Daniel Patrick Giles set out to create a fragrance line with the same attention that a high-end couturier would pay to design, branding, inspiration and craftsmanship when he started it. His background in beauty and fashion inspired him to start a perfume house that was comparable to the best — thinking like Diptyque, Chanel and Frederic Malle — but he decided to view it through the eyes of an Angeleno. Perfumehead’s goal was to make beautiful fragrances. Los Angeles, a Toronto native, served as his ultimate inspiration.
He tells POPSUGAR that he didn’t want LA to become a cliché. Instead, he wanted the scent to represent his osmocosm or my Los Angeles fragrance universe. My philosophy about scent is to view it as cinema. There is so much depth, narrative, and emotion within a good scent. LA is the ideal backdrop because it’s where I live and love to be.
Perfumehead was created from the start to bring out the city’s unique appeal. Its founder Perfumehead saw the contradictions inherent in the city’s history. A place where old Hollywood glamour and modern-day decay coexist; where timeless elegance is mixed with contemporary trends. Perfumehead’s brand aura is a luxury little secret that’s shared with the rest of the industry.
Below, Daniel Patrick Giles shares more information about Perfumehead.
PS: How did you get started with Perfumehead
DPGWhen I was 16 years old, my passion for fragrance began. While everyone was going to Paris for school, I was hurrying to Galleries Lafayette in order to purchase YSL Opium. Helmut Lang took the photographs and Jerry Hall was the model. Although I claimed I bought it for my mother, I really purchased it for me. This was an amazing experience. I’d never experienced someone present a perfume before. It was instant love.
This is where my career links because I am the creative director of Holt Renfrew, a Canadian company. All the fashion houses, fragrance and accessory companies were in my employ. The fragrance houses would visit the shop and discuss notes. Jo Malone was launched, and it impressed me. This was my second favorite layer.
Then, I’d bring COVID everything and be closer to what happened in the past couple of years. Over 20 years I’ve been working in this industry and have always wanted my own company. This was my decision at the beginning of COVID. However, in 2020 I nearly died from COVID. My doctor saved me, because that was how terrible it was. My entire life was changed in just five days. My migraines lasted for several months. I never got up from my bed in two-and-a-half months. I also lost my sense of smell.
Halfway through Perfumehead my sense of smell had disappeared. Although it lasted only for a few months, my sense of smell began to improve over time. I now appreciate and crave scents, which we all take as a given. Because I lost my fragrance, I found myself much more passionate about it. Through that loss, I resolved to never accept it as a given and that I would appreciate beautiful, natural scents more. I also wanted to share this with others.
PS: How creative are you when creating fragrances?
DPGThe book “Nose Diive”, by Harold McGee was a great read. It talks about the osmocosm, the universe or scent universe. My view of fragrance is different. We all exist in an osmocosm, and we have the chance to surround ourselves with scent. My philosophy about scent is to view it as cinema. There is so much depth, narrative, and emotion within a good scent.
Los Angeles provided the ideal backdrop to my first venture into scent creation. It was my dream to write a love letter to LA as my creative inspiration. Los Angeles is a city with no limits and many contradictions. Living here makes it a wonderful experience. As I began to create the brand and perfumes, LA was where I felt I could capture a lot the emotions and details that are in a fragrance’s notes.
Los Angeles is a city where fragrance notes can be very complex. I was able to draw many parallels. It didn’t have to be LA, but I wanted it be LA. This is how I started to form the scents. The Room Number series is about the experiences I had at Chateau Marmont during my time there. There is decay and decadence in this old hotel, which is where the cool, hip people still want to go. These elements were key to the stories that I was trying to tell. Los Angeles was a place I researched extensively. Los Angeles’ original name was Queen of Los Angeles. Reine des Anges is a result of that.
Each fragrance has its own time and emotion. This large, detailed scrapbook was my attempt to capture the moods I created with each scent. As I collaborated with four different female perfumers, it was layered and improved.
PS: Which was the most important thing to you when creating Perfumehead
DPG: I worked primarily with female perfumers. Based on my experience in fashion and beauty, I found that most perfumers had male noses. While I can see the male side of things, I prefer to view it from a female perspective. It was one of my best decisions because our perfumes are all gender neutral. It’s not something I see in fragrance as a function of gender. We were able to explore these stories in our own way and make fragrances around them.
Violet Grey was also my exclusive partner. I wanted an LA launch, and the retail partner should be iconic. Cassandra Grey’s store is well-curated. I have been a big fan of Violet Grey since the beginning. It was a beautiful jewel box that I thought of as a customer. It could be a very personal experience to smell the fragrances. Violet Grey was the first perfume I created.
PS: What makes Perfumehead’s Fragrances different?
I wanted to make beautiful fragrances. It wasn’t my intention to create polarizing scents. These are not eau de parfums. We have a high percentage of oil. All our products are handmade and hand-labeled. This is all about the craft. It was important for people to experience and feel something. It should feel old-worldy, but also modern. I want it to be handmade in small quantities.
As a fashion director for 15 years, I have a deep appreciation of that experience. I see fragrance as haute couture. It’s that concept when you think about couture and all the intricate handcrafted components that go into it. This was a huge factor in the creation and inspiration of the brand. I draw my inspiration from movies, fashion, and iconic men and women. Jane Birkin is a great example of the iconic brand. The casualness of the 1970s is something I enjoy. Fashion plays an important role.
PS: What is your favorite scent from the line of 7 fragrances?
DPGI have seven children, and I will be the terrible parent who picks one favorite. Cosmic Cowboy is $425. A musk perfume was something I wore all my life, no matter if it was Kiehl’s, Frederic Malle, or Serge Lutens. Cosmic Cowboy was my first musk fragrance. It has been my favorite musk scent since prePerfumehead. It was something I had been working on for a while, so people always stopped me to ask about it.
After creating the classic musk scent, I started mixing it with Canadian Tuxedo. The Canadian Tuxedo/Cosmic Cowboy combo became my favorite. You get 40 notes instead of 20 in a perfume. It is really sensual, layers beautifully and has a lot to offer. It will last hours if you combine Cosmic with Canadian.
This is what many people appreciate about the brand’s wearability. These two elements create a kind of ballet of all the beautiful notes.
Image Source: Perfumehead Illustration by Ava Cruz