Pop-up shops are quite the thing nowadays, and The Perfume Shop, the UK’s largest specialist fragrance retailer, has announced it will open a central London pop up shop for four days in October, rather excitingly offering scent shoppers the chance to select perfumes based on emotions rather than gender, notes or brands.
The Perfume Shop Say: ‘It is accepted that perfume can affect your mood, a simple spray can make you feel happy, romantic or energised. On 25th October The Perfume Shop celebrates this transformative power of perfume with its first pop up shop to group products by emotion. This Shop of Feelings will celebrate how perfume can affect your mood, focusing on perfumes to make people feel Sexy, Calm, Invigorated or Happy.
For the first time perfumes will be grouped together to celebrate the way they make you feel, and the store’s experts will be on hand to guide customers through the different moods and perfumes on offer to help everyone discover something new.’
Cathy Newman, The Perfume Shop Marketing & Customer Experience Director, explained: ‘Ten years ago people walked into our stores and headed for the men’s section, or women’s section or just the brand they knew. Today’s customers are very different, they don’t shop by gender anymore, they want to explore different notes and be transported emotionally by their perfume.
“We can’t wait to hear customer feedback on the pop up shop in Covent Garden, and who knows this new way of shopping by feelings could be the future for fragrance.’
Non-london scent sniffers, do not despair! There are a smattering of other pop-ups around the country (see below), and hopefully more will follow in the future.
At The Perfume Society, we’ve long held with encouraging people not to pre-judge fragrances based on what the bottle looks like or the listed notes of a scent – blind-smelling is definitely the way forward, and hopefully this new concept of shopping based on how you feel (or want the fragrance to help you feel) will encourage other retailers to take braver steps.
The Pop Up Shop is only open for four days in central London from 24th to 28th October, and will display new and classic perfumes, as well as a selection of beautiful coffret and gift sets, so perfect for early Christmas shoppers.
Where to find them:
Regent Shopping Centre in Hamilton (opened 15th October)
The Avenue Shopping Centre in Newton Mearns (opens 19th October)
Maltings Shopping Centre in St Albans (opens 22nd October)
Covent Garden, 5 Great Newport Street (24th to 28th October)
The practice of perfuming your underwear is centuries old – a trend we’ve recently seen re-emerging from the boudoir with a come-hither glance, and fragrance houses urging us to spritz our scanties with perfume specifically made for lingerie, or being directly inspired by the materials they’re made from.
In our hot-off-the-press on-line magazine, The Scented Letter – which is a perk of being a Perfume Society V.I.P. Club Member (find out more here) – we take a closer look beneath the perfumed petticoats of history, but here we wanted to take a look at some of the more eyebrow-raising stories of how women have variously tantalised, beguiled and terrified men with the fragrant wafts from dressing rooms and, indeed, beneath their dresses…
Silk, lace, velvet and satin are materials often likened to smells – texturally sensual, they bring to mind opulent scents, and of course many perfumes past and present have taken inspiration from their names as well as the more esoteric sensations they bring when worn close to the skin, or used to swathe the moody surroundings of a boudoir. [NB ‘Boudoir’ is from the French ‘bouder‘, meaning to sulk or pout, so boudoir literally means a ‘sulking room’!]
Vivienne Westwood – ever one for slipping a sly wink to the naughtier end of fashion – released an unashamedly vampish fragrance in 1998, seeking to conjure that private pouting place reserved for women flouncing about in silky garments. And the name? Of course it had to be, Boudoir. A spicy chypre-floral laden with velvety roses, narcotic orange blossom, powdery carnation and a milky, tobacco-musk base, it smells illicit – the unmistakable waft of warm flesh beneath lacey undergarments.
Describing the scene of a lover stealing into his lady’s dressing chamber to have a sneaky peek at what women get up to in their boudoirs, in The Lady’s Dressing Room 18th C. satirical poet Jonathan Swift documents the scales falling from the eyes (and nose) of Strephon, who first spies ‘petticoats in [a] frowzy heap’, and then, to his growing disgust, the smell emanating from the room. Swift’s language reveals the extreme distaste poor, deluded men feel when realising that women are not born as delicately scented, perfect flowers of femininity.
