Estée Lauder Modern Muse Chic 'captures your creativity'

Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse Chic celebrates the creative duality of the valiant and sophisticated woman. The second edition to the award-winning Modern Muse, adds an autumnal sibling that’s a floral woody, entwining vibrant floras spiced with deep, heady, black woods.
Modern Muse Chic is styled with complex notes of jasmine sambac absolute, davana, plum, honey, stargazer lilies, tuberose, suede musk, cashmere wood, patchouli, agarwood, labdanum and vanilla.
Estée Lauder Modern Muse Chic £62 for 50ml eau de parfum
Try it at: www.esteelauder.co.uk
Written by Alice Crocker

What I'm wearing for fashion month: Gemma Bellman

As the entrepreneurial brains behind Beautyspotter, Gemma Bellman has her finger on the beauty industry’s pulse. The innovative app allows you to discover salons, stylists and beauty treatments via the work they create, so you can window shop for a new look.
She talks us through her love of Dior Fahrenheit and her mothers perfume prowess…
‘It’s not glamourous by any means, but my first overwhelming scent memory is the sap from the waxy green bushes that lined the playground at my school in Dubai. The sour but sweet scent seemed to intoxicate taste as much as it did smell and still conjures vivid memories of happy hours spent playing in the dusty shade. I truly fell in love with scent on a family weekend away. It was the first time I’d strayed into the duty free perfume hall at the airport, which until then had merged into one ‘grown up’ area of no interest. I recall being completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of boxes, bottles and blotters filling the air with a sensory overload of florals and fruits.
When I was younger, I admired how my mother wafted her way thorough the crowded airspace, able to decipher and pluck her favourite scents from the rest as if it were meant to be! With one spritz she took a moment to herself in a cloud of her chosen scent and I wondered if I’d ever have such an experienced sense of taste and self knowing.
Lancôme Trésor was my first ever real fragrance. I distinctly remember spying that unmistakable diamond shaped bottle on my mother’s dressing table and wanting it ever since!
I put it on my Christmas list and to my delight it turned up in my stocking that year – I felt I’d grown into a lady that day!
Scent makes me feel safe and happy – just as it should! My fondest fragrance has got to be Dior Fahrenheit – a firm favourite with my father in the late 8os. It’s woody, musky scent was like a guiding light straight to him. Having said that, ‘my smell’ as my husband call it, is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel. I think it’s been the dominant scent in our lives since we started dating!’
Twitter: @BeautySpotterUK
Written by Alice Jones

 
 

What I'm wearing for fashion month: James Read

If you’re looking for a self-tanning expert, James Read is the go-to-guy. He’s responsible for giving the likes of Lara Stone and Rosie-Huntington Whitely a beautifully golden glow. He’s also a dab hand at bronzing the models backstage at fashion week – without a streak in sight, may we add.
He tells takes us back in time to his first ever memories of fragrance…
‘My first scent memory is of smelling Chanel No.5 on my mum – she used to wear it all the time. Whenever I smell it, it reminds me of my childhood. I love how fragrance evokes such strong memories and takes you back to specific moments in time. I truly fell in love with scent about two years ago when I discovered Bleu de Chanel. It’s fresh with a summery feel to it and really compliments my skin. It has just the right balance of sophistication and playfulness. I always get compliments when I’m wearing it.
Fragrance makes me feel happy and wakes me up – I never feel ready to go about my day until I’ve spritzed! I love summery, refreshing scents and aside from Chanel I also love Tom Ford Neroli. It has a great vibe to it. It’s like summer lives on all year round when I’m wearing it.
My first ever fragrance was Yves Saint Laurent Kouros. My mum bought it for me for Christmas and I absolutely loved it.’
Twitter: @JamesReadTan
Written by Alice Jones

Perfume shopping in Paris: The Left Bank

There’s really no way – in a city in which interesting new perfumeries and ‘flagship’ stores are springing up all the time – to cover both Paris’s Right Bank and Left Bank in a day.  But a perfume hunt on the ‘Rive Gauche’ is going to be a more leisurely mission, simply because there are fewer stores.
Here’s what we’ve found interesting, lately…  Though please be aware that Paris simply shuts its doors on a Sunday;  if you’re planning a weekend visit, go Friday, stay Saturday, leave Sunday – or, like us, you could easily find yourself frustratedly twiddling your thumbs on what the French still observe as the ‘day of rest’.

