Goldfield & Banks is one of those rare ranges of fragrances that is so familiar and yet distinct that you wonder why weren’t these made before. The founder and ‘designer’ of these fragrances, Dimitri Weber talks at length about his process, his childhood, the experiences that inform his processes and his challenges in creating these brilliant botanical based fragrances that are Australian in spirit and French in methodology
To me a Perfumer’s work is always a mystery – a myth that they have a highly sensitive nose hehe but to be honest very less is known about the fragrance industry and their makers – but what makes a good fragrance? it is a highly mutable definition but for me a good fragrance evokes a sense of nostalgia and refreshing memories with a fresh perspective in a lingering fashion – it is an experience rather than a visual that we are usually conditioned and grow into what we like and what we don’t. When I was introduced to Goldfield & Banks, I had to look it’s maker up.
Independent brand of fragrances have played a significant role in arousing the public interest in the art of perfumery. These niche brands often walk the road less traveled, challenging the usual norm and push the creative boundaries. It is then what the perfume all about, that matters, instead of the brand hype.
Dimitri Weber interestingly describes himself as a ‘designer’ of fragrances. He is a ‘French-Belgian international fragrance connoisseur currently living in Australia.’ With a career spanning 23 years in the fragrance industry, he has worked for brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Cartier, Narciso Rodriguez, Elie Saab, etc. in education, PR and marketing and has worked in product development and branding for brands such as Mercedes Benz. More recently he ventured out with his own range of fragrances, Goldfield & Banks that has pushed the range of these fragrances into unique natural compositions.
What is your background with regards to fragrances?
I’ve been in the exclusive perfume industry for 23 years and I have been passionate about perfumes since the age of 6. I was lucky enough to start a career in fragrances in the golden years (the 90’s) at YSL when the designer was still alive and working on the fragrances. Feeling the love for extreme beauty and the creativity through his designs was very inspirational. He use to say that when you create you always have the reality of the profession and the dream. Today I love both sides of the industry. I have worked ever since with the most beautiful brands and have been able to travel all around the world and meet the most amazing people. Developing luxe scents today inspired by the beauty of this country and using all the native botanicals is a true challenge as I apply a French methodology and making the first Australian Luxury fragrance brand on the market. So the pressure is on as everybody is watching closely what I do because it hasn’t been done before.
What was the first distinct fragrance that you can remember? How old were you?
Jacomo de Jacomo, a very French 1980’s woody and oriental fragrance I must have been 14 years old I was in Paris when one of my parents’ friends offered me a sample of this fragrance. I was in heaven. I still have the vial. Such beautiful memories of my childhood.
How have your experiences inform your process while you created your own line of fragrances?
Striving for excellence, creating an accessible luxury collection of fragrances that would appeal to not only an Australian customers but also a global customer is my goal. My international experience and background in fragrances have allowed me to craft and produce my fragrances in Australia and not in France which is a challenge as we French or Belgian people have a certain way of making products that are distinct and we have a great knowledge of craftsmanship when it comes to fashion or cosmetics. Goldfield & Banks Australia fragrances are refined, complex, sophisticated and this you can only obtain when you have this French sensibility.
Your favorite fragrant note above all?
Iris, it’s soft, earthy and luxurious.
The first cologne that you bought? Why?
Cacharel Pour Homme, some French perfume once number 1, because it was popular, so different and still today it’s a pillar in the industry, a reference, part of the history of the modern perfumery.
How do Australian fragrances differ from the rest of the world?
When you travel in this vast country you discover beauty, scents, flora, sceneries and colours that are unique and that you never see anywhere else in the world. It takes a foreigner I guess to discover all this beauty and to translate this into a luxury collection of fragrances dedicated to all this beauty. It’s a tribute. France and Italy are the most well known perfume countries because of their wealth of essences and now Australia has everything to become a fragrance country as it has all the same qualities and sometimes even better and on top of that we have all the local ingredients such as Sandalwood, Blue Cypress, Lavender, gardenia, vanilla, etc.! All come from a different part of the country and it’s interesting to see how fascinated perfumers are overseas about all this botanical culture. Sandalwood grows on goldfields in WA, hence the name of the brand. How beautiful is this story! The country has also a certain style in fashion, the Akubra hat, RM Williams boots mixed with bohemian white fluffy dresses for woman and jeans for men. This style is unique and has also inspired me to create my fragrances as they match perfectly with that type of person. Sturdy yet emotional, worldly versus patriotic, city versus the bush, etc… different but so Aussie.
How is working with fragrances for someone different from your own?
It’s like an actor, you change identity and become a different person and you become the brand. You live the brand, you become one with the brand. It’s exhausting as you play a role and you work for a certain brand or image and you need to adjust to the values and nature of the brand. Not an easy task. Different then when you create something very personal for your own.
Do you have a style or approach to creating fragrances?
I am flexible, I adjust easily just as long as I can bring quality and luxury onto the brand, I am happy. No limitations on the quality is rule #1. I always start by reading and searching information on the topic that will become the brand. I am a cultured person and fascinated by different cultures and arts. Travelling and combining cultures and local rituals always give a beautiful result.
What was the inspiration behind Goldfield and Banks?
Goldfield & Banks Australia tells a genuine story about botanicals and nature. Sandalwood harvested in Western Australia, grows on fields of gold…. I also wanted to pay a tribute to Joseph Banks, the noble British botanist who established the first Royal Botanical Gardens and set foot in Australia with Captain Cook. All this content is so rich that it makes us dream and reminiscent.
What was the biggest challenge in creating this luxe range of Goldfield and Banks fragrances?
Working in Australia where there is little sense of luxury and refinement is the hardest task. It’s difficult to work with people who sometimes don’t understand the rules and dictats of luxury perfumery. So I feel like I am constantly behind everyone’s back all the time. Attention to detail is key in this industry and some cultures don’t seem to value this or just are ignorant of these little things. But Australia is changing and we have experts now from all around the world to assist Australians to become better and more experts in different fields such as luxury.
I have my favorite from these four but what is your favorite one from the four Goldfield and Banks Fragrances?
Difficult to say… I personally love woody oriental fragrances but I have to admit that the more subtle fragrances like Blue Cypress really offer me pleasure when wearing them. It depends on the occasion and my mood I guess…
Any advice for men on developing their personal sense of fragrance?
Experience, think out of the box! Try different products and don’t go mainstream!!
You can get these exquisite fragrances at www.goldfieldandbanks.com