‘To stinking smoke it turns the flame
Pois’ning the flesh from whence it came,
And up exhales a greasy stench,
For which you curse the careless wench;
So things, which must not be expressed,
When plumped into the reeking chest,
Send up an excremental smell
To taint the parts from whence they fell.
The petticoats and gown perfume,
Which waft a stink round every room.
Thus finishing his grand survey,
Disgusted Strephon stole away…’
Poor Stephron, we weep for him I’m sure. Men snooping around in ladies private retiring rooms, and being horrified by what they find (and smell) there is a frequent literary device. In Lady Audley’s Secret, Mary Elizabeth-Braddon describes ‘the elegant disorder of Lady Audley’s dressing-room,’ and how George Talboys (one of the male intruders) feels so out of place among the ‘womanly luxuries.’
‘The atmosphere of the room was almost oppressive for the rich odors of perfumes in bottles whose gold stoppers had not been replaced. A bunch of hot-house flowers was withering upon a tiny writing-table. Two or three handsome dresses lay in a heap upon the ground, and the open doors of a wardrobe revealed the treasures within.’
Women have been known to use fragrance as a weapon within their private dressing quarters, too, with devastating effect. In A History of Fragrances, Brian Moeran describes Napoleon’s first wife, Josephine, as being ‘fond of heavy, animal scents’, and recounts how ‘When summarily dismissed, in an act of olfactory revenge she drenched the walls of her dressing room with so much musk, civet, vanilla and ambergris (smells that the Emperor disliked) that their combined fragrance still hung in the air of the château de Malmaison seventy years later.’ Now, we’re wondering if the ‘seventy years later’ is stretching it a bit, but clearly this scent bomb in her boudoir was a message that hit its mark!
In the longer feature – Frills and Spills – within The Scented Letter magazine, I recommend a number of contemporary perfumes that whisper of boudoirs and lacey undergarments, including the beautiful trio of Ideo Parfumeurs Lingerie Perfumes, available at Roullier White. From the overtly wanton 4160 TuesdaysTart’s Knicker Drawer to Sarah Baker‘s sophisticated allure of Lace, there’s something to tempt every taste (so long as its racy). VIP Club members, log-in to have a read now, International Online Subscription also available, or purchase a print version for full-on glossy seduction…
We’ve long known our sense of smell is associated with well-being – from eras we strewed sweet-smelling herbs and flowers to mask foul odours (back when we assumed bad smells spread disease), to now using scented candles and personal fragrances to enhance how we feel. But something the IFRA Fragrance Forum always does so well is delve deeper into current scientific research, bringing together experts from around the world who may never usually meet, but who all share the sense of smell as a common theme of their reserach.
We’re always thrilled to attend the IFRA Fragrance Forum, and last week once again had our minds’ blown by the fascinating lectures we spent all day listening to, this time at the Wellcome Institute, and fittingly for World Mental Health Day, each speaker centered on the importance of smell not just on our emotional responses, but how it might be used to detect, research and even treat many neurodegenerative diseases.
We cannot possibly recount all of their research and statistics here, but urge you to seek out the speakers and read more about what they’re doing. Meanwhile, here’s a mere snapshot of the smell-studies that made our jaws drop to the floor…
The Woman Who Can Smell Parkinson’s Disease Dr Tilo Kunath from Edinburgh University talked about the extensive research he’s undertaken into the smell of Parkinson’s disease having met Joy Milne – an incredible woman who was able to detect the difference in her husband’s odour before he was diagnosed. We now know, as she’s been tested, that Joy is a ‘super smeller’ – someone born with a superior sense of smell, comparable to trained sniffer dogs.
Joy spoke so movingly about her journey of discovery, from being dismissed as a ‘a bit of a weirdo’ to finally convincing doctors to take her seriously. Joy had always loved her husband’s natural skin smell, she explained, and one day she realised he smelled completely different: ‘Odd. Sour-smelling… just not his smell.’ It was only when she and her husband (who’d then been diagnosed with PD) attended a conference for Parkinson’s sufferers, she was hit by a wall of that same smell when she first entered the room. Turning to her husband, she remarked ‘Les, they all smell like you…’ And it was at this conference she met Dr Kunath – which then led to his research. We also heard from Professor Perdita Barran from Manchester University whose mass spectrometry unit was an important part of the research.
