perfectly crafted creation | a conversation with perfume designer frédéric malle x acne studios

Frédéric Malle truly is the grand master of bespoke perfumery. One of his first childhood memories was scanning the myriad of perfume bottles set atop of his mother’s dresser, scanning the labels and smelling whatever she decided to wear that day. Now, he looks back at that time seeing that scent has an “addictive” quality — so much so that he decided to make an entire career out of crafting scents and “falling in love with people that smell good.” 

Now he’s collaborating with Acne Studios to craft a signature scent that sees Malle bring together the opulent crossroads of fashion, perfumery, and art. Malle and Jonny Johansson, the pioneering founder and creative director of Acne Studios, have consistently opted to tread less conventional paths, guided by a multidisciplinary vision and an unwavering commitment to absolute creative freedom. This shared philosophy has culminated in a singular collaboration: Acne Studios by Frédéric Malle. Since their inception, these visionary houses have relentlessly pursued a radically fresh aesthetic, drawing inspiration from photography, architecture, culture, and design. Their creative ethos permeates everything from boutiques to clothing, fragrances to bottles.

As a singular creation, Malle boasts about not following trends but making them, stating “The trend [in perfume] is copying a best seller. Many people run brands that don’t know perfumery well enough. With Acne, we wanted to create something else rather than copying something of the past.” The collaboration came together naturally with Malle writing a letter to Johansson with the hope of working together — but Malle wasn’t aware that Johansson was already wearing his perfume. “He liked what we did and was curious,” Malle says. “We started working together and the process was about what makes Acne so unique rather than copying a collection or a dress. Once we figured that out, I saw him react to the scent and I knew we got it right.” 

Listening to Johansson, watching his references, and using that as a “synthesis” helped create a perfume that has a classical shape that’s crafted in a way that is reverential to Acne. “It’s sort of moving the needle,” Malle describes. “In a similar way to what Johansson does in fashion, I wanted to embody that.” The result? A perfectly crafted creation, this perfume exudes a singular allure. At its core, aldehydes form the true backbone of the composition, unfolding initially in a pure and crystalline breath that evolves into a lasting radiance. This immediate, intense thrill is complemented by the gentle embrace of floral notes. Delicate hints of rose and violet evoke a timeless elegance, illuminated by the brilliance of orange blossom. Within this floral bouquet, a whisper of incense emerges, imparting a mineral freshness that amplifies the aldehyde’s resonant echo. Then, a striking contrast follows, as subtle and understated vanilla weaves its softness alongside creamy sandalwood and a whisper of peach skin. This softness envelops the skin like a comforting mohair sweater, thanks to the graceful note of white musk. From this tactile and tangible trail, the very soul of Acne Studios by Frédéric Malle emerges, embodying a blend of ethereal beauty and grounded warmth.

Learn more about Acne Studios and Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle at


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