Le Bon Marché
Department store perfume shopping doesn’t get much sexier than this, since LVMH supremo Bernard Arnault gave Paris’s oldest department store (it opened in 1838) the most glamorous of makeovers: three floors of designer gorgeousness – and on the ground floor, a stunning perfumery showcasing many different (and not necessarily mainstream) brands. Miller Harris and Penhaligon’s wave the flag for Britain, while in the central area there are counters for Annick Goutal, Jo Malone London, Tom Ford, By Kilian, Piguet, Byredo, Acqua di Parma, flanked by mini-boutiques for Dior (with their Privée collection of exclusive scents), Chanel, Guerlain, Estée Lauder, Lancôme and more.
The beautiful setting actually makes for relaxed shopping, not least because of the inviting sofas square in the centre of the perfume hall, to rest while you sniff.  (Or park a patient shopping companion.)  Once you’ve dabbed and spritzed your way through this level, be sure to take one of the extraordinarily beautiful escalators (how often can you say that?) up to the higher floors:  on the first floor, there’s a Diptyque boutique, and on the top, a really excellent home fragrance section with Rigaud, Welton, Quintessence and – new-to-us – Baobab Collection. (We love the Murano glass vases for their Pearls collection; pricy, yes, but they can be used for flowers when your candle’s flickered its last.
 24 Rue de Sèvres, Paris 73007
+ (331) 44 39 80 80
www.lebonmarche.com

Conran Shop Paris
CONRANIf you’re visiting Le Bon Marché, there are two don’t-miss pitstops nearby:  La Grande Épicerie – literally a temple to food – just behind the department store, and next door on the Rue du Bac, a proud Paris outpost of the Conran empire.
Under Jasper Conran’s leadership, Conran is as seriously interesting a place to shop as it was in his father Terence’s heyday – and since Jasper’s always been a big lover of fragrance, the store is stocking an increasingly interesting selection of perfumes and home fragrance. When we visited, brands being showcased included some of the Acqua di Parma collection and Tom Daxon (from a rising British perfumer), alongside Côte Bastide and True Grace candles.
Conran’s ever-changing stock means that might not be the case by the time you read this, but rest assured: whatever there is to smell at the store will be worth sniffing out.
117 Rue du Bac, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 84 10 01
www.conranshop.fr

Patricia de Nicolaï
PATRICIA_DE_NICOLAIPatricia – who now presides over France’s Osmothèque museum – is a Guerlain by birth (so perfume is in her blood).  But she opted to make her own independent name as a perfumer, and for 25 years has been creating wonderful scents:  the delicious chypre Odalisque, ultra-feminine Rose Pivoine, Patchouli Intense (to bring out your inner hippy) and – most recently (at time of writing) a wonderfully uplifting, mossy L’Eau Mixte (shareable, as the name suggests).
There are more than half a dozen Patricia de Nicolaï stores around Paris, but this is a little gem, showcasing her collection of perfumes and – equally deliciously – home fragrances (everything from linen sprays to reed sticks and and bath products;  our special favourite is the sandalwood, lavender, spice and patchouli Maharadjah, a bestseller).
Just remember that in that oh-so-French way, the store closes for an hour between 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
80 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007
+ (331) 45 44 5959
www.pdenicolai.com

Welton London
Mysteriously, Welton London’s first boutique is in… Paris.  It comes as no surprise to discover that the man behind his sleek, parquet-floored  boutique is an interior designer, John-Paul Welton.
In addition to his own eaux de toilettes, which are created in Grasse under his creative direction, Welton London has embarked on some interesting interiors collaborations – four scents with with fellow interior decorator Kelly Hoppen (her giant candle has more wicks than any we’ve seen), Karl Lagerfeld (his silhouette’s on the candle), Christian Lacroix (the porcelain containers for his candles have a sort of lace/flock look), and stunning metallic-finish candles co-created with fashion house Courrèges: glorious Rose Intense, fresh-chypre Silver Nature (almost icy and outdoorsy), and Or Lumière, with white musk and sandalwood. Designer objets don’t come much more exclusive than the stunning 60s-style glass cube into which the Courrèges candles can be placed (and replaced).
The candles and home fragrances come in black glass or striking metal, and range from Secret Amber to  Imperial White Musk and Intense Wood.  We’ll admit:  it’s a slightly scary place to step inside (not least because of the click of heels on that parquet floor), but you won’t be disappointed.
48 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 22 81 86
www.weltonlondon.com

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
FREDERIC_MALLE_1This was the original store opened by the man who changed the course of perfumery by putting the names of his perfumers on the front of the (uniform, black-labelled) bottles, after allowing those noses free rein to create the fragrances they’d always wanted to make, but hadn’t had the freedom.
All Frederic Malle’s shops feature cylindrical glass booths in which you place your head to breathe in different scents, and with over 20 now in the collection you can while away quite a long, happy time here.  Sales assistants are highly-trained (word is that several were trained at IPSICA, Paris’s perfume school), well-informed and welcoming.  You may find yourself the only person in the store, on a weekday, but don’t be shy and take your time exploring the scents in this ‘intellectual’ setting (it’s decorated with coffee table art books, vintage desk, mid-Century modern chairs).
The full Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums range is showcased here:  not just the fragrances but candles, pump-action room sprays, body lotions – and the sublime body butters, which probably belong on any perfumista’s ‘Dear Santa’ list. If you really love your scent, there’s a coffret featuring miniatures of every single fragrance in the range, for a slightly heart-stopping 225 euros. We’re saving up, ourselves.
37 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 22 76 40
www.fredericmalle.com
 
