It was more or less inevitable that Romano Ricci would enter the luxury perfume industry; almost his birthright given that his grandfather was a perfumer and his great grandmother was legendary fashion couturier and fragrance queen Nina Ricci.
Described as the offbeat dandy of the perfume world, Romano does not purely rely on his pedigree background however; as any true creative would he pushes the boundaries of convention by exploring the new. He has embraced a rock elegance trend and as a result he has created a line of highly covetable eau de parfums.
Romano became involved in the fragrance industry about 10 years ago working for a small company, France Fragrances as a trainee. None of his colleagues knew the significance of his surname and after just five years of learning about the different elements needed in developing a successful scent including the olfactory, design and branding of perfumery he was running the company.
However it wasn’t long before Romano, armed with his acquired skills, decided to launch his own line of fragrances. His vision was to create a scent targeting women looking for really individual fragrances and in December 2006, Juliette Has A Gun was launched.
The brand’s concept was inspired by the Shakespearean heroine Juliet, a personification of innocence and femininity, how would she fair in the modern world? And yet this Juliette has a gun. This is the type of femininity Romano finds interesting, resulting in a new type of romanticism which provided the notion for his exquisite aromas.
Roses provide the underlying base note for each of the scents; a flower which is delicate yet thorny, classy and sophisticated or sweet and fragile. These are the traits that form the character for each of Romano’s perfumes.
With this concept Romano managed to impress top perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, the super nose responsible in creating many sumptuous scents for top fragrance houses including Dior, Acqua di Parma, Ferragamo, Guerlain, Narcisco Rodriguez and Lanvin to name a few.
So far the brand has developed four successful fragrances with one more in production and currently scheduled to be launched later this year. The first two, Miss Charming and Lady Vengeance launched in 2007 and were created with the assistance of Kurkdjian.
With the young and joyful Miss Charming appearances can be deceptive. Honouring the seemingly sweet and innocent, it’s made with Moroccan rose, musk and hints of wild fruits. Initially the punchy wild strawberry and lychee notes are strongest, yet after a short while the powdery tones increase, which in turn prolongs the wearability. The red berry fruits provide the innocent charm with the musk adding a provocative and elegant appeal.
Where Miss Charming is playful, Lady Vengeance has sensual, complex features that are mirrored in the varying levels to this scent. The top notes of thorny Bulgarian rose with patchouli and vanilla are bold,sophisticated and ultra feminine. The vanilla gives a delectable creamy caramel tone that envelopes the spice of the patchouli which then produces subtle hints of a smoky bonfire toffee. Described as the fragrance of a lady whom the art of seduction bears no secret, one immediately imagines a classy boudoir setting. It’s modern and elegant without being overbearing or too sweet.
The third fragrance to be created for the brand was Citizen Queen and was Romano’s first solo project without the aid of Kurkdjian. A scent for the elusive, indefinable, edgy, glam and intimidating all at once, CitizensQueen is an arresting Chypre with aldehydic and animalistic undertones. Bulgarian Rose is blended with leather, amber, patchouli and immortal flowers including accords of a powdery violet and iris to soften the earthy depths and add a nostalgic quality.
A sneak peak at a future release shows a soon to be available gift set that has a silver bullet atomizer that comes with three recharge vials that can be loaded with your favourites such Miss Charming, Lady Vengeance and Citizen Queen.
Also in 2009 Juliette Has A Gun released their forth EDP Midnight Oud, despite being inspired by oriental opulence Romano states it is the ’European vision of oud’. Evoking mystery and intrigue the unisex fragrance is quite rare and can be found within exclusive retailers only. The rich oud features main notes of Moroccan rose, bergamot, syrupy amber, oud, musk, saffron, geranium and patchouli.
There’s no stopping brand Juliette; on the horizon there are plans to produce a range of cosmetics. Paris Fashion Week in February saw the launch of an exclusive ready to wear collection; a collaboration with the another Ricci, Romano’s sister, Antina, formerly of the studio of Kenzo Takada. The siblings drew inspiration from Romano’s fragrances and produced a collection of satin and grain de poudre tailored dresses in monochromatic black and blue with white or red piping, similar to the palette used for the design and packaging of the fragrances.
While Romano may be planning big he also recognises the creative and niche qualities of the Juliette range as being vital aspects of the of the brand’s appeal.
Although many major retailers have expressed a great deal of interest, Romano knows how important it is that the brand remains in the most appropriate of settings. The line of dresses will only be available in one store per country as Romano wants ‘Juliette’ to remain up market, chic and ultimately edgy. A sweet rose, but watch out for the thorns.
For stockists see the Juliette Has a Gun website.