When Etienne de Swardt created his house of perfume in 2006, it was only right and natural for him to give it this name, to honor his birthplace and what it represents.
In South Africa, Etat Libre d’Orange, the Orange Free State, was an autonomous sovereign republic which declared independence from British rule in 1854. The name was derived from the royal family of the Netherlands, the homeland of the region’s pioneers. It was a land of staggeringly rough beauty and color and unforgettable smells, a nation of contrasts, strong feelings, and mixed emotions. The rainbow mosaic of people and cultures gave it an unpredictable, sometimes savage nature. And it was independent — unrestrained, unrestricted.
Unity, beauty, conflict — and freedom, the hallmarks of our company. The Orange Free State ended in 1902. But its attitude lives on at Etat Libre d’Orange.
Etienne de Swardt worked for a long time in the rarefied world of luxury perfume, a world which has had a fixed scope and ambition. Much of the work in recent years has been limited to simple and sterile fragrance expressions. Perfumes have been conceived with the goal of pleasing the greatest number of potential customers, and this goal is based on the premise that customers want something easy and uncomplicated.
Bored with these dictates, Etienne formed his own house with the idea of starting a revolution. He wanted to create a challenging perfumery, to emancipate juices from traditional restrictions. He envisioned perfumes that were furiously liberated, dangerously endearing. Flamboyant, excessive, perfect. Sometimes scandalous, always delicious.