Monday 6 May 2019

RICH MESS by Ryan Richmond and Christophe Laudamiel

The Art and Olfaction Awards have been running for six years and have the goal of raising awareness of, and celebrating, independent perfumers. This band of artisan creators regularly push the boundaries of what is expected from fragrance and often influence the latest releases from the large companies. Winners can come from across the globe and this year saw one such recipient fly in from New York. Ryan Richmond’s first fragrance as creative director is Rich Mess, and it won the Independent Award. With perfumer Christophe Laudamiel responsible for realising the scent it was always destined to be special.

Ryan Richmond graduated from New York’s Pratt Institute in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Communications Design, specialising in Advertising Art Direction. He went on to work for Alexander Wang and MAC Cosmetics before becoming freelance and has since collaborated with some of the biggest beauty brands on the high street. When you see that his portfolio of art direction includes Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire and Tom Ford’s Orchid Soleil it becomes clear where the seeds may have been sown, but it would not be until 2018 that Rich Mess became a reality.

Ryan wanted his company to be a luxury brand but with an edgy side, and described Rich Mess as “a provocative, complex scent for the extravagant deadbeat.” When the fragrance was launched it really played on the idea that its strength comes from the reality that true beauty is “gritty and grimy,” and that when you see through the facade of perfection you get to experience the chic misfits underneath. Rich Mess needed a perfumer to bring it to life that was experimental, confident, and relished a challenge. There could only be one person that fitted the bill, and that was Christophe Laudamiel.

After originally studying chemistry, Christophe joined Procter & Gamble and went on to receive their Special Recognition Award. After moving to IFF, and creating Polo Blue, Abercombie Fierce, and Clinique’s Happy Heart, he set up his own company, Dreamair. Now, Christophe has gone on to be an award winner in his own right and so he was the perfect fit for Ryan and Rich Mess. The fragrance opens with a tangy bergamot and grapefruit but almost immediately the leather accord starts to push up from the base. If you imagine a Caphirina spilt on your favourite leather jacket then you’ll understand the sexy sweetness that pervades.

Ryan lists saffron and fig in the ingredients and these do seem to appear together in a decadent combination, although a touch of skin-saltiness definitely adds to the idea of a “debaucherous encounter.” There is a floral element in here but it’s the waxiness of the lilies that seems to be the most important and, alongside the edgy pull of dry cedarwood versus creamy sandalwood, perfectly compliments the ever-present leather. At the end you get an almost cognac powderiness that, being a good boy, I’ve no idea what it could be alluding to. A deserved award-winner, Rich Mess is sexual, intoxicating, and tantalisingly jaded.

Rich Mess is available from the website at priced at $7.99 for 2ml, $29.99 for 7.5ml, $99.99 for £50ml, and $149.99 for 100ml. [Sample provided by Ryan Richmond]


  1. Oh dear Stephan, here you go again with your VERY tempting reviews. I don't know why, but almost every review that I read of your's, is for my kind of scent. This one sounds amazing, can't beat a bit of 'muckyness' in a scent....and leather too <3

    1. Hello Barry, it really is worth experiencing because the "muckiness" is addictive. Best, Stephan