There are perfume houses which delight the senses. And there are those which go beyond that, provoking thought and inspiring conversation. We’d say that Edition Perfumes – launched by fashion designer and style insider Timothy Han – most definitely falls into the latter category.
As they put it: ‘We craft olfactory stories that unfold on your skin over time. From the ever-changing rhythm of our award-winning debut fragrance She Came to Stay to the opening chapters of the hot tarmac rising from New York’s summer streets of On The Road, our fragrances take you on a journey in scent.’
Since the launch of his first fragrance, She Came to Stay, Edition Perfumes has been making fragrant waves – almost immediately winning a Tatler Beauty Award 2015 against the very hottest competition, a stunning achievement for a debut perfume.
As the magazine commented, ‘She Came to Stay is so popular that the Browns boutique can’t keep it in stock. Perhaps that’s because the seductive, man-attracting powers of this brew have become common knowledge among women folk. Get in line…’ From the word ‘go’, Browns Fashion’s Caroline Burstein has been a huge supporter of Timothy Han’s fragrant work – and She Came to Stay has gone on to become the fashion destination’s bestselling fragrance ever.
Who is the creator behind this fragrance – and the second in the collection, On The Road? As The Telegraph’s Nisha Lilia Du explains, ‘In a reversal of the usual order of things, Han came to perfume via candles. And he came to scented candles via John Galliano…’
Working as Galliano’s assistant, Timothy Han spent a year in Paris surrounded by a miasma of fragrance: the designer loved to burn scented candles. On discovering that most were made from petroleum, however, Timothy vowed he could do better – launching a successful candle business that deepened his love of fragrance and inspired him to move into ‘wearable’ scents…
Why the name ‘Edition Perfumes‘? Because each batch of fragrance is actually blended in small quantities in Timothy Han’s Dalston apartment. Having fallen in love with pure, natural ingredients while creating the candle collection (sadly no longer available now that Timothy’s focused on Edition Perfumes), his fragrances are based on the purest naturals, avoiding synthetics or chemical ‘boosters’ – offering astonishing depth and amazing ‘life’ on the skin.
Each is something of an ‘olfactory journey’. Works of literature actually inspire each of the fragrance editions – which are numbered, just like works of art, or special editions of a novel. And the numbers are there for a very good reason. ‘Like the grapes in a fine wine, raw fragrance materials vary from year to year. Celebrating these variances means only a limited number are created of each edition to allow you to easily identify which batch of perfume your bottle came from…’
To quote Edition Perfums, ‘The stories are encapsulated in each facet of the journey from the fragrance to the name, the bottle and the artistic collaborations with some of the leading artists working today.’ Thus She Came to Stay was inspired by Simone de Beauvoir‘s novel of the same name: a fictionalised account of her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre, brought to life through scent.
As Timothy observes, it’s ‘a volatile fragrance. You put it on and the woody notes evolve into something lighter and more enigmatic on the skin. It’s an ever-changing relationship with the body…’ Those notes include geranium, basil and lemon, in the top, spiced by Indonesian clove and nutmeg in the heart. The woodsiness which has seduced so many comes from patchouli, vetiver, labdanum, cedarwood and oakmoss, creating a blend which critics have called ‘beautifully addictive…’
Another signature of Edition Perfumes is its collaborations with fellow artists. So the box for She Came to Stay features collages by LA-based artist Kirtland Ash. Timothy loves to collaborate with creatives in many different fields: mixologist Paul Tvaroh (who creates ‘drinkable perfumes’), fashion photographer Laurence Passera, Chicago elecronic music producer Kate Simko (Tim’s fragrance launches are famous for being dance-till-you-drop events), and Olia Hercules, who devised the scent-inspired menu for the much-talked-about exclusive dinner Timothy Han hosted to launch On The Road.
This second (shareable) scent was inspired by Jack Kerouac‘s celebrated Beat Generation novel, ‘telling a tale of restlessness and unbridled desire to experience the beat counterculture of a jazz-fuelled post-war America…’ Notes of galbanum, bergamot, lavandin and lemon invite you in, before the heart unfolds its elements of cedarwood, patchouli and amyris. ‘The base pulses with guaiacwood, benzoin, vanilla, labdanum, tonka bean and oakmoss, a-swirl with the smokiness of birch tar. This time, for the packaging, Edition Perfumes showcases the work of London-based artist Cedric Christie, whose photographs of his journey across the US give a modern twist on the American traveller’s tale.
And most recently, Timothy Han brings us The Decay of the Angel: ‘A rich and exotic burnt floral fragrance with a subtle headiness that comes from desire infused by flowers on the wane’ – and inspired, in this case, by Yukio Mishima‘s 1971 novel of the same name.
And all we can do is to encourage you on a journey of your own – exploring this most original of perfume houses…
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