Romano Ricci has perfume in his DNA. His great-grandmother was the legendary couturier Nina Ricci and his grandfather Robert was creator of the equally iconic L’Air du Temps.
Although he’d grown up surrounded by fashion and fragrance, Romano Ricci set out to learn the art of fragrance creation from scratch. ‘I’m self-taught,’ he says. ‘I never went to ISIPCA (Paris’s ‘perfume school’), or any similar schools. Instead, I gained my competence through practice. I worked in perfumery for seven years before launching my own adventure. I was with France Fragrance for three years and also worked with other perfume makers such as Pierre Bourdon, Francis Kurkdjian, Isabelle Maillebiau and Philippe Romano – who all taught me a lot.’
He launched Julette Has A Gun in December 2006: a brand devoted to women, offering a new type of elegance within niche perfumery: ‘The innocent Juliet of Shakespeare is transposed to the 21st Century with a gun… Metaphor for the perfume, weapon of seduction, or simple accessory of bluff. “Gun” essentially symbolises the liberation of women towards men… And sometimes with an aftertaste of revenge.’
Adds Romano, ‘For me, perfume is intimately connected with seduction, perhaps in the same way as fashion, make-up and hairstyling. It’s a way to define oneself externally. I felt, however, that there existed a more modern and more amusing way to approach these issues. That’s why you will also find humour in my work, even though the work is rigorously done.’ The debut fragrances included Miss Charming (an airy swirl of Moroccan rose, strawberry and lichi), and the darker, more mysterious Lady Vengeance, pulsing with rose, vanilla and patchouli.
Since then, Juliette Has a Gun has won the hearts of perfume-lovers around the world. In 2011 Romano also won the French Fragrance Foundation’s ‘Special Prize of the Board’, awarded to an individual who has shown special ingenuity, creativity and dedication within the perfume industry.