CREED
A bright-and-airy second boutique for this historic fragrance house, which can trace its heritage back to 1760 (and England, actually).  Its perfumers – Olivier and Erwin Creed – continue the family tradition of haute parfumerie.
But alongside opulent floral Fleurissimoromantic Love in White and the so-very-fresh Millesime Impeérial, here you’ll find – um – bespoke sheepskin slippers, cashmere socks and ties, as well as some very stylish leather travel accessories. (Some are perfume-related, such as the brightly-coloured flacons, perfect for the chic handbag – though what we’ve got our eye on is a stylish leather Creed toiletries bag…)  This somehow doesn’t feel quite as luxe or quite as inviting as the flagship boutique in the 1st arrondissement, but if you’ve only got time to do the Left Bank, it’s a stone’s throw from the Rue de Grenelle, on which Frederic Malle has his shop – and a worthy detour.
74 Rue des Saints-Pères, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 84 06 44
www.creedfragrances.co.uk

Hermès
So different from its chi-chi Rue Saint-Honoré flagship, this ultra-modern boutique attracts a groovier crowd. The interior design deserves a detour of its own – check out the woven wood wigwams in the basement, which soar into the open central three-storey space – but you’ll also find the entire line of Hermès fragrances, including the pricier Hermessence line, created by in-house nose Jean-Claude EllenaRose Ikebana, with its tart touches of rhubarb, smouldering Ambre Narguilé and Osmanthe Yunnan. Do spend some time trying these; you won’t regret it.
The ‘Nomad Collection’ of four travel sizes (around 112 euros) is our particular lust-object.  If you can’t decide whether your head, your nose or your feet are exploding at this moment, there is a (pricy) tea room on the ground floor, showcasing some very fine teas and offering excellent people-watching.
17 Rue de Sevres, St Germain des Pres, Paris, France
+ (331) 42 22 80 83
www.hermes.com

Caron 
More bijou than the Caron flagship on the Right Bank, this new boutique feels less intimidating for that exact reason: a narrow, so-so glamorous outpost of the French heritage brand, complete with swansdown powder puffs, giant Baccarat crystal samovars of Caron’s classic fragrances, including the wondrous AcaciosaOr et NoirN’Aimez Que Moi…
Having a bottle filled from one of these vessels is a once-in-a-lifetime ritual that feels very special indeed;  at more accessible prices, meanwhile, is the rest of Caron’s (pre-bottled) range, including legends like Tabac Blond, Parfum Sacré, and delicious lily-of-the-valley Muguet de Bonheur. And while you’re there, check out the powders: less well-known, they’re a specialité of Caron.
You’ll also find a wide selection of the indulgent accoutrements we imagine Parisian women splurge on (or their lovers do):  sensuous silk scarves, gold mirrors, peignoirs and hair slides etc.  Fragrance really doesn’t get more frou-frou and feminine than this.
153 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 75006
+ (331) 40 49 03 40
www.parfumscaron.com 

Annick Goutal
ANNICK_GOUTALJust across the square from the imposing Saint-Sulpice church is an almost monastically simple Annick Goutal boutique.  It’s had an all white-and-gold makeover recently, as has the packaging of the fragrances themselves: most now come in sleeker, squarer bottles, though the smells are as wonderful as ever. In midday sunshine, this light-filled, airy boutique positively sparkles;  there are plenty of other Annick Goutal stores in the City of Lights, but this is probably our favourite.
And we’ll make an observation, here: in recent years (maybe the recession biting, or simply a new generation selling perfume), fragrance sales assistants seem to have become friendlier, more approachable and more helpful, happy to let customers mooch to their heart’s content – as here – without the hard sell. Help is at hand, though, if you’re looking for a particular fragrance family or favourite note – perhaps the zesty lemon of Eau d’Hadrien, or Annick Goutal’s spin on lily-of-the-valley, in Muguet.
Scented candles are also showcased (we have fingers crossed for the return of the divine violet/lipstick/leather-scented Le Sac de Ma Mère – ‘Mummy’s handbag’ – which the aforementioned friendly sales consultant hinted might see light of day again).
12 Place Saint-Sulpice, Paris 75006
+ (331) 46 33 03 15
www.annickgoutal.com
 
