We Interviewed The Legendary Perfumer Behind Bulgari Goldea’s The Roman Night


Bella Hadid is the face of the fragrance

The following feature appears in the September 2017 issue of NYLON.

Bella Hadid, the face of Bulgari Goldea’s newest fragrance, The Roman Night, is arguably the Audrey Hepburn of the new millennium. And as the sun set in Rome during the perfume’s launch, Hadid glided down the Spanish Steps with freshly chopped baby bangs and an armful of roses in a spectacular publicity stunt—her own “Roman Holiday”—that we’ll surely never forget. The next day, we spoke with legendary perfumer Alberto Morillas about seduction, pulse points, and wearing fragrance while he sleeps, and discovered that both he and Hadid love the masculinity of the scent, which she carries all on her own—no Gregory Peck needed.

Can you describe your inspiration for the perfume?
This perfume is the story of nights in Roma. It’s happiness. It’s the spirit of the city. It’s beauty. It’s love, so it’s also dangerous. It’s many sensations.

What notes are used in the fragrance, and why did you choose them?
I started with a very simple contrast of flowers
and musk, which Bulgari loved. The history of Goldea is musk—luminous musk and black musk. This one is black musk.

Why black musk? 
When you wear perfume, there’s the possibility of opening your heart. Seduction is not just about smelling good, it’s also about revealing your personality. Black musk is great for the night, and makes for a perfume with some dangerous parts.

What’s the best way to apply perfume?
When you spray in the air, you use a lot of perfume for nothing! It is much better here [points to top of forearm], but never here [points to inner wrist].

But everyone sprays it on their inner wrists, though. I’m shocked!
No. On the inside of the wrist, sometimes you are wearing a watch or a bracelet. It’s a very oxidized place. The best is the top of the arm, because it’s warm and easy to smell. We don’t need to wear so much at once. It’s better to apply a little bit three times a day. When you are not wearing too much [to begin with], you’re able to spray on more when you are a little bit stressed. When you can be more relaxed, it’s like medication for the heart and soul.

When did you start making perfume?
I was 20 years old. I started in my company in Geneva, and have been here for 45 years. I learned alone. It’s a very technical job, but you also need to think a lot and relive the smells of your memories. This morning I got up very early because I was very nervous about this event. Waking up in Roma, every five minutes I feel an emotion. When I’m creating perfume, I need that time to think, and process my singular experience of a place through smell.

Does it get overwhelming to take in so much olfactory information? 
Sometimes I close my nose. It is impossible. But luckily I think in the night, and while I’m sleeping. When I sleep, I create a lot of perfumes.

Do you wear perfume while you sleep?
Oh, yes. Different perfumes at once. Sometimes the same perfume in different variations.

What’s the emotional process of creating a perfume?
It’s my job. I’m very passionate. I have extraordinary luck to be able to make this magic. I love the beginning of the process—you have a lot of emotion, you have a lot of happiness. But when you finish, you are happy as well, because you don’t want to smell any more scents! When Bella called me and said she loved my perfume, I forgot about it for eight months, and just smelled it again today.

Have you ever walked down the street and smelled a fragrance on a woman that you created?
This morning I saw a lady, and I said, “Oh, you smell so good, what are you wearing?” And she said, “Your perfume!” I asked, “Are you sure it’s my perfume?” She said, “Yes, it’s [Bulgari] Man in Black.” It’s very hard for feminine perfume to work for men, but women can wear all masculine fragrances. Man in Black changed
a lot on her skin, I was very surprised. But in a
good way.

Hadid has said that she likes the masculinity of The Roman Night. Did you have that intention going into it?
There is some masculinity in all of my perfume. This one has patchouli and vetiver—it’s not just flowers. Floral fragrances are very romantic, but wood gives you more energy.

Bulgari Goldea The Roman Night eau de Parfum, $114 for 2.5 fl. oz., available at Bloomingdale's.

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.



Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.