Alzheimer’s and Smell Dysfunction
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia – something many of us will experience in family members or deal with ourselves in our ageing population. Olfactory dysfunction (mixing up smells) in general and impaired odour identification in particular, have been reported in AD and, importantly, are found to occur at early stages of the disease – so can act as warning signs. Dr Latha Velayudhan, a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist working at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscienecs (IoPPN), Kings College London demonstrated how she tests for smell identification dysfunction in people with AD compared to people without and the pattern of smell identification deficits (common smells affected) in individuals with AD.
Professor Keith Wesnes is the Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Exeter Medical School, and alsoruns Wesnes Cognition Ltd, a consultancy on the conduct and evaluation of cognitive testing, which provides its proprietary online cognitive test system, CogTrack to clinical trials worldwide. His talk explored the link between olfaction and cognitive function and how large-scale online studies offer highly efficient and cost-effective platforms for scientifically assessing the short and longer term cognitive and mood benefits of fragrances and essential oils in targeted populations.
As part of the same session, Dr Mark Moss, Head of Department of Psychology, Northumbria University then discussed why he thinks certain smells are ‘hard wired’ into our brain and how that then affects our well-being. Dr Moss’ research revolves around our ability to recognise and distinguish between many different plant aromas, and their practical use for the promotion of health and wellbeing – including stimulation and relaxation. Fascinatingly, his research suggests that ylang ylang slows down our reflexes and may help to relex us, while certain breeds of sage aid alertness and recollection. His study shows the species Sage Officinalis, in particular, was most useful for aiding memory function.
There’s a growing use of ambient scent used in everyday experiences – from scenting public spaces to more dramatic uses in art exhibitions and stage performances. Pollution Pods is a touring installation which, in a series of geodesic domes, accurately recreates the terrible air quality of five major cities – through scent, temperature, ozone and humidity, and cleverly using fragrance to make utterly visceral the effects on our physical and mental health of pollution. The artist behind Pollution Pods, Michael Pinsky, and fragrance specialist Lizzie Ostrom, gave us a into the look (and smell!) of the installation, which caused much coughing, though some seemed very fond of the re-created polluted smells – something Lizzie explained was comforting to many visitors, as they’d grown up surrounded by these smells.
Sharing thoughts on where ambient scent and fragrance in public spaces might be heading next, and what the industry could be doing to take advantage of growing interest from brands and institutions, this, along with the weight of fascinating medical research and hopefully leading to clinical advances and medical help available in the future, really left us with much to ponder the pongs of.
All the experts agreed that, past the age of 65, it has been shown that nicotine patches (!) may significantly slow down some symptoms of Alzheimer’s and, in the case of Parkinson’s it seems, prevent it all together. They also suggested the imbibing of wine to aid longterm memory function (however counter-intuitive that may seem), and so perhaps our senior years may at least be spent indulging in vices, as well as lavishing ourselves with fragrance.
Most of all, the day highlighted once again how the sense of smell is so vital – there’s still so much we don’t yet know about it – truly, as Helen Keller once desribed our ability to smell, it’s ‘the fallen angel of the senses…’
In fact, it’s never happened that the so-recognisable No5 bottle has had a ‘new look’ – but from 4.30pm on Monday 15th October 2018, Chanel No5 is quite simply going red.
Red, of course, is one of Chanel‘s iconic ‘colours’ – a monochrome fashion statement almost as linked with the designer as black or white. The couturier referred to it as ‘The colour of life, the colour of blood’ – and used it widely for accessories, tweeds (and of course, statement lipsticks).
Now, for the first time, the clear, geometric glass bottle – designed in 1921 and modified in 1925 – has been given a red cloak, just in time for Christmas. The design is carried across both Chanel No5 and No5 L’Eau.
It’s a limited edition – with an even more limited edition of 55 numbered crystal Baccarat 900ml bottles, for collectors – for a cool £25,000. (We’ve already put in our request to Santa.)