Cire Trudon
CIRE_TRUDON_1Candle-lovers, welcome to Paradise. Cire Trudon’s heritage goes right back to the 1643, when a grocer called Trudon began selling wax and candles that he produced himself. By 1719, Cire Trudon was appointed Royal Wax Manufacturer serving the Queen – and later, supplied candles to much of the Royal Court, as well as to churches and cathedrals across Europe.
It’s all about display, here: antique fixtures and fittings, terrarium-style glass domes displaying vignettes of Cire Trudon room sprays and candles, and an entire wall of colourful (unscented candles). But we’re much more interested in the fragrant variety:  church-y Spiritu Sancti, opulent Odalisque, tuberose-rich Mademoiselle de la Vallière… So:  not your everyday candles, for sure, but they burn for up to 60 hours which actually makes them much more economical than you’d imagine. (And the store also carries the Carrière Frères Botanics range, mostly plant-inspired, and much more affordable.)
You’ll also find candle ‘accessories’ – snuffers, and the longest matches we’ve ever found (ideal for dinner parties or if you’ve got a serious candle habit).  NB This is the Saint-Sulpice end of the Rue de Seine, not down towards the river itself. Our mistake will hopefully save some of your shoe leather.
78 Rue de Seine, Paris 75006
+ (331) 43 26 46 50
www.ciretrudon.com
 
Lothantique
For anyone on a budget, this is a bit of a ‘find’:  a fragrance collection apparently founded in 1920 (and a few hundred yards river-wards from Cire Trudon;  as with quite a few streeets, Rue de Seine has slightly fiendish numbering).
Lots of scented candles, drawer sachets, linen mists etc., invitingly styled – and a range of actual fragrances which caught our eye:  Les Parfums de Joséphine. You can definitely leave here with something pretilly-scented without breaking the bank (which is more than can be said for most of perfumed Paris).
81 Rue de Seine, Paris 75006
+ (331) 46 34 39 88
www.lothantique.com 

Diptyque
The original boutique for the now world-famous scented candle and perfume brand (which has now branched out into skincare and sublime bodycare).  Start – or finish – your Left Bank pilgrimage here, because this is way down at the other end of the Boulevard Saint-Germain from any of the other destinations we mention (a Métro ride, unless you really feel like a hike). This boutique is unmissable, though:  a slightly odd-shaped shop, but with a really inviting ambience, hung with tapestries and with antique cabinetry showcasing the now-massive Diptyque range.

An innovation which caught our eye is Le Sablier: a double-ended glass vessel with a sponge concealed in the neck;  you flip the bottle over to disperse the scent into the room;  it’s currently available only in bestselling fragrances like Figuier, Baies and 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain (which of course takes its inspiration from the location of this very store) but we’ve a hunch the selection will expand.  (Around 110 euros, but refills are available for 38 euros (at time of writing, anyway).
Mostly we head to this boutique to dally and dither over the gorgeous smells, like the bonfire-ish Feu de Bois candle or fig-fuelled Philosykos eau de toilette. But we also find the cabinet of candles, pre-gift-wrapped with lovingly-folded coloured tissue paper (in the back of the shop) seriously pleasing – that’s them, above right.
34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France
+ (331) 43 26 77 44
www.diptyqueparis.fr

Perfume shopping in Paris

There’s really no way – in a city in which interesting new perfumeries and ‘flagship’ stores are springing up all the time – to cover both Paris’s Right Bank and Left Bank in a day.  But a perfume hunt on the ‘Rive Gauche’ is going to be a more leisurely mission, simply because there are fewer stores.
Here’s what we’ve found interesting, lately…  Though please be aware that Paris simply shuts its doors on a Sunday;  if you’re planning a weekend visit, go Friday, stay Saturday, leave Sunday – or, like us, you could easily find yourself frustratedly twiddling your thumbs on what the French still observe as the ‘day of rest’.

Le Bon Marché
BON_MARCHEDepartment store perfume shopping doesn’t get much sexier than this, since LVMH supremo Bernard Arnault gave Paris’s oldest department store (it opened in 1838) the most glamorous of makeovers: three floors of designer gorgeousness – and on the ground floor, a stunning perfumery showcasing many different (and not necessarily mainstream) brands. Miller Harris and Penhaligon’s wave the flag for Britain, while in the central area there are counters for Annick Goutal, Jo Malone London, Tom Ford, By Kilian, Piguet, Byredo, Acqua di Parma, flanked by mini-boutiques for Dior (with their Privée collection of exclusive scents), Chanel, Guerlain, Estée Lauder, Lancôme and more.
The beautiful setting actually makes for relaxed shopping, not least because of the inviting sofas square in the centre of the perfume hall, to rest while you sniff.  (Or park a patient shopping companion.)  Once you’ve dabbed and spritzed your way through this level, be sure to take one of the extraordinarily beautiful escalators (how often can you say that?) up to the higher floors:  on the first floor, there’s a Diptyque boutique, and on the top, a really excellent home fragrance section with Rigaud, Welton, Quintessence and – new-to-us – Baobab Collection. (We love the Murano glass vases for their Pearls collection; pricy, yes, but they can be used for flowers when your candle’s flickered its last.
 24 Rue de Sèvres, Paris 73007
+ (331) 44 39 80 80
www.lebonmarche.com

