Photography by Mr Matthew Brookes | Styling by Mr Grant Woolhead
Words by Mr Yale Breslin
When our conversation turns to the process of buying a scent, Mr Carlos Huber, the founder of perfumer Arquiste, has simple advice: "Don't be afraid of florals." With a background in architectural design, the Mexico City-born entrepreneur launched his line of niche fragrances that "transport you to another place and time". Currently in the process of mixing his seventh scent, Mr Huber's goal is to preserve time and history with his creations. From his childhood memories of buying flowers for his mother to the Palace of Versailles, he's masterfully created a series of time capsules that translate into intoxicating smells. Here, he fills us in on finding the perfect white tee, the proper way to apply aftershave, and why a floral base can more often than not be the most masculine scent of all.
What does scent mean to you?
Well, how do you define your life? I define it by what you see and what you feel. To me, scent is exactly that. It defines what's around me and what is going on in my life. It's just like music and art - the purpose is to enrich your life. And that's what it means to me. It defines who you are, who you're with, and your current mood.
Are there any scents that you feel defined your childhood?
There is this smell of these cookies that were made in this department store in Mexico City that always smelled so good to me. I remember asking my mother to purchase them, and when I tasted them for the first time they really weren't that good. But it's the memory of holding my mother's hand down the escalator that I relate to the fresh-baked scent. Gardenia is also a very important scent for me.
In my hometown, when you are driving around there are a lot of flower kiosks on the streets and many people situated around different areas selling bunches of flowers. There is one particular corner in my neighbourhood where they sold tiny bunches of gardenias. When I first got my car and would stop at a red light, I would buy them and either put them in my room or give them to my mother or sister. It's this scent that reminds me of being young in Mexico City.
Scent defines what's around me and what is going on in my life. It's just like music and art - the purpose is to enrich your life
I know you've been busy growing your business. What are you currently working on?
I'm working on a seventh fragrance that's coming out in October. It's actually a floral, but it is masculine. That's something that is interesting to me. I want to portray a feeling that we are able to concoct modern and interesting floras.
What does it smell like?
It's very fresh and it's like a take on cologne. But it's a green gardenia.
What is the connection between candles and scents? Are there any plans to cross over?
I'm in the middle of producing a candle in collaboration with Cire Trudon that will be available in February. I met with the team and after a few meetings we realised there was a lot of synergy between Arquiste and Cire Trudon - especially the historical factors.
Mr Huber launched his debut collection, above, in New York in September 2011
How would you define your personal style?
I like having a certain dignity when I present myself. If you're out in the street or going to meet someone, there's a certain type of presentation that I think is appropriate. It's not only the clothes, but it is also about your disposition and manners. Paying attention to what you're wearing is a mark of respect to the other person. Again, it's one of those things that enrich your life. If you put something on that tells a story or means something to you, such as a fragrance, it's nice to carry that with you as your day goes on.
Are there any labels that you like to wear?
I love Gant Rugger, and J.Crew has a lot of pieces that I wear. I'm always searching for the perfect white T-shirt, though. But when it comes to the fit, I like them a little bit shorter and cropped. They can't be too tailored.
Do you have any pieces of clothing you'd never throw away?
I'm very possessive and I don't let go of shoes very easily. I like them worn in and a little distressed and it's hard for me to part with shoes. Plus, the stories you can tell based on your shoes are quite remarkable. Kind of like, "If these shoes could talk..."
The stories you can tell based on your shoes are quite remarkable. Kind of like, 'If these shoes could talk...'
Besides your own, are there any scents you love?
I really love very traditional men's colognes, even if they don't last long. But I really like the process of getting ready and throwing on a splash of your favourite scent. There's also something about seeing your father do it and then you doing it - it's as if history is repeating itself.
What about aftershave?
Well, I think that also embodies the role of cologne for me. It's nice to have something that refreshes you and provides a perfect cooling effect. I think if you're out at the gym and you shave, that's when you should wear it. Keep in mind that aftershave is going to go away very quickly, so there's no need to be too careful with application.
When it comes to buying a scent, what factors should a man take into consideration?
To not be so afraid of what it is that defines a scent as either cologne or perfume. Don't be afraid of floral smells because lots of men's fragrances comprise this. The most important thing to remember is that the way something smells on you will smell different on someone else. The same way you choose a jacket or a tie, it tells a little bit about your story. So, the cologne you choose should tell a little bit about the message you're after.