For now, it’s exclusive to the Chanel website – and from 2nd November, at Chanel counters nationwide. The countdown starts here…
You’re invited to a scent-sational afternoon with The Perfume Society’s co-founder Jo Fairley and author Maggie Alderson at what is definitely our favourite bookshop in the world…
Fragrance aficionados Jo and Maggie will be discussing their love affairs with perfume, exploring the extraordinary world of scents and revealing how all of us can improve our olfactory skill and appreciation for perfumes and scent. The afternoon also includes a smelling session based on our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell workshops.
All attendees will return home with a copy of Maggie’s novel, The Scent of You, as well as a richly-scented goodie bag. In addition, everyone attending will be entered into a raffle to win a year’s membership to The Perfume Society (and we’re throwing in some other lovely goodies, too).
Jo is the co-founder of Green & Black’s chocolate and The Perfume Society, where she edits our V.I.P. Club magazine The Scented Letter. A former magazine editor, she is a four-times winner of the Jasmine Award, the ‘Oscars’ of the perfume-writing world. She is also co-author of the bestselling Beauty Bible series, and expressed her love of perfume via a blog, ‘The Scent Critic’, before co-founding The Perfume Society.
Maggie is a former journalist and magazine editor, and the author of nine novels, four fashion and style guides and a children’s book. Her latest novel, The Scent of You, follows perfume blogger Polly Masterson-Mackay as she navigates the heady world of luxury fragrance.
In addition to the book, the goody-bag, entry to the raffle, the workshop and the discussion, the £20 ticket includes light refreshments and a 20% on-the-day discount on book and card purchases at Much Ado.
Proceeds will benefit Prospero’s Project, the shop’s wonderful social enterprise.
Tickets are available at Much Ado via the button below; or by phone on 01323-871444.
What does Simon Le Bon’s wrist smell like? We can tell you. Because that’s how up-close-and-personal we got to the Duran Duran frontman at the launch this week of a very, very limited edition collaboration with Brooklyn-based rising scent stars, D.S. & Durga.
When one of the world’s best-loved bands teams up with the coolest and grooviest of names in the perfume world, this definitely isn’t going to be another ‘celebrity scent’. The collaboration came about because the band’s manager, Wendy, was a D.S. & Durga fan. When the idea was floated of doing a fragrance to mark the group’s 40 years at the forefront of popular music – yup, you read that right, 40 years – she approached D.S. & Durga founder David Seth Moltz, who’d just created HYLNDSm a peat-y, oak-y masterpiece as a tribute to Glenlivet, and who’s the (self-taught) perfumer in the brand, working alongside his dynamic architect-trained wife, business dynamo Kavi.
There are four fragrances, and just 500 units of each – exclusive to Liberty, where D.S. & Durga are one of the ‘hot’ fragrance brands. All four members of Duran Duran were at the launch party, but it was Simon – a self-confessed perfume-lover – who was involved in the fragrance creation, while Nick Rhodes created the eye-catching outer packaging designs. The fragrances themselves, meanwhile, are perfume oils – and last a phenomenally long time on the skin. Among the ingredients are synthetics from perfume supplier Firmenich which David has begun to work with, having previously worked with Robertet, the naturals specialists.
‘Simon came to my studio two or three times, and brought a bunch of stuff he liked,’ explains the perfumer, who’s also a musician himself. ‘The idea was to create four fragrances, one from each decade of the band’s history. There was a back and forth process, as with any scent creation. Simon has a very good nose and knows what he likes – he’d been making his own stuff for a while and had always wanted to create a fragrance. It’s my thing to want to translate other disciplines into perfumes, so it was a dream project for me.’ (Simon’s favourite ‘real-world’ smell, as he told Liberty, ‘is the smell that comes up from warm stone when the first drops of summer rain fall on it. There is a word for it – petrichor – Robert Harris mentions it in his novel Pompeii. David and I talked about it.’
A song was chosen to represent each decade – but it had to translate, story-wise, into a fragrance. I’d have loved to do “Girls On Film”,’ continues David, ‘with maybe a scent of celluloid in there, somewhere – but we knew it really, really had to be “Hungry Like The Wolf”, so that killed the 80s…’
Comments Simon Le Bon: ‘I just didn’t want to smell like every body else… The collection we came up with is four very different new scents which are brave, original, cut to the heart and ring like glass. I love every one of them.’ At the launch, we captured a snipped of what Simon had to say about the collection…
The four fragrances are as follows…
HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF (1982) Notes include: cade, Atlas cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, leather. ‘I insisted on this song from the 80’s (although there were so many that would have worked!) The fragrance is animalic and captures some of the scenes in the video – the market, the jungle at night. It is furry, wolfy and badass!’
