“It took many years to build the legacy of Henry Jacques,” says Anne-Lise Cremona, CEO of the iconic haute perfumery steeped in nearly five decades of history. The daughter of perfume connoisseur, Henry Cremona, transports us back to her childhood family home in France, and the origin of the brand that has come to be known as a mark of allure. She recollects how dinners were always filled with conversations about creating perfumes and natural essences. “We used to dream and imagine things together,” Anne-Lise states. “We were encouraged to share our ideas and contribute to what my fa- ther was creating.”
From inspiring tableside discussions, to the launch of the family’s first laboratory in 1975, the brand was fuelled by their passion and her father’s friendship with a fifth-generation ‘nose’, who lamented the transition of the perfume industry from an artisanal pursuit to a mass-centric one. “The know-how doesn’t really exist anymore, unfortunately,” Anne-Lise notes. “The industry has switched to more chemical compositions. But our expertise is based on the knowledge of several generations because we know this is the best way to create perfumes.”
Henry Jacques Clic-Clac in Rose Gold and Titanium with interchangeable perfume capsules
Anne-Lise’s mother, Yvette Cremona, greatly contributed to laying the groundwork of the Maison. “Both my parents prioritised evoking pleasure through our creations before success,” she shares. “They are real artists and didn’t need success to feel happy.” The launch of the laboratory, which took over 10 years, was the tipping point for the family. “This is when Henry Jacques started evolving into the brand that it is today.”
Anne-Lise likens the development of Henry Jacques to couture houses in both its exclusive offerings and reverence for craftsman- ship. “Couture houses design collections for private clients and craft everything mostly by hand, with every dress offering a new experience. That’s what we do at Henry Jacques.”
At the core of Henry Jacques has been to create bespoke fragrances for discerning clients across the world, including those in the Middle East. Among their VIP clients was the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. “He was a dear friend of the brand, and it was an honour for us to create an entire private collection of fragrances for him,” Anne-Lise shares.
Perfume organ at the Henry Jacques boutique in Dubai, UAE
Her memories of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are imbued with the rich scent of culture and heritage. “The Middle East is exceptional for many reasons,” she notes. “I was mesmerised by the unique contrast between tradition and modernity, and I’ll always have a lot of affection for the region.”
As Henry Jacques opens its latest boutique in Abu Dhabi, Anne- Lise is quick to acknowledge the significance of the family’s long- term clients. “They’re crucial to our history. The late Sheikh Zayed will always be an important part of our journey and that’s why we feel so close to the UAE—our clients here helped us to continue working on our art.”
2010 was a turning point for Henry Jacques, as it marked the year that Anne-Lise began writing a new page in the Maison’s history. “The first thing I did is to preserve our past and present because I could never start writing on a white page. I felt it was time to share the brand’s message with a larger community without compromising on its values. They’re a treasure we’ll always keep.”
As she worked towards sensitively preserving the brand’s past, she contemplated how the brand can further blend its two integral components—tradition and innovation. “Because tradition without style or innovation isn’t that interesting. Also, style without real know-how doesn’t take you too far.”
This is when Anne-Lise decided it was time to strategically launch Henry Jacques’ own flagship boutiques. The brand opened its first boutique in the UAE at The Dubai Mall in 2018, at Doha’s Galeries Lafayette in 2019, and at The Galleria Al Maryah Island in Abu Dha- bi in 2021.
As an extension of Anne-Lise’s vision of creating a mélange of tra- dition and modernity, the brand unveiled its latest invention, Clic- Clac, at the end of last year. An emblem of everyday luxury, the uni- sex product reimagines solid perfume by pairing it with watchmaking expertise. Whilst minimalist and modern, it’s a mono- lith of elegance and mystery that nods to the heritage and generational spirit of Henry Jacques with a modern flair.
“For the solid perfume inside the object, we draw on an ancestral recipe that has been previously used for private clients such as Sheikh Zayed. It’s a 100 percent natural base made from flowers— sensual, interesting and beautiful to wear.” Available in three different precious materials, rose gold, carbon and titanium, the product reflects on the brand’s unique design language and is perfect for fashion-forward women and men who are always on the go.
“We’re planning on extending the collection by introducing limited-edition pieces like travel accessories with the option to engrave for Clic-Clac itself, and they’re expected to be ready by the end of this year,” she reveals. “We’ll take our time to create them and make no compromise on quality. They’ll be high-end and luxurious.”
Private salon at the Henry Jacques boutique in Doha, Qatar
Creating a functional and fabulous object to store scents may appear like an enormous leap for a brand that originally only worked with private clients. But it’s another riveting way of telling the Henry Jacques story. “There’s a famous song in France about the essence of perfume—true elegance lies in wearing just a few drops on the skin. With Clic-Clac, you can appreciate the art of living,” Anne-Lise says. “Our wardrobes are composed of different styles. Why should our perfume always be the same?”
Clic-Clac is available across all Henry Jacques boutiques in the UAE. Visit Parfumshenryjacques.com and follow @Henryjacquesparfums on Instagram