While working as a fashion model, Montreal’s Ruby Brown posed for many a Simons clothing campaign. Fast-forward 10 years, and the now-perfumer is launching the department store’s first-ever fragrance line.
Eau Contemporaine is made up of three perfumes: Lin (Linen), Soie (Silk), and Coton (Cotton). “The idea was to have a story and be inspired by that story,” Brown says cheerily, over the phone from Montreal. “A lot of people do the opposite: they do something trendy and then create a story. I was inspired first by the actual woman, the Simons woman, the typical client of Simons: she is a very modern, very elegant woman.” From there, Brown felt connected to the season’s textiles and textures; thus, three fabric-named fragrances, each one embodying the style, the feeling of wearing it. Coton, for example, is light, airy, and sweet; it’s comfortable, effortless—like a classic cotton tee.
Brown was working as a model in Paris (for the likes of Dior, Chanel, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle) when she took a fateful trip to Grasse—known as the perfume capital of the world—in 2008. There, her passion for all things olfactory was ignited. After retiring from life in front of the camera, she spent some time learning from a master perfumer in New Jersey (the Grasse of North America, if you will) and eventually set up her own company, specializing in made-to-measure perfume workshops, back in Montreal six years ago. Her eponymous brand has since expanded to include candles, private label services, and custom fragrances—almost all of it made in Canada.
“It reflects my values and Simons’s values,” Brown says of the fact that the entire Eau Contemporaine is produced here. She also notes her appreciation that Simons—a Quebec City-based company that has stores across the country, and carries brands from all over the world—chose a local, independent entrepreneur to work with on this project. “It was a fabulous process,” she emphasizes. From modelling Simons clothing to designing its signature perfumes, Brown has taken her journey full circle. She created scents for the Simons woman, but more than that, with her success and her stride, she is the Simons woman.