COME UNDONE (1993) Notes include: saffron, coca leaf, geraniol, tonka. ‘A sexy song and a sexy scent! It smells of body secretions – musks, hot breath and possibly illegal substances…….!’
SKIN DIVERS (2007) Notes include: seaweed, ylang ylang, blue water, vetiver, bergamot. ‘Using Calone (a molecule created in the 1990’s) to help convey a drenched love affair.’
YOU KILL ME WITH SILENCE (2015)
Notes include: cistus, ice, incense and smoke.
And which did Simon’s wrist smell of…? You got it – HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF, all smoke and earth and deep, dark naughtiness.
And this line-up – destined to be a hot seller among perfumistas and Duran Duran fans alike – is as rock ‘n’ roll as fragrance gets.
The Duran Duran Fragrance Collection from D.S. & Durga £75 each at Liberty
The elusive search for a ‘signature scent’ has befuddled many an otherwise perfectly level-headed person; that one true love who will supposedly meet your every need, match your every mood and mark you out as uniquely ‘you’ wherever you go.
I am here to tell you the existence of such a perfume is poppycock, and that unless you’re a tomcat you really shouldn’t require one smell to identify yourself to those around you.
Nowadays it’s far more acceptable to acquire a wardrobe of fragrances catering to your many moods (hopefully you have more than one) and the multitude occasions that make up your busy life. Just as jeans and a white shirt are a great fashion basic, but may not be deemed acceptable for a high-powered meeting or a glitzy cocktail party; one solitary perfume is unlikely to express every facet of your personality. Moreover, perfume should be fun – a hushed whisper of intriguing hints rather than a name tag sewn to a uniform.
Casting off the shackles of feeling enslaved to your comfy old favourite is quite another matter, of course, and like any wardrobe worth having, it takes a bit of self-reflection, a lot of research and above all else, time. But the best place to start is by smelling a range of differing perfumes from the various ‘families’ (types) of fragrance.
Have a read of the tips below, and let the hunt begin…
Do a bit of research online and find out name of the nose who designed some perfumes you already like – this is an excellent starting point in your quest for tentatively branching out. Just as top chefs and fashion designers have a signature style or cut, many perfumers stamp their mark in the scents they create.
Never imagine you know exactly which notes you love and hate, though. For many years I laboured under the misapprehension that I simply could not abide rose and lavender in any form; now several of my favourites contain those very ingredients – it all depends on the quality, quantity and how they are used.
When trying something completely new, allow yourself to fall under the spell of the smell alone, without heeding the notes at all. Focus, instead, on how it makes you feel, the images it conjures in your mind. Think of the roles you play, at work, as a friend, a mother, a lover – the infinitesimal masks you wear or perhaps would like to try on for size.
Throw a Bring a Bottle perfume party for your friends, get everyone to bring all their perfumes – especially ones they were given as gifts and are currently languishing on dusty shelves. Try them, swap them, critique them – surprise yourselves. Be brave!
With all this in mind, we curated a perfect starting point for anyone wishing to expand their perfumed horizon with the Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box – eleven scents spanning florals, chypre, oriental, fresh and gourmand, to give you a taste for something new and exciting to wear. From designer names to new niche and with a fabulous classic we’re swooning about all over again, it’s a great introduction for those of you nervous to splash out on scents before getting to know what you like – and therefore need in your Fragrance Wardrobe…
For the launch earlier this year of their so-sophisticated 1927 fragrance, Floris gathered together a curated group of guests to 89 Jermyn Street to celebrate the inspiration for the latest in their Fragrance Journal series, with two very special women discussing the rich and intertwined histories of fashion and fragrance… and we were thrilled to be present!
Scroll down to watch part of their fascinating conversation, and read our review of this stunning scent…
Dissecting nearly 100 years of social history in London, fashion historian, TV presenter and author Amber Butchart, former Vogue editor, author and journalist Alexandra Shulman, Floris Perfumery Director Edward Bodenham and Head of Marketing Alex Oprey explored how to bottle a moment in time. And now, Floris have released a video so you can watch along.
