Maggie Mahboubian is on a mission. A mission to make the world a more fragrant place. A mission to introduce the world to the independent, artisan perfumers working in this country and Canada. A mission to create a place where perfume lovers, and those just curious about this growing indie perfume movement, can go to chat up the perfumers and have time to experience the scents. A mission to "feed the senses." To that end, she's created FRAGments, a one day fragrance salon in Los Angeles, which will take place on June 22, 2013.
An architect by training, Maggie launched her own boutique scent line Parfums Lalun at the Artisan Fragrance Salon in Los Angeles in September 2012. I met Maggie there, and tried her lovely natural perfumes, including Blanche de Bois, made with gardenia from her own garden, Qajar Rose and La Lune de Miel.
After participating more salons, she saw the growing interest in connecting with the perfumers behind the label, and wants to keep that going. "There is a vibrant community of people who love perfume," says Maggie. But she felt there were too many perfumes on display for people to really try and wanted to curate a selection of olfactory artists with a pared down selection of their scents to give people time to experience the perfume developing on their own skin while getting to know the person who created the scent.
Her vision is a "pop-up" gallery, a collective if you will, where people can "meander through the space and encounter the different perfumers along the way," says Maggie. "Everyone is on an equal ground," she says because she's designing uniform displays for all 15 perfumers. The backdrop to all this is the MorYork Galley in L.A. run by artist Clare Graham, whose work will be on display. There will also be at least one experimental fragrance art installation, by Persephenie, a natural botanical perfumer. Maggie says, "there are so many ways we can explore this medium [fragrance] so I tried to assemble different voices." Some are more established in perfumery, others are just beginning, like Maggie. "These perfumers certainly dance to the rhythm of their own drums, work independently and are not afraid to voice their opinions (perfume-wise)."
For Maggie, it's perfume as art. "My work is devoted to the artistic exploration of invisible olfactory constructs using a natural palette. I draw inspiration from my culturally diverse background as well as from my work as an architect," she says. Maggie even created the logo image for FRAGments, "a vintage Chanel No. 5 bottle from my collection with frankincense tears spilling out and framed by one of my midsummer roses."
The 15 perfumers participating in FRAGments are mostly from the west coast -- California, Oregon and Washington, but there will also be works from Colorado, Iowa and Canada. The salon will open with an hour discussion, with all the perfumers and the audience invited to participate in a discussion led by Saskia Wilson-Brown, founder of L.A.'s Institute for Art and Olfaction. One topic could be about how most artisan perfumers come from varied backgrounds and how that informs their work.
"I'm hoping that with FRAGments we build more awareness for this art form of perfumery and that we get people who are in different disciplines coming in and having an introduction to fragrance and also for people who are already aware of this medium, providing all with a way to come and enjoy and experience the perfumes," says Maggie. "This is a grass roots effort, and I see the potential in showcasing these artisan perfumers to a wider audience."
Tickets are $10 on sale at Frag-ments.com.