Sophia Grojsman, a woman for whom many will tell you has shaken the perfume tradition, created more than 50 perfumes that are still considered timeless classics: Lancome Tresor, Yves Saint Laurent Paris, Calvin Klein Eternity, Gloria Vanderbilt Vanderbilt, Bvlgari Pour Femme, and many others, as well as a completely new style of perfume making – the so-called linear perfumes.
Sophia Grojsman was born on March 8, 1945, in the former Soviet Union (present-day Belarus) in the village of Ljubcha. As a Russian partisan during World War II, Sofia’s father saved a group of Jews, including her mother. It was a lifelong love. The childhood she spent with her sister in the post-war environment was not easy at all. As she said, instead of toys, they spent hours, days, years surrounded by the scents of colorful flowers from the neighboring fields. Her sense of smell has always been very sharp, so her mother often took her to the market.
Since we didn’t have a fridge, my mother would ask me to smell butter, milk, and cheese to determine their freshness. If I made an ugly face, she knew the food would spoil within a day, and she never wanted to buy it.
When she turned fifteen (1960), Sophia Grojsman emigrated with her family to Poland, where she completed her inorganic analytical chemistry studies. Five years later (1965), the Grojsman’s moved again, this time to the United States, at the invitation of a Jewish family rescued by Sofia’s father during the war. She did everything she could as an immigrant, cleaning apartments until one day someone suggested she look for a job in the chemical industry.
In 1966, she got a job as a laboratory technician at International Flavors and Fragrances (IFF). Although she was overqualified for that job, that did not discourage her, so she dedicated the next four years to studying organic chemistry. She got help and incredible support of the then already recognized and well-known perfumers Josephina Catapano and Ernest Shiftano, thanks to whom she became one of the perfumers of a leading perfume company whose annual sales exceeds two billion US dollars. She worked for almost all well-known perfume companies, but she equally enjoyed creating a large number of non-commercial editions, which is why she says that she does not know the exact number of perfumes she has made so far.
The basis of many of her perfumes is a rose as a symbol of love, as the first flower that a man gives to a woman, as a luxurious and intoxicating scent of her petals. For Sofia, perfume and women must be in harmony, and the skeleton of that harmony is Tresor, a fragrance she made back in 1990. With it begins the era of monolithic perfumes of linear structure designed by Sophia Grojsman, which, unlike perfumes before, that had top, middle, and bottom notes – the so-called pyramidal structure, now had the same flow and impression that leaves one instantly breathless.
The story of White Linen began when Estee Lauder invited her to her house on Palm Beach. Enchanted by the whiteness of the house, she created a perfume that awakens a feeling of beauty in a woman and a recollection of the home from which she came, smelling fresh and clean. She invests all her time and soul in perfume creations so that they live on the skin of their owner. There is a story about her that is famous – one day, she smelled a perfume that enchanted her on a passerby, and when the woman told her it was Eternity, a scent she created, she just laughed because she didn’t recognize it.
When choosing a fragrance, look at yourself, do not be conservative, do not blindly follow fashion, choose what suits your style, and inner peace. The right choice is made when you bring more feelings into yourself and for others when you add something that everyone lacks nowadays: friendliness, attention, and genuine interest in everything that makes up your life. The perfume’s mission is to give your aura a pleasant feeling of comfort and freedom and make you attractive to others, Sophia said in an interview with Elena Knezhevich.
As one of the most popular contemporary perfumers, Sophia Grojsman is the winner of the perfume industry’s most prestigious awards. In 1994 she was awarded the Cosmetic Executive Women’s (CEW) Achiever Lifetime Achievement Award for perfume creation and in 1996 the Living Legend Award by the American Society of Perfumers. She received the CEW Award again in May 1999 for lifetime achievement in the perfume industry. In June 2016, IFF also awarded her the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sophia Grojsman firmly believes that her childhood spent in Russia left memories that will last a lifetime.
I learned decency and love for another person, but the freedom I gained in the United States gave me new opportunities. Despite all the changes in life, the roots remain, and the soil on which we grew up cannot be forgotten, she noted.
Among the best and most popular perfumes she has created are:
- Bill Blass Nude (1990)
- Boucheron Jaipur (1994)
- Bvlgari Bvlgari Pour Femme (1994)
- Calvin Klein Eternity (1988)
- Calvin Klein Eternity Purple Orchid (2002)
- Celine Magic (1996)
- Christian Lacroix Christian Lacroix (1999)
- Clinique Calyx (2013)
- Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds and Rubies (1993)
- Estée Lauder Beautiful (1985)
- Estée Lauder Spellbound (1992)
- Estée Lauder White Linen (1978)
- Frederic Malle Outrageous! (2007)
- Gloria Vanderbilt Vanderbilt (1982)
- IVS Elite Group Désir Coulant (2012)
- HRH Princess Elizabeth E (2002)
- HRH Princess Elizabeth Jelisaveta (2002)
- Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars (1994)
- Kenzo Kashaya (1994)
- Lalique Lalique (1992)
- Lancôme Trésor (1990)
- Lancôme Trésor Sparkling (2007)
- Laura Biagiotti Sotto Voce (1996)
- Oscar De La Renta Volupté (1992)
- Paloma Picasso Tentations (1996)
- Perry Ellis 360° (1992)
- Prescriptives Calyx (1987)
- Michel Germain Séxūal (1994)
- S-Perfume 100% Love (2003)
- Yves Rocher Neblina (2000)
- Yves Saint Laurent Paris (1983)
- Yves Saint Laurent Paris Premieres Roses (2003)
- Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne (2009)
- Yves Saint Laurent Yvresse (1993)