As part of their Fragrance Journals series, Floris created a very special time capsule, but exlained they wanted to make sure it smelled current and totally wearable for today – these are no museum pieces, but living homages to eras that have changed our world forever. The end of the 1920’s marked revolutionary new fashion movements, especially for women – cutting their hair short, smoking, dancing, partying all night and wearing loose-fitting, calf-length or shorter dresses that flirted with scandal.
Floris say: ‘The Fragrance Journals are a series of unique Eau de Parfums, capturing the heart and soul of London throughout the decades of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and most recently the 1920s.
Each fragrance weaves and knits its way through the fabric of a key moment, district, and culture of the time, bringing out a true reflection of a city which has the ability to both adapt to change, yet remain rooted in its identity. A love letter to London, its social fabric and its people.’
Read on for our fragrant review…
1927 kicks off with a swing as aldehydes burst like champagne bubbles into bergamot, and we can almost hear the giggles as cocktails are carried to the drawing room. Bright Young Things in barely-there bias-cut silks swing their pearls, violet, ylang ylang, narcissus and mimosa sashay their way to dancing on the tables – and an oakmoss-like, vanilla-musk base adds to sophisticated high-jinks. £140 for 100ml eau de parfum florislondon.com
What to wear?! We curated an extra special selection of scents for our Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box – eleven (count ’em!) perfumes to shake you out of the doldrums and get you excited to explore fragrances you perhaps hadn’t thought about trying before!
We all get stuck in a rut sometimes, constantly reaching for the same or very similar things – from a clothing stash or Fragrance Wardrobe – by means of habit rather than active choice. But you wouldn’t want to wear the same outfit every single day, even if you loved it. The idea of a ‘signature scent’ is a bit old hat nowadays, plus your nose gets used to fragrances if you wear them 24/7, so it’s good to change up your style and try something new.
Here’s a tempting selection we bet you wont have tried all of, from just-launched designer names and new niche to a revived classic we’re totally swooning over.
Cartier Carat – Luminescent modern floral with a dazzling fresh bouquet of violet, lily, hyacinth and honeysuckle Calvin Klein Women – Sparkling floriental hugging green eucalyptus with soft magnolia petals atop reassuringly soft white musk Elizabeth Arden My Fifth Avenue – Stylish floral radiating crisp citrus, violet leaves and amber-warmed woods
Tory Burch – Unfussy (almost tomboy-ish) floral, a lush bouquet shot through with soothingly cool vetiver Juliette Has a Gun Moscow Mule – Fresh cocktail with a kick of ginger, lime and apple on an unexpectedly sexy, woody base Thierry Mugler Aura – Thrillingly original oriental, hibiscus seeds, Tiger LianaTM, and iris for tropical leafyness infused with mist Marc Jacobs Daisy Love – Radiant gourmand floating on crystalised cloudberries, swathed in cosy cashmere
GOING ‘OUT’ OUT:
La Perla Classic – Seriously sensual chypre throbbing with Indian carnation and spiced roses on an oakmoss base Jimmy Choo Fever – Lusciously juicy floriential with black plum, vanilla orchid, jasmine and heliotrope Anna Sui Fantasia – Delicious gourmand swirling cassis and pink pomelo with raspberry praline and cedarwood
BIG DAY/SPECIAL OCCASION:
Oscar De La Renta Bella Blanca – Succulent white floral freshened with pear juice, gauzy layers of jasmine and peachy musk
There’s also two fabulous beauty extras: a STUDIO 10 Lip Perfecting Balm Glossin a lustrously blushed coral together with a gorgeously modern chypre in the form of Molton Brown Jasmine & Sunrose Shower Gel (30ml). So get building that wardrobe!
For a mere £19 (£15 for VIP Club Members), you can consider wearing something different and exciting, comfortingly cool or fabulously opulent every single day (or night) for nearly two weeks!
PLUS! Anyone who buys The Fragrance Wardrobe Discovery Box is entered into a prize draw to win a full-size version of one of the fragrances featured!
