IFF marks 40th anniversary of LMR Naturals

 

IFF celebrated the 40th anniversary of its natural raw materials company LMR Naturals at an event in Grasse in the south of France last week, which was attended by the company’s teams, the mayor of Grasse Jérôme Viaud, and the press.

Laboratoire Monique Remy, or LMR Naturals as it is now known, was founded by Monique Remy 40 years ago with the aim of using natural flowers, plants, spices and resins to create high-quality natural essential oils, concretes and absolutes for perfumery.

Monique Remy became known and respected in the industry for her deep knowledge of natural raw materials and her role in championing the use of high-quality naturals in fragrance. She passed away on January 4 this year.

Monique Remy was also credited with introducing new and sustainable processes for the extraction and purification of raw materials, such as Rose Essential, Lavender Enfleurage 2.0 or Vetiver Ultimate. LMR became associated with a holistic approach to production that integrates virtuous agricultural practices, environmentally friendly extraction and supply chain transparency.  

Laboratoire Monique Remy was acquired by US-based IFF in 2000 at a time when most of the competition had walked away from naturals. LMR Naturals is now part of IFF’s Scent business and creates ingredients for the perfume, personal and home care markets. IFF underlines that LMR Naturals is a key pillar in its strategy to meet the growing demand for natural ingredients today.

Defending naturals

At the anniversary event, held in LMR Naturals’ ‘experimental field’ in Grasse, Bertrand de Préville, LMR’s General Manager paid tribute to Monique Remy’s entrepreneurial flair and contribution to the fragrance industry.

“[Monique Remy] was a heroine. I would like to highlight her extraordinary courage and will give you two examples of it. The first is her courage as a Parisian – she was not from Grasse, but from Paris, and had incredible courage in the eighties to create a company in Grasse to promote naturals. I don’t know if you remember what the industry was like in the eighties – naturals weren’t at all valued, but were synonymous with problems, with high prices and with opacity. And moreover, most of the major perfume houses had left Grasse, but Monique arrived saying ‘we are going to defend naturals’. It required extraordinary courage to take on this fight at a time when the whole industry swore by synthetics.”

He continued: “The second example is that of Monique as a woman in a man’s world or a patriarchal world. It’s not easy today, but imagine how it was in the eighties, as a female business leader who set out to defend naturals – she had unbelievable courage. Above all, she had a desire to create something that didn’t exist, which is what characterizes a true leader. She had a vision for a business before everyone else and LMR’s success today is thanks to this vision. Forty years on, LMR continues Monique’s vision, her love of beautiful natural ingredients, her respect for nature and all those who work in developing these products.”

Jérôme Viaud, mayor of Grasse, called Monique Remy an emblematic figure in perfumery with an audacious vision and a devotion to natural ingredients which have influenced Grasse.

 

The company’s ‘experimental field’ in Grasse

 

Viaud went on to say that since he became mayor in 2014, he has sought to reposition Grasse as a hub for natural raw materials and for perfumery. This has involved efforts to convince key fragrance players to return to Grasse and carving out 70 hectares of land (originally destined for building development) for use by the fragrance industry.

To mark the 40th anniversary of LMR, IFF has launched a book published by Nez Editions called The Art of Naturals, Monique Remy and 40 years of Natural Ingredients. The book is a retrospective of Monique Remy’s life and achievements. It highlights her impact on the fragrance market and includes accounts from perfumers at IFF, such as Anne Flipo and Dominque Ropion, as well as contributions from perfumers from across the industry, including Maurice Roucel, Jean-Claude Ellena and Jean Jacques.

The anniversary celebrations were also the occasion for IFF to open the doors of its L’Atelier du Parfumeur in Grasse to the press in the company of VP Perfumers Juliette Karagueuzoglou and Domitille Michalon.

The facility, which opened in 2019, was erected on top of a perfumery production site, where fragrances are still compounded by hand. The space is conceived as an artist’s residence for IFF’s perfumers from around the world; perfumers can spend several days there to work on a project, smell raw materials or collaborate with clients. IFF VP Scent Communication & Branding Judith Gross describes it as the “Villa Medici for perfumery,” a kind of bubble to stimulate creativity and encourage inspiration. Like LMR Naturals, IFF points out that the studio is seen as a testament to the group’s commitment to high-end perfumery and the Grasse region.

 

IFF perfumer Juliette Karagueuzoglou at the company’s L’Atelier du Parfumeur in Grasse