“Perfume is a form of writing, an ink, a choice made in the first person, the dot on the i, a weapon, a courteous gesture, part of the instant, a consequence,” according to famed French perfumer Serge Lutens. The reclusive polymath -- he’s also a photographer, filmmaker and creative director -- has indelibly left his mark on the beauty industry, but credits the Red City for having helped illuminate his fifth sense. Below, six things we uncovered about the lavish palace he has been building for 47 years.
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The scent of Marrakech: 10 things we learned about Serge Lutens' fragrant playground
French perfumer Serge Lutens has indelibly left his mark on the beauty industry, engineering Christian Dior’s first makeup collection in the 1970s, collaborating with Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Diana Vreeland, and having a film debut at the Cannes Film Festival. But it was Morocco, Marrakech that cast a spell on him.
The palatial spread is made up of 20 residences
He acquired the first building, located in Marrakech’s storied medina in 1974, and continued acquiring, gradually growing an opulent network of interconnected buildings.
Lutens designed the whole place
Right down to the drainage grates, the famed creative director left no detail unchecked. Bringing Lutens’ majestic vision to life is a team of 1,000 local craftsmen.
The 32,000-sq.-ft residence has been under construction for five decades
Yes, you read that right. “Beauty is impossible to define,” Lutens told Town and Country. “It’s constant discovery—it takes you through hidden doors.” Finished is an illusory concept in the grand master’s world. Once a room is complete, Lutens will often arrange to have the room redone.
THE ENTRANCE TO LUTENS' LABORATORY / COURTESY OF SERGE LUTENS FOUNDATION
"Beauty is impossible to define... it's constant discovery - it takes you through hidden doors.."
SERGE LUTENS IN MOROCCO / COURTESY OF SERGE LUTENS FOUNDATION
LUTEN'S COLLECTION OF ANTIQUE BERBER JEWELRY / COURTESY OF SERGE LUTENS FOUNDATION
The home smells like his perfume
Subtly fragranced with floral notes as well as cedar and amber (all native to Morocco), the residence’s olfactory profile is a tribute to Lutens’ most beloved scents, such as Ambre Sultan, Fleurs d’Oranger, and Fille de Berlin.
He never would've gotten into fragrance if not for Morocco
“Making a perfume is a matter of putting mosaic pieces together, linking together a succession of accords,” Lutens told Town and Country. “There’s a lot of hesitation in the process. I don’t know where I’m going until I’ve arrived.”
You can tour the home
Originally only very-important-travelers staying at the Royal Mansour, the illustrious property belonging to his Royal Highness King Mohamed VI of Morocco, could get a glimpse into Lutens’ home; however now couples can embark on a three-hour excursion through the luxurious paradise.