We think this would be a great gift for a fashionista friend, or someone who’s nervous about branching out of their fragrance comfort zone, along with hardened perfume lovers already anxious to delve into this bumper box of delights, of course.
So now, the question wont so much be ‘what can I wear?’ but more ‘what can I wear NEXT?!’
The Beautiful Mind Series celebrates women for their intelligence and creativity – indeed, when creating the house, perfumer Geza Schoen (perhaps best known for his best-selling Escentic Molecules fragrances) wanted this concept to inspire the very fragrances themselves.
We still see photographs of beautiful women used everywhere in advertising, to sell everything from salads to scents, but how refreshing that The Beautiful Mind Series actually bothers to dig far deeper than superficial looks.
During our recent event at Jovoy Mayfair with Geza Schoen and one of his muses – the astonishing Memory Grandmaster, Christiane Stenger – our Perfume Society VIP Club Members got to hear first-hand how they collaborated to create a fragrance that celebrated brain power and women’s strength and particular talents (more of which, below). But The Beautiful Mind Series wanted to dig deeper still, interviewing a number of other thought-provoking and successful women from various backgrounds, and have just published a series of blogs with a thought-provoking series of successful women drawn from various backgrounds and disciplines.
Subjects include the Anglo-American actress, Lucy Boynton (playing Freddie Mercury’s love interest in the upcoming biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody), a talented tatoo artist called Saira Hunjen, Liv Little – the guiding force behind brilliant magazine by and for women and non binary people of colour, gal-dem; and Zowie Broach, Head of Fashion at the Royal College of Art.
The Beautiful Mind Series explain that the series of blogs ‘…aims to highlight achievements of a broad spectrum of quite simply brilliant women who aim to have a profound impact on modern society. Artists, scientists, costume designers, film makers, feminist activists, photographers, poets and playwrights are just some of our subjects.’ And the blogs are put together by a female duo of writer, Susan Irvine, and photographer, Susannah Baker-Smith.
Accompanied by tender, intimate portraits of the women they interviewed, we’re utterly thrilled that fragrance houses are just starting to see the potential for celebrating fascinating – and real – women we can all relate to or be inspired by: an exciting subject we explore at length in the latest just-published Fashion, Fragrance & Feminism issue of our magazine, The Scented Letter.
As for the The Beautiful Mind Series fragrances? Well of course they are beautiful, but a nuanced story-telling depth of complexity that’s a distinct move away from the more minimalist tendenacies of Escentric Molecules…
Volume 1: Intelligence & Fantasy is the first of the series – a fabulously vibrant floral that boasts a heady heart of tiaré absolute – the dreamily exotic, waxy Tahitian gardenia, celebrated as the flower of affection and adored for its intoxicating aroma. Think of a balmy summer breeze as you stand and gaze at the setting sun, skin still warm from the heat of the day, your whole body relaxed but your mind focused and alert to every aspect of your surroundings.
Grand Master of Memory Christiane Stenger was the muse for Schoen here – a voluptuously decadent fragrance dedicated to women gifted with exceptional skills. Magnolia bud, bergamot, mandarin, and Schinus molle (pink pepper) co-exist with freesia and apricot-like osmanthus. Rose oil melds into addictive hedione with oodles of that tiara absolute slowly drifting to a woody, cashmeran base.
Inspired by Russian ballerina Polina Semionova, Volume 2: Precision & Grace is the second of the series – ‘I was fascinated by what goes on in the mind of a great dancer while she’s dancing,’ explains Schoen, ‘in the precision she must have to express the grace.’
Upliftingly fruity with a juicy, crisp freshness that makes the mouth water, the Williams pear and plum notes are a direct reference to the dancer’s childhood childhood memories of the Russian countryside, with a heady embrace of jasmine blossoms, sandalwood and pink pepper twirling throughout. Resting on a softly, musky base, we think it’s wearable year-round – making even the most serious-minded perfume-lover imagine donning a gauzy gown and joyfully pirouetting through a flower-strewn orchard at dusk.
The Beautiful Mind Series Volumes 1 & 2 £95 for 100ml eau de parfum
Try them at Jovoy Mayfair
Excuse us while we find our ballet shoes and go memorise every book in the library – while happening to smell incredible, of course…
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