sens” (Awake or arouse your senses). My colleague, who has also become a great friend, M from Peru, and I have worked 3-4 afternoons a week with preparing press releases, writing sponsor letters and meeting with potential sponsors etc. It has been a very interesting project for both of us especially as we didn’t have any previous experience of public relations work. We have had lots of fun while “learning by doing” and practising our Spanish (me) and French (M).
The event took place last week with a press conference and two so-called conferences + 3-course dinners at Bistro de Paris, a fancy French restaurant here in San Juan. Our collaborator and co-sponsor from Lancôme told us that we should be very happy with the press conference – we had representatives from the island’s main newspapers and magazines, plus one TV-station and an English-speaking radio station present to hear the perfumer Christophe Laudamiel talk about his fascinating work as creator of perfumes.
The journalists and participants of the event received small perfume echantillons (samples) of the Lancôme perfume Magnifique, and the smelling strips were handed out by yours truly during the presentation…
Both Wednesday and Thursday evening Christophe made his presentation to captivated audiences, before we all enjoyed a delicious dinner and culminated the soirées with a tombola / lottery. The prizes had been donated by luxury brands and boutiques such as Gucci, Cartier, Coach, Godiva as well as local establishments (a clothing shop, a spa and a fitness centre). It was great to see how the guests were enjoying themselves thanks to our hard work and also to read about the event in the local newspapers.
After having heard Christophe speak three times, I was still utterly fascinated by his world of scents and fragrances. He referred to the book “The Perfume, a story of a murderer” by Patrick Süskind as a bible for the perfume industry – not because of the murder story but because it so well describes smells and their influence on our everyday lives. I read the book a few years ago, and it is a fascinating but also disgusting story that doesn’t leave any reader indifferent… Christophe Laudamiel actually created a set of perfumes for the adaptation of the book to film and you can read more about that in this blog post*. I haven’t seen the film yet but happened to be in Barcelona (representing Paris in the 18th century) when they were filming parts of the film there 3 years ago.
Not the most exciting photo from a film shoot but this alley in Barcelona had been prepped for filming – if you look carefully you can see piles of dirt that were put there to hide traces of modern days – electrical outlets, sewage etc. I don’t know what they did with the still visible electrical wiring and graffiti though…
I will write more about the content of Christophe’s presentations another day; I had no idea that the world of perfumes could be so interesting!