Lola Tillyaeva, both the visionary behind The Harmonist and Uzbekistan’s ambassador to UNESCO, talks exclusively to A&E about her vision for her brand and the importance of sustainability within the industry.
The Harmonist founder Lola Tillyaeva talks to A&E
While The Harmonist is only in its infancy – the wellbeing fragrance brand having launched in 2016 – its founder has a longer history of philanthropic projects to boast.
As well as being the creative mind for the luxe fragrance brand, Lola Tillyaeva also serves as her country’s ambassador to UNESCO supporting its centuries-old cultural heritage and is dedicated to promoting the education of orphans and children with disabilities through her own charitable organisations.
But in her recent chat with A&E, she discusses her love of fragrance and how the philosophy for The Harmonist came into being.
Tell us a little bit about how The Harmonist came about and the philosophy?
Several years ago I created a perfume for myself as I wanted to find a scent I felt comfortable with. It was based on notes of white flowers and vanilla musk with ylang ylang at the heart and it was so popular with my friends that I decided to create my own perfume brand which reflects my philosophy of life.
I wanted to create something new, something that the fragrance market had not seen before. My idea was to translate the 5 basic elements of nature and how they were connected to our sense of smell.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophy of bringing your inner self into harmony with the world around you. The idea behind our brand is to breathe a new breath of energy into people looking for harmony, helping them achieve maximum results as they seek to create balance for themselves and others. Each of The Harmonist’s signature scents draws from one of the five Feng Shui elements regarded as building blocks of all natural phenomena – metal, fire, earth, water and wood. These five elements constitute part and parcel of our everyday life and are present in everything around us.
Talk us through the sustainable side of the business and where you use recyclable materials.
The importance that The Harmonist places on balance and harmony extends to the company’s concern for environmental sustainability, which it incorporates into many aspects of fragrance production. The botanic oils and natural ingredients used to compose the scents are sourced sustainably from around the world, while recyclable materials are used wherever possible, including for eco-friendly packaging.
The Harmonist’s bottles are refillable: to replenish a favourite scent, clients can simply buy refill tubes that help keep packaging to a minimum.
The Harmonist advocates an environmentally- friendly and responsible approach.
What else makes The Harmonist stand out from other brands?
The Harmonist is the first Maison de parfum which offers a fragrance attuned to your personal energy. Calling upon French savoir-faire, The Harmonist offers 11 delicate and exquisite fragrances which were created using the finest natural ingredients from around the world. These sophisticated signature scents reflect the concept of Yin and Yang, the philosophy of balance where two opposing yet complementary and interdependent forces coexist harmoniously.
The Harmonist perfumes embody the five elements regarded as building blocks of all natural phenomena – metal, fire, earth, water and wood.
Wearing a fragrance is like donning a piece of clothing: when we use scent, we are entering the realm of the element it represents. By choosing the right fragrance, you add an ingredient to your aura: the energy of the missing element you need for personal harmony.
What is your first fragrance memory?
We are subtle organisms, using finely-tuned sensors to perceive and appreciate the world around us. Our first experience of smell begins as soon as we are born, so where we are born and what surrounds us during those first weeks and moments makes a lasting impression on each of us. I was born in a land at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road that has been a meeting point since time immortal.
The caravans travelling this highway linking Asia and Europe brought a ceaseless flow of merchants bearing spices and silks from China and India to Europe, and they all passed through our ancient cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. So, naturally, my earliest memories of smell are linked with spices. I still love the smell of spices today – they wrap me in a sense of warmth, a cosy feeling of safety and peace associated with the scent of home baking.
What is next for The Harmonist?
The Harmonist’s boutiques debuted in Paris and Los Angeles in 2016. The fragrances were subsequently launched in Cannes and Zurich, and then in Barneys New York, Boston, Glendale, San Francisco, Las Vegas. The Harmonist perfumes are also now available in London at Harrods, Moscow’s TsUM department store, Dubai at Harvey Nichols and Milan at Rinascente. The product is expected to be launched in Germany in the coming months.