ETIENNE DE SWARDT

20160920 - Portrait de Etienne de Swardt a la parfumerie Senteurs d'ailleurs   le 20 Septembre 2016. PHOTO JOHANNA DE TESSIERES

Etat Libre d’Orange is an ambitious, audacious perfumery — passionate, exuberant, liberated. Free to create. Free to love and be loved. This is a different kind of perfumery – intelligent, with a point of view.

A whimsical perfumery that uses irony to hone the names of its scents. A spirited perfumery that shakes up prejudices and stirs up ambiguities. A perfumery that plays with ideas and reinvents the pleasures to be found in the sense of smell, through sublime, delicately composed juices. These are juices composed from first-rate, living matter that fuses with the skin so they can only belong to the person who wears them. Juices that are fashioned without constraint or compromise. Juices that are designed to disturb, to touch, to tempt, to thrill. And seduce, seduce, seduce. Juices that are created to extend the confines of perfume, to overcome the forbidden, to break the rules. To rebel.

To exist, at last.

Etienne de Swardt “It takes a dangerous man to make a dangerous perfume.Troublemaker & Perfumer

Etienne de Swardt, an opportunist since 1970, is a survivor of consumerism, a witness to (and participant in) the decay and atrophy known as the business of beauty. Etat Libre d’Orange is his rehabilitation, his attempt to cleanse himself. Burned by life, with all its perversions and distortions, he now makes perfume as an antidote to despair.

He has been told (as have we all): find yourself, be yourself. But he knows (as do we all) that this is a futile pursuit in a meaningless void. So he creates a collection of scents that ask “who do you want to be today?” This suits his nature, as a refined chameleon, living a singular existence as an oedipal mammal and naked cowboy in a state of contradiction. He is an insolent egoist who recognizes his own inadequacies.

Whether he comes from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away or from some terrifying future dystopia, he knows that he knows nothing, only that he is lost in this century, lost in translation. He is a citizen of nowhere, so he has formed the Orange Free State, a fantasy world where he can demonstrate the beauty in strangeness. 

A flagrant disregard for convention enables him to give in to his basest instincts, and he has taken it upon himself to unleash his obsessions in the form of scent. He sells himself. With his manwhore attitude, he has surrendered to his own narcissism, and this arrogant pathology is the gateway to Etat Libre d’Orange.