Perfume: A Century of Scents – our pre-launch party with Lizzie Ostrom

Odette Toilette – purveyor of olfactory adventures, long-time fragrant friend and frequent scent-event collaborator – has finally been unmasked…

Lizzie Ostrom (for it is she), has somehow found time to write down some of the fascinating stories behind the invention and resulting cultural significance of Perfume: A Century of Scents. In sparkling form, Lizzie regales the reader with no mere reviews of the perfumes themselves, instead ferreting out some truly bizarre facts from the scented archives, along with personal reflections on why these little bottles mean so very much to her (and to us all, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not). Selecting 100 scents, we are presented with ten for each decade –  fragrant flag-bearers that tell us more than simply what we smelled like at the height of their popularity.

We were delighted to host the pre-launch party for Perfume: A Century of Scents, a group of our VIP Subscribers having been invited to the evening at Les Senteurs. Safely ensconced, our co-founder Jo Fairley officially introduced Lizzie, and began by asking why she had chosen to use her own name rather than the scent sobriquet she normally goes by.

‘It wasn’t so much me choosing that, more the publishers strongly advising that it would be best.’ Lizzie explained. ‘They said that nobody would take it seriously, otherwise, and we really wanted this to be a book that anyone could buy – not just those already in the know…’

Jauntily packaged in glowing burnt orange – ‘It’s neon! It was supposed to be burnt orange but it really is day-glo neon!’ Lizzie laughed – and gold foil, there’s no missing this on the shelves, and quite right too, as the contents is equally gripping. We loved these scented snippets, and sniffing some of the fragrances (and a number that Lizzie didn’t manage to fit into the book) really got us all reminiscing!

During the evening, Lizzie read a few excerpts, and we were even treated to a rather stunning impersonation of Michael Douglas, which nobody present shall surely forget in a hurry…

We’re already thumbing through our copies (which Lizzie so kindly signed for all our guests); and if you haven’t got your hands on one, we suggest you put it in your Christmas list immediately! Actually, scratch that – just treat yourself to it now, already, and buy some more for your fragrant friends…

Perfume: A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom, £16.99 for a signed copy from Odette Toilette.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

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