Mathilde Laurent

Mathilde Laurent

Cartier’s In-House Perfumer. Paris

By: Emily Ramshaw

When it comes to rare, exclusive, priceless anything—you know, what’s generally known as luxuryCartier might as well be the dictionary definition.  You know, ever since Marilyn sang about diamonds being a girl’s BFF (and please Netflix that movie STAT if you don’t know what we’re talking about), and even before that, when the now famous Panthère motif was designed for Wallis Simpson, American style icon (not a phrase we use lightly) and the Duchess of Windsor, in the ‘40s; let’s just say that as far as Cartier is concerned, it’s been a long and storied history of creating some of the most extravagant and coveted baubles, like, ever.

But, like, if diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and Cartier is providing us with plenty of hugely desirable BFF material, we think fragrance just might be a worthy competitor as far as dependable, everyday soul sisters go. ‘Cause, we mean, as much as we love us some sparkle, our fragrance collection is a) way bigger and b) gets a little bit more love that the solitary diamond studs we got for our 21st birthdays. So, you can likely imagine that our hearts beat a little bit faster when we were first invited to Cartier’s own perfume atelier, a.k.a. the office of the one and only Mathilde Laurent. Laurent is the official ‘nose’ responsible for the jeweler’s fragrance renaissance—i.e. pretty much making the house the go-to source for bespoke or otherwise hugely luxurious scents. (La Treizième Heure, a set of thirteen fragrances designed by Laurent, essentially sets the bar when it comes to mood-of-the-minute perfume.) It was a real A-ha moment when we heard that she considered psychology as an alternative life path: let’s just say that when it comes to the whole signature scent thing, the woman just gets us.

Laurent’s office is in the penthouse suite of Fondation Cartier pour L’Art Contemporain in Montparnasse (what can we say, it was like returning home), and it’s exactly the kind of modern, sweet-smelling sanctuary you would expect. Filled with every kind scent-producing item you can imagine, the shelves and shelves of bottled fragrance pretty much amount to an olfactory paradise (we may or may not have confused it for a massive pharmaceutical stash—just for a second).  And while we could have spent all day going from bottle to bottle, guessing at Laurent’s next exclusive scent (may we suggest Cartier de Cov?), there were a few other distractions in her immaculate office: her Cartier panther knuckle ring (which, BTW, Laurent's latest creation for Cartier, La Panthere, is named for) for one—we mean, we’ve only been coveting an identical knocker through the glass at the Champs-Élysées flagship since our first time in Paris. And then there was her bronze Margiela jacket, her sequined Converse, her liquid gold Cartier tote...okay, so it might be a complete cliché at this point (thanks Rihanna), but we're just gonna go there and say Laurent totally shines bright like a diamond.