Conran Shop Paris
CONRANIf you’re visiting Le Bon Marché, there are two don’t-miss pitstops nearby:  La Grande Épicerie – literally a temple to food – just behind the department store, and next door on the Rue du Bac, a proud Paris outpost of the Conran empire.
Under Jasper Conran’s leadership, Conran is as seriously interesting a place to shop as it was in his father Terence’s heyday – and since Jasper’s always been a big lover of fragrance, the store is stocking an increasingly interesting selection of perfumes and home fragrance. When we visited, brands being showcased included some of the Acqua di Parma collection and Tom Daxon (from a rising British perfumer), alongside Côte Bastide and True Grace candles.
Conran’s ever-changing stock means that might not be the case by the time you read this, but rest assured: whatever there is to smell at the store will be worth sniffing out.
117 Rue du Bac, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 84 10 01
www.conranshop.fr

Patricia de Nicolaï
Patricia – who now presides over France’s Osmothèque museum – is a Guerlain by birth (so perfume is in her blood).  But she opted to make her own independent name as a perfumer, and for 25 years has been creating wonderful scents:  the delicious chypre Odalisque, ultra-feminine Rose Pivoine, Patchouli Intense (to bring out your inner hippy) and – most recently (at time of writing) a wonderfully uplifting, mossy L’Eau Mixte (shareable, as the name suggests).PATRICIA_DE_NICOLAI
There are more than half a dozen Patricia de Nicolaï stores around Paris, but this is a little gem, showcasing her collection of perfumes and – equally deliciously – home fragrances (everything from linen sprays to reed sticks and and bath products;  our special favourite is the sandalwood, lavender, spice and patchouli Maharadjah, a bestseller).
Just remember that in that oh-so-French way, the store closes for an hour between 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
80 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007
+ (331) 45 44 5959
www.pdenicolai.com

Welton London
WELTONMysteriously, Welton London’s first boutique is in… Paris.  It comes as no surprise to discover that the man behind his sleek, parquet-floored  boutique is an interior designer, John-Paul Welton.
In addition to his own eaux de toilettes, which are created in Grasse under his creative direction, Welton London has embarked on some interesting interiors collaborations – four scents with with fellow interior decorator Kelly Hoppen (her giant candle has more wicks than any we’ve seen), Karl Lagerfeld (his silhouette’s on the candle), Christian Lacroix (the porcelain containers for his candles have a sort of lace/flock look), and stunning metallic-finish candles co-created with fashion house Courrèges: glorious Rose Intense, fresh-chypre Silver Nature (almost icy and outdoorsy), and Or Lumière, with white musk and sandalwood. Designer objets don’t come much more exclusive than the stunning 60s-style glass cube into which the Courrèges candles can be placed (and replaced).
The candles and home fragrances come in black glass or striking metal, and range from Secret Amber to  Imperial White Musk and Intense Wood.  We’ll admit:  it’s a slightly scary place to step inside (not least because of the click of heels on that parquet floor), but you won’t be disappointed.
48 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 22 81 86
www.weltonlondon.com

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle
FREDERIC_MALLE_1This was the original store opened by the man who changed the course of perfumery by putting the names of his perfumers on the front of the (uniform, black-labelled) bottles, after allowing those noses free rein to create the fragrances they’d always wanted to make, but hadn’t had the freedom.
All Frederic Malle’s shops feature cylindrical glass booths in which you place your head to breathe in different scents, and with over 20 now in the collection you can while away quite a long, happy time here.  Sales assistants are highly-trained (word is that several were trained at IPSICA, Paris’s perfume school), well-informed and welcoming.  You may find yourself the only person in the store, on a weekday, but don’t be shy and take your time exploring the scents in this ‘intellectual’ setting (it’s decorated with coffee table art books, vintage desk, mid-Century modern chairs).
The full Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums range is showcased here:  not just the fragrances but candles, pump-action room sprays, body lotions – and the sublime body butters, which probably belong on any perfumista’s ‘Dear Santa’ list. If you really love your scent, there’s a coffret featuring miniatures of every single fragrance in the range, for a slightly heart-stopping 225 euros. We’re saving up, ourselves.
37 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 22 76 40
www.fredericmalle.com
 
