Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

The scent of her grandmother’s bergamot tea, the heat of the sun on skin and amethyst-colored waves are a few of Karine Dubner’s favorite memories of her childhood in the South of France. As the owner and creative director of the fashion line Brochu Walker, that’s what inspired her first perfume for her brand, Morning Light. “In Carmel-by-the-Sea, by Carmel Point, I love to walk on the beach,” Dubner says. “There is a magical morning light, a soft pink glow, a hue that combines ocean mist, sunrays and sand that feels otherworldly. My love of Brochu Walker’s soft neutral palette, combined with what mornings mean to me—optimism, an embrace of a new day—it just all naturally connected.”

Morning Light perfectly captures Brochu Walker’s aesthetic of sleek sophistication with timeless appeal in a bottle. “Brochu Walker is very personal,” Dubner says. “If my heart and my brain love something in tandem, it feels right to me. I was born in France, a place where ‘le parfum’ is a way to define yourself, a personal signature. I took the core elements of Brochu Walker—femininity, sensuality and effortlessness—and poured them into Morning Light. The result is a scent that embodies all these things, but with an added element of happiness and freshness that only a fragrance can provide.”


Dubner trusted her instinct every step of the way with the journey to launch Morning Light. “It is hard to ever know when the time is right, but like all my big decisions I went with my gut,” she says. “I had been connecting the dots for a while: the need for a multi-sensory experience in our stores, coupled with the fact that Brochu Walker was already evolving into a full lifestyle brand gave me that aha moment.”

Brochu Walker truly embodies quiet luxury, which extends to its perfume. “The Brochu Walker version of quiet luxury is all about quality combined with the subtle details that set us apart,” Dubner says. “Everything we create feels relevant, yet timeless. Everything we do is deliberate and well thought out. All our products have a softness, a feel-good element that always stands the test of time. It is these subtle things that keep our customer connected to the brand.”


The scent features top notes of cedrat, cardamom and bergamot; a heart of iris petals, lavender and violet leaf; and a base of cedarwood, amber musk and green tea. The perfume is also available in travel size and as a soy wax candle. Dubner partnered with perfumer Gil Clavien of fragrance house Firmenich to create the scent, which took over a year to develop. “This was a journey for me, a very emotional journey,” Dubner says. “The process was very personal. Initially, the Firmenich team helped me identify memories I cherished and scents I love most, like green tea, citrus and bergamot. Meanwhile, our perfumer, Gil Clavien, felt elements of luxuriousness, brightness and ease, part of Brochu Wallker’s DNA, were important to replicate and so iris (one of the most expensive ingredients), cedrat (the citrus, happy note), cardamon (an unexpected, spicy touch) and lavender for comfort became the base of the fragrance. Gil really captured the essence of Brochu Walker, so while it took a long time, the process flowed beautifully.”

Going into it, Dubner didn’t know which notes she wanted to feature, as she admits she didn’t know much about fragrance or notes before delving in. “Like everything in my life, I trusted the process, my instincts and the people I collaborated with,” she says. “I just knew it would fall into place. That said, I did know I wanted Morning Light to be light (a skin scent), and feminine, yet not too floral. I also wanted green tea, bergamot and some citrus notes included.” She let the Firmenich team guide her toward that vision.


In keeping with the brand’s ethos, sustainability was crucial to Dubner, which was an important factor in choosing their partner, Firmenich, because she wanted to make sure that the fragrance aligned with their ‘Kinder To The Environment’ values. “The notes are either harvested by farmers who prioritize sustainable agricultural practices, are replicated in a lab to not deplete the natural resource, are upcycled from materials that would otherwise be wasted, or are 100% traceable back to the country of origin,” she says.

Another important element was ensuring that the bottle was a strong representation of Brochu Walker. “I wanted a round, feminine shape that felt delicate and serene,” Dubner says. “I chose wood for the cap. I love the richness and simplicity of wood—it is strong, yet soft, just like the Brochu Walker woman. And lastly, I wanted a palette that I loved, so I of course incorporated Brochu Walker gray and a touch of pink reminiscent of my walks by the sea.”


Ultimately, the aim was for Morning Light to evoke mornings, Dubner’s favorite time of day. “There is an optimism I feel as I set out to conquer each new day,” she says. “Mornings evoke feelings of happiness; they uplift me. There is also a softness in the morning glow that allows me to ease into my day. Morning Light truly embodies this.”


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