Being Elliott + Goest Perfumes
Totally by accident - I started out one day looking for a new perfume, and getting frustrated by the (lack of) choices available to me; fast forward 9 months and I'm in France on a research grant studying the aesthetics of perfumery; another 9 and I'm assembling a mini-lab and a library of raw materials and starting to really learn how to "think" in terms of scent. I've always been very sensitive and particular about smells but it took some strokes of fate for me to have the very basic realization that scent can be more than just a commercial, hygiene-product thing. You can use it artistically.
2. Where does the name "Goest Perfumes" come from?
Goest is actually an English word, but one that's slightly archaic and that's fallen out of use. As in "whither thou goest". It's phonetically similar to "Ghost" but also the actual meaning of the word implies a transitive, temporal quality - makes sense for a perfume house since perfume is, to me, an apparition or non-bodily presence (like a ghost) that also is meant to fade and degrade beautifully.
3. What inspires you to create certain perfumes?
Highly specific ideas are always inspiring to try to capture. Like Silent Films is supposed to smell not like a perfume that a Silent Film star would wear, but like how some imagined actress herself smelled. She would smell like perfume, probably, and the perfume would be of a certain heavy, intense type that was popular back then; but she would also smell like beauty or health products of the day, balms, lotions, powders, lipstick, her own bodily smell, and cigarette smoke. Another example - Dauphine is meant to be the smell of Marie Antoinette post-bath, pre-court, and all the ambient smells of her privileged lifestyle before it veered into total excess - expensive soap; fresh cut flowers in every room; delicious, fine pastries on the breakfast tray every morning.
Each different material is a portal into its own unique world. There are certain materials that are truly poetry in a bottle, like choya nakh (an Indian attar of sandalwood and seashells) and hay absolute. I like to use such materials in perfumes because most people would otherwise never get to smell them (due to the fact that they are just too expensive or too strange). Also I love to work with perfume or scents in general because in terms of personal beautification or charisma, a great perfume is far more "effective" than makeup or clothing by a factor of ten. If you only had $100 to spend on beauty and clothing and you wanted to get the absolute most bang for your buck both in terms of personal enjoyment and beautification-effectiveness, you'd buy perfume.
5. Do you have a favorite scent you have made ?
I like them all for different reasons. For instance, I like Jackal because it is kind of an artistic, personal manifesto; it's sensual and "corporal" but inverted, regressive, mysterious. Each of the scents I release is a personal favorite, after all, given that I compose many more scents than I choose to release.
6. Describe your favorite scent that you wear daily.
I don't actually get to wear perfume every day because if I'm working, I need to be in the most scent-neutral environment possible. That being said, of my own scents I like to wear Realism as my sort of neutral scent because it blends well with my natural smell. I like Silent Films for going out. And Lartigue if it's hot out.
I go through cycles where I'm obsessed sort of with a group of things at once; one type of music, one type of art, one type of fashion, etc etc. Right now I'm obsessed with 1970's American country rock, vintage sports jerseys, and french manicures.
8. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Attitude is everything.
9. If you weren't a perfumer you would be doing...
I wonder this all of the time because people react with surprise when they find out what I'm doing - I would probably be running some other kind of design-based business, or pursuing a career in writing or music.
Adopt saintly patience. Nothing about this craft is quick or cheap.
11. Any exciting plans for 2013 with Goest Perfumes?