Creator of numerous internationally acclaimed fragrances, American Society of Perfumers recipient of the William P. Lambert and Lifetime Achievement awards, company executive, lecturer and mentor, James (Jim) S. Bell is an important figure in the fragrance industry. Known as a veteran “Fragrance Ambassador,” his legendary career and achievements continue to inspire excellence and creativity in future generations. He continues to be passionate about the art, science, and craftsmanship needed to create timeless fragrances.
Jim was born in Harlem, New York and spent his formative years in Florence, South Carolina and returned to New York as a teenager. He holds a B.A. degree in Liberal Arts from Fordham University. He also attended the City College of New York and Columbia University.
Having worked in this constantly evolving industry for over four decades, he bore witness to many changes that have influenced the creation of fragrances – improved technology, discoveries of new molecules, trends in fashion and music. But for Jim, it is still the special gift of the perfumer to translate experiences into scents that make great fragrances. He maintains that "behind every successful fragrance there is a voice, a vision, and an element of mystique."
Initially a clerk-typist, he moved on to a compounding job in the lab. After several years, Mr. Jean Amic, then Chairman of the company, recognized Jim’s “nose” and encouraged what would become a passion for fragrance creation. In 1969 Jim was offered the opportunity to join the Perfumery School in Grasse, France, and began his apprenticeship.
In the early 1970s, he was selected to study at the Roure Bertrand Fils et Justine Dupont School of Perfumery and Chemical Research in France in a program that was delivered exclusively in French. He would return frequently thereafter to work on special projects in Paris with Master Perfumers.
He’s been a member of the American Society of Perfumers since 1974 and has since that time held several elected positions including Past President (1982-83) and Board Member. Further, he served as Distinguished Speaker at World Perfumery Congress, Scottsdale Arizona.
In 1995 he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Perfumers for outstanding service. This prestigious award distinguished him as an artist in the field of perfumery to an audience of his peers.
Throughout his illustrious career, he has collaborated with celebrities in fashion design, music and film as well as sports figures to create some of the world’s most memorable fragrances. His repertoire includes collaborations with designers Diane Von Furstenburg, Yves St. Laurent, Cynthia Jerry, Alfred Sung, Bill Blass, Gianni Versace, Helena Contessa, Adrienne Vittadini, Ralph Lauren Group, Liz Claiborne Group, Elizabeth Arden Group, Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene, Bijan, Escada, Guess, and Faberge. Celebrity collaborations included Elizabeth Taylor, Herb Alpert, Linda Evans, Naomi Sims, Valeria Mazza, and Michael Jordan. His commercial clients included Cosmair, Coty, Fashion Fair, Johnson Products, Mennen, Noxell Corporation, Revlon, and SoftSheen.
He retired from Givaudan as Vice President and Senior Perfumer. He began his career with Givaudan (Roure Bertrand Dupont at that time) in 1955.
In 2001 Givaudan Fragrance Corporation granted an award to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) of the State University of New York to establish the “Jim Bell/Givaudan Creative Fragrance Development Certificate Program.” This program utilized the Annette Green Fragrance Foundation Studio – the world’s only fragrance studio on a college campus.
He is a long-time resident of New Jersey and continues to serve the fragrance industry as a speaker, mentor, and consultant.
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