CREED
CREEDA bright-and-airy second boutique for this historic fragrance house, which can trace its heritage back to 1760 (and England, actually).  Its perfumers – Olivier and Erwin Creed – continue the family tradition of haute parfumerie.
But alongside opulent floral Fleurissimoromantic Love in White and the so-very-fresh Millesime Impeérial, here you’ll find – um – bespoke sheepskin slippers, cashmere socks and ties, as well as some very stylish leather travel accessories. (Some are perfume-related, such as the brightly-coloured flacons, perfect for the chic handbag – though what we’ve got our eye on is a stylish leather Creed toiletries bag…)  This somehow doesn’t feel quite as luxe or quite as inviting as the flagship boutique in the 1st arrondissement, but if you’ve only got time to do the Left Bank, it’s a stone’s throw from the Rue de Grenelle, on which Frederic Malle has his shop – and a worthy detour.
74 Rue des Saints-Pères, Paris 75007
+ (331) 42 84 06 44
www.creedfragrances.co.uk

Hermès
So different from its chi-chi Rue Saint-Honoré flagship, this ultra-modern boutique attracts a groovier crowd.
The interior design deserves a detour of its own – check out the woven wood wigwams in the basement, which soar into the open central three-HERMESstorey space – but you’ll also find the entire line of Hermès fragrances, including the pricier Hermessence line, created by in-house nose Jean-Claude EllenaRose Ikebana, with its tart touches of rhubarb, smouldering Ambre Narguilé and Osmanthe Yunnan. Do spend some time trying these; you won’t regret it.
The ‘Nomad Collection’ of four travel sizes (around 112 euros) is our particular lust-object.  If you can’t decide whether your head, your nose or your feet are exploding at this moment, there is a (pricy) tea room on the ground floor, showcasing some very fine teas and offering excellent people-watching.
17 Rue de Sevres, St Germain des Pres, Paris, France
+ (331) 42 22 80 83
www.hermes.com

Caron 
CARONMore bijou than the Caron flagship on the Right Bank, this new boutique feels less intimidating for that exact reason: a narrow, so-so glamorous outpost of the French heritage brand, complete with swansdown powder puffs, giant Baccarat crystal samovars of Caron’s classic fragrances, including the wondrous AcaciosaOr et NoirN’Aimez Que Moi…
Having a bottle filled from one of these vessels is a once-in-a-lifetime ritual that feels very special indeed;  at more accessible prices, meanwhile, is the rest of Caron’s (pre-bottled) range, including legends like Tabac Blond, Parfum Sacré, and delicious lily-of-the-valley Muguet de Bonheur. And while you’re there, check out the powders: less well-known, they’re a specialité of Caron.
You’ll also find a wide selection of the indulgent accoutrements we imagine Parisian women splurge on (or their lovers do):  sensuous silk scarves, gold mirrors, peignoirs and hair slides etc.  Fragrance really doesn’t get more frou-frou and feminine than this.
153 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris 75006
+ (331) 40 49 03 40
www.parfumscaron.com 

Annick Goutal
ANNICK_GOUTALJust across the square from the imposing Saint-Sulpice church is an almost monastically simple Annick Goutal boutique.  It’s had an all white-and-gold makeover recently, as has the packaging of the fragrances themselves: most now come in sleeker, squarer bottles, though the smells are as wonderful as ever. In midday sunshine, this light-filled, airy boutique positively sparkles;  there are plenty of other Annick Goutal stores in the City of Lights, but this is probably our favourite.
And we’ll make an observation, here: in recent years (maybe the recession biting, or simply a new generation selling perfume), fragrance sales assistants seem to have become friendlier, more approachable and more helpful, happy to let customers mooch to their heart’s content – as here – without the hard sell. Help is at hand, though, if you’re looking for a particular fragrance family or favourite note – perhaps the zesty lemon of Eau d’Hadrien, or Annick Goutal’s spin on lily-of-the-valley, in Muguet.
Scented candles are also showcased (we have fingers crossed for the return of the divine violet/lipstick/leather-scented Le Sac de Ma Mère – ‘Mummy’s handbag’ – which the aforementioned friendly sales consultant hinted might see light of day again).
12 Place Saint-Sulpice, Paris 75006
+ (331) 46 33 03 15
www.annickgoutal.com
 
