Monday 2 March 2020


A career spent working with the likes of Guerlain and Nina Ricci meant that it was only a matter of time before Marie-Lise Jonak, along with her son Baptiste Bouygues, decided to launch her own company. Ormaie is a natural brand that has an emphasis on the visual presentation as well as the scented experience. With this mind, I wondered what fragrance memories she would reveal during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
I would say that it was acacia. I had a Vietnamese girlfriend whose mum used to make pancakes with acacia in them, and my mum and dad had acacia in their garden. So I used to go and pick those flowers to get smell the scent that I loved. That is the biggest memory of my childhood. I still love the smell of acacia and so when I go to a Chinese or Thai restaurant I always love to have it in tea.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
My dad just used to wear colognes, he loved them, but my mum would wear anything! She never had a particular style and would just pick something up and wear it straight away. She wouldn’t look at the brand, she’d often wear masculine fragrances because she liked the bottle, and honestly loved everything. If you offered her a fragrance then she would finish the bottle.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
Ysatis from Givenchy. I was training at the time and I remember the colour of the box. It’s also something that I wanted to have because all of my girlfriends had it. Later on I fell in love with sandalwood and moved more towards fragrance like Samsara from Guerlain. I also wore Boucheron. Yes, I really liked those woody vanilla scents.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I don’t think that I would ever make a mistake actually buying a fragrance because I know straight away if I’m going to like it, and I wouldn’t buy it unless I was sure. However, every scent has a story and I don’t think you can say that one is bad or another is good. A person will wear a fragrance depending on their own memories, so for me there is no bad taste. It’s all about your own experience and that’s really personal.

You can only choose one perfume?
That’s difficult, but I would have to say Jersey from Chanel because I love lavender. I fell in love with this the first moment that I smelled it in the shop and I bought it straight away. I love many fragrances but this one is special. I actually bought one for my son as well.

What perfume should I try?
If you’re someone who likes to try something different and stand out from the crowd then I would suggest L’ivrée Bleue with its rum and vanilla because it has more of a signature. However, if you love rose, then you can should try Yvonne. It’s a wonderful patchouli rose and is very contemporary. It will ultimately depend on your style, what you want to say, and how you want to feel.

For more information about the Ormaie fragrances you can visit the website at or discover the complete collection at Harvey Nichols.

[Photograph of Marie-Lise Jonek © Joann Pai]

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