The first candles date back to the Qin Dynasty in China, about 200 years before Christ, when they were made from whale fat. In Europe though, candles were not seen until the early Middle Ages.
Since then, developments in the manufacture of candles have been enormous, not only in their composition, but also in the introduction of creative shapes and unique scents. Their use has also evolved, and today candles are a thriving product used by designers and luxury firms to showcase their characteristic fragrances.
When labels as prestigious as Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, Alexis Bittar, Malin & Goetz, Rodarte, Barneys New York, Kiki de Montparnasse, Opening Ceremony, the Plaza Hotel in New York and Selfridges London are in search of a scent, either in the form of a candle or a fragrance that is characteristic of their shops, they all look to Frederick Bouchardy, also known as “The Candle Man”. The inspired creator behind the Joya studio in New York is famous for transforming fragrance into art using environmentally friendly materials and involving local craftsmen in his creations.
In 2004 Bouchardy founded Joya. The name is the Spanish word for jewel and a reference to the unique, crystalline wax he uses in the creation of his luxurious candles. At 33, he has already managed to convert a 19th century commercial building in New York into an authentic wax museum.
Bouchardy brings a different, special twist to each of his collaborations with clients and his installations. Some find their inspiration in music, poetry, photography, even painting, which result in exceptional candles inlaid with organic materials like leaves and petals.
However, Bouchardy also works solo in the development of his own essences. His latest creation, Ames Soeurs (Scent of Soulmates), is his third, a combination of citrus, incense, smoke and musk. It is inspired by M. J. Rose’s suspense novel The Book of Lost Fragrances, in which the main character imagines a fragrance called Ames Soeurs, created specially for Cleopatra. This is Bouchardy‘s first collaboration with a writer, and he has said it won’t be the last, since he is always open to literary inspiration for future creations.
Ames Soeurs was launched as a special edition at Henri Bendel stores in New York. It was later available in other luxury stores and at the artist’s studio. Such has been the success that it was followed by a solid perfume with the same name.
When asked about the future trends in perfumes, candles and essences, Bouchardy predicts a return to simplicity, to those elements removed of complications, the ones that bring about nostalgia an memories and allow our imagination to fly, like amber or lavender. ■