Cire Trudon
CIRE_TRUDON_1Candle-lovers, welcome to Paradise. Cire Trudon’s heritage goes right back to the 1643, when a grocer called Trudon began selling wax and candles that he produced himself. By 1719, Cire Trudon was appointed Royal Wax Manufacturer serving the Queen – and later, supplied candles to much of the Royal Court, as well as to churches and cathedrals across Europe.
It’s all about display, here: antique fixtures and fittings, terrarium-style glass domes displaying vignettes of Cire Trudon room sprays and candles, and an entire wall of colourful (unscented candles). But we’re much more interested in the fragrant variety:  church-y Spiritu Sancti, opulent Odalisque, tuberose-rich Mademoiselle de la Vallière… So:  not your everyday candles, for sure, but they burn for up to 60 hours which actually makes them much more economical than you’d imagine. (And the store also carries the Carrière Frères Botanics range, mostly plant-inspired, and much more affordable.)
You’ll also find candle ‘accessories’ – snuffers, and the longest matches we’ve ever found (ideal for dinner parties or if you’ve got a serious candle habit).  NB This is the Saint-Sulpice end of the Rue de Seine, not down towards the river itself. Our mistake will hopefully save some of your shoe leather.
78 Rue de Seine, Paris 75006
+ (331) 43 26 46 50
www.ciretrudon.com
 
Lothantique
LOTHANTIQUE_2For anyone on a budget, this is a bit of a ‘find’:  a fragrance collection apparently founded in 1920 (and a few hundred yards river-wards from Cire Trudon;  as with quite a few streeets, Rue de Seine has slightly fiendish numbering).
Lots of scented candles, drawer sachets, linen mists etc., invitingly styled – and a range of actual fragrances which caught our eye:  Les Parfums de Joséphine. You can definitely leave here with something pretilly-scented without breaking the bank (which is more than can be said for most of perfumed Paris).
81 Rue de Seine, Paris 75006
+ (331) 46 34 39 88
www.lothantique.com 

Diptyque
DIPTYQUE CANDLESThe original boutique for the now world-famous scented candle and perfume brand (which has now branched out into skincare and sublime bodycare).  Start – or finish – your Left Bank pilgrimage here, because this is way down at the other end of the Boulevard Saint-Germain from any of the other destinations we mention (a Métro ride, unless you really feel like a hike).
This boutique is unmissable, though:  a slightly odd-shaped shop, but with a really inviting ambience, hung with tapestries and with antique cabinetry showcasing the now-massive Diptyque range.
DIPTYQUE_LE_SABLIERAn innovation which caught our eye is Le Sablier: a double-ended glass vessel with a sponge concealed in the neck;  you flip the bottle over to disperse the scent into the room;  it’s currently available only in bestselling fragrances like Figuier, Baies and 34 Boulevard Saint-Germain (which of course takes its inspiration from the location of this very store) but we’ve a hunch the selection will expand.  (Around 110 euros, but refills are available for 38 euros (at time of writing, anyway).
Mostly we head to this boutique to dally and dither over the gorgeous smells, like the bonfire-ish Feu de Bois candle or fig-fuelled Philosykos eau de toilette. But we also find the cabinet of candles, pre-gift-wrapped with lovingly-folded coloured tissue paper (in the back of the shop) seriously pleasing – that’s them, above right.
34 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris, France
+ (331) 43 26 77 44
www.diptyqueparis.fr

Fashion month: the art of scenting a catwalk show

Hours before a fashion show even begins, the hair and make-up pros are busy backstage setting up their stations with the most coveted products, prepping the models and creating masterful beauty trends for the coming season. Designers are seen making last minute adjustments to their prized collection before it’s strutted down the catwalk and photographers are busy capturing all those golden moments of the pre-show action.
But there’s one thing we don’t see: the smell. Some of the biggest names in the fashion business adorn their show spaces with scented candles and home fragrances, in a bid to help bring their fashion fantasies to life.
The scented runway is all part of the experience, allowing designers to communicate an olfactive story alongside their collection and give their catwalk a certain kind of ambiance.
While the majority of our attention is devoted to the new trends that spring/summer 2015 has in store, fashion week can also tell us what the scent of the coming season might be.
The Paris shows may not be over quite yet, but here are a few of our favourites from the shows so far…
 
Diptyque_Figuier

Diptyque Figuier Verte Candle, £55
Buy it at: Diptyque

Victoria Beckham‘s scent of choice for her spring/summer 2015 show was the fruity aroma of Diptyque‘s classic Figuier. The warming yet fresh blend of fig wood, leaves and sap floated in the air as the girls walked down the catwalk.

Penhaligons_samarkand_candle

Penhaligon’s Samarkand Classic Candle, £32
Buy it at: Penhaligon’s

Once again, Penhaligon‘s was chosen by the British Fashion Council to scent the main tents for the spring/summer 2015 shows. The aroma of choice? The exotic oriental combination of sweet flowers, spices and woods that is distilled from their Samarkand Candle.

Jo_Malone_Peony_Candle

 Jo Malone London Peony & Blush Suede Candle, £40
Buy it at: Jo Malone London

Jo Malone London has been the ultimate go-to brand for many a designer over the years – and this season was no different. At Roksanda Ilinic, a trio of aromas was used to create a unique, customised olfactive experience. The rich and elegant fragrance of Pomegranate Noir Diffusers worked alongside a floral bouquet of Peony & Blush Suede Candles – both of which were beautifully complimented by the addition of Lime, Basil & Mandarian Home Candles and Diffusers. Bravo Roksanda: what a great ‘custom’ blend you made!

