Lena Filippou-Korre, Co-Founder and Head of Innovation of KORRES, has set a professional course consistent with respect for nature and with scientific research, to decipher the unlimited potential of natural ingredients and promote the unique Greek biodiversity. Her vision is for KORRES products to spread across the world the Greek herbs and centuries-old knowledge, which began in antiquity, continued with unique traditions and is enriched by modern primary scientific research.
The invitation of the National Archaeological Museum to KORRES to participate in the exhibition “The Countless Aspects of Beauty” gave a new dimension to the company’s commitment to natural ingredients, and an opportunity for a journey through the centuries aiming to the revival of the natural scent of antiquity. This invitation was a high honor for KORRES, the only company asked by the most important cultural player in Greece to contribute with its know-how and legacy, making it part of a special, exciting and groundbreaking venture.
As leader of the project, Lena was the one who infused the staff with her enthusiasm and passion for this idea and, in collaboration with her team, studied texts and inscriptions and managed to find the necessary ingredients in remote parts of Greece and faithfully revive the ancient method of perfumery.
She is now holding in her hands the rose, sage and coriander perfumes, the three scents of antiquity brought back to life today in the KORRES lab, and declares this to be one of the most magical moments in her professional life.
‘This oil, which required so much effort and time to manufacture, is the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in my life’, said Sofia Zissimou, Head of Research & Development, who was responsible for coordinating and guiding the team throughout the process of recreating the scent of antiquity. Sophia has been part of the KORRES team for over twelve years. She is the one putting together the composition (ingredients, scents, textures) of the brand’s products; each product innovation requires years of studies and research. This is a process that she has repeated hundreds of times, each with the same enthusiasm. However, the attempt to approach history through smell, a sense of paramount importance in the context of this exhibition, together with that of sight, using techniques and natural ingredients that modern cosmetology is unfamiliar with, has been an unprecedented challenge. This precious rose-based oil that the team brought back to life based on the principles of ancient perfumery, was the one that she was in charge of, in collaboration with perfumer Sofia Koronaiou, in order to transform its oily texture and give it a cosmetics-suitable form which would enable her to share it with the public, thus bringing it, through the sense of smell, closer to the ancestral world.
Iordanis Samanidis, chemist specialized in the Development and Production of Raw Materials, undertook the very interesting project of recreating the perfumes, with the general feeling that he was on a journey; every step, every stage along the way, from research and studying to the lab work, was magical in its own way. Iordanis’ bibliographical research lasted a year and required a visit to the library of Rethymno, as he was attempting to understand the ancient technique of manufacturing aromatic oils. He finally determined the ingredients, the method, the equipment and the tools that he would combine to get closer to the ancient world of perfumery. He felt that he himself touched and smelled, through modern means and equipment, the same raw materials and fragrances, that he experienced the same sensory stimuli as the perfumers of antiquity. The successful completion of each stage of the experiment was a small victory and the final result proved that the efforts of the KORRES researcher were worth it.
Giorgos Stavropoulos is an agriculturist working in the KORRES Research & Development department. He is the brand’s plant hunter, constantly looking for herbs, appropriate soils and cultivators who share the same passion for nature, organic farming and quality. Giorgos worked closely with Iordanis, taking on the task of looking for raw materials to use in the attempt to recreated the perfumes of antiquity. And so he embarked on his own journey... According to Theophrastus, the best nut grass is found in the Cyclades; so this is from where he procured it. Once again, wherever in the country he went, people involved in agriculture welcomed him with warmth and hospitality. He didn’t have to engage in long talks for them to understand the importance of this venture. They answered his call as the modern carriers of the colors and fragrances of the Greek land.
After a lot of studying and research, they decided that the plants to provide the basic ingredients for the manufacturing of the three perfumes would be the following: Nut grass: They procured the nut grass tubers from the Aegean islands; more specifically, from Samos and Amorgos. This is a plant that all farmers try to keep in check in order to work effectively, and now it becomes the base for creating unique perfumes! Wild olive oil: The wild olive oil comes from Magnissia; more specifically, from the olive trees of Mr. Papastergiou. Coriander: Mr. Ereliadis, one of the first associates of the company, who has been producing aromatic and medicinal plants for decades in the region of Kozani, supplied the coriander and gave his best wishes for a successful outcome in this project. Sage: The team procured the sage from Faskomilia, Thesprotia; more specifically, from Ms Komini, who is always there to support KORRES in every new venture.
Stavros Papagiannis, co-founder of architecture & design studio Stage Design Office, is one of the first partners of KORRES and one of the brand’s Creative Directors. He was the one who undertook the study, design and setting up of the National Archaeological Museum space that received the ancient perfumes as brought to light by the research team of KORRES. Inspired by the temples of the ancient world, Stavros Papagiannis envisioned the space as a sanctuary of Aphrodite −the statue of the goddess dominating the center area− also “playing” with the idea of accessing the personal space of a beautiful woman. Speaking about beauty, creating curves was an intrinsic part of his design. The curves form three recesses, three hollow points painted gold −a key feature of ancient temples and a material associated with power and luxury−, reminiscent of ancient water taps, where visitors have the opportunity to isolate themselves to smell the perfume and live a unique olfactory experience that feels like a ritual.