Written by Alice Jones

Photo credits: Victoria Beckham Instagram, Starworks Group Instagram

Botanical brand Aēsop launch Marrakech Intense

Well known, for it’s luxuriously scented skincare ranges and now trying their hand at fragrance – Australian, botanical brand, Aēsop have teamed up with French perfumer Barnabé Fillion, to bring you Marrakech Intense.
It’s an oriental woody for men and women, with spicy notes of cloves, cardamom and fresh, zesty bergamot in the top; sensual rose, jasmine and neroli in the floral heart and silky sandalwood and cedar in the base.
Available as an eau de toilette or in its ‘most potent form’ as a 10ml concentrated parfum.
Aēsop Marrakech Intense eau de toilette £53 for 50ml
Try it at: www.aesop.com
Written by Alice Crocker

What I'm wearing for fashion month: Lisa Potter-Dixon

Throughout fashion month, we’re focusing some of our attention on the backstage creatives and the fragrances they’re choosing to wear throughout the shows (and beyond).
As a self-trained make-up supremo and head of trend artistry for Benefit, there isn’t much Lisa Potter-Dixon doesn’t know about the wonderful world of beauty. Working with the likes of Matthew Williamson and Richard Nicoll at fashion week to create flawless beauty aesthetics, she loves to create looks for the everyday woman – as well as high fashion.
She talks to us about layering scents, olfactive memories and the first time she fell in love with fragrance…
‘I’ve loved scent from as far back as I can remember. As a child, I used to make my own perfume in the garden by crushing rose petals and lavender together. At the time this was just a bit of fun, but looking back now I think this is when I first fell in love with scent. My first scent memory is of my grandma. We were on the beach eating an ice cream and I distinctly remember the combination of salty sea air mixed with her heavy, musky perfume. It made me feel safe and happy. She still wears the same fragrance – it’s the type of perfume that stays on your clothes all day after a hug with her. I love that!
As with make up, I love how scent can make you feel different. It stimulates memories and feelings. It truly has a power like nothing else. My first ever fragrance was actually Benefit Maybe Baby – I received this as a present for my 16th birthday! Who would have thought I would go on to be Benefit‘s head make-up artist? It was obviously meant to be!
My all time favourite scent is Ralph Lauren Blue, this was the fragrance I wore though my 20s – through good times and bad. It’s discontinued now which is always sad, but I still have an empty bottle which I sniff occasionally just for old times sake.
My signature scent is Chanel Homme. I share this with my husband! I love male fragrances; I think it’s the combination of muskiness and freshness that always wins me over. If I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll customise my scent by layering the Crescent Row fragrances by Benefit. My favourite combination is Eva with a touch of Lee Lee!’
Twitter: @Lisa_Benefit
Written by Alice Jones

What the noses know: in-depth 'nose' interviews with four leading perfumers

Are you fascinated by the art of perfumery…? We certainly are. So we thought we’d just remind you about ‘THE NOSES’ section of perfumesociety.org, where we’re building an encyclopaedia of interviews we’ve carried out with the world’s leading perfumers, with plenty more appearing over the coming weeks and months…
In fact, we’ve just added four more: the quartet behind the new YSL Black Opium fragrance – Nathalie Lorson, Marie Salamagne, Honorine Blanc and the very esteemed Olivier Cresp.
Click here to read their stories, their inspirations – and their best-loved (and most-hated) smells…
(You might also like to click here for a little video interview with these noses…)
 

What I'm wearing for fashion month: Sam McKnight

Master hair stylist Sam McKnight has worked with the biggest names in the fashion business, from Mario Testino to Karl Lagerfeld.
His skilful hands are responsible for many an iconic runway look, including the Chanel autumn/winter 2014 tweed rag pony and the rock glamour style that adorned the heads of Tom Ford’s spring/summer 2015 girl. But anyone who follows his Instagram feed will also be aware of his adoration for gardening.
He talks us through his love of scented candles and why he’s always attracted to natural scents…
‘I have a keen sense of smell and a love of nature, so when I discovered the small original Diptyque shop in Paris in the mid-80s, their vast array of scented candles was intoxicating. I’m still addicted to this day and The Figuier is a firm favourite.
I don’t like scents that smell fake or synthetic – I love simple evocative aromas like the smell of flowers and herbs, the freshness of rain and the scent of newly mown grass.
Smell can bring out memories; it has an effect on you much like a piece of music. Although I wouldn’t say I have a signature scent parse, I’ve been wearing Dior Eau Sauvage for a while.’
Twitter: @sammcknight1
Written by Alice Jones