With creations by one of the world’s leading perfumer’s, the new perfume house Floral Street is going to shake up your opinions about florals with their contemporary spin on floral fragrances – and the must-visit flagship store in London’s cool-again Covent Garden.
Sometimes, we get very, very overexcited at The Perfume Society. And having known Floral Street’s founder Michelle Feeney for longer than we care to admit – during her time at the Estée Lauder Companies, and then at the helm of revolutionary tanning name St Tropez –when she announced she was unveiling a fragrance line ‘built on the streets of London’, we knew that it would set pulses (and pulse-points) racing.
Floral Street’s are as far from your granny’s florals as it’s possible to get – each created by the star perfumer Jérôme Épinette, who is known for his mastery of natural ingredients. As Floral Street put it: ‘These are bunches – not bouquets. Ingredients, not notes. And it’s about ease, modernity and joy.’ Michelle adds: ‘My mission is to bring fine fragrance to the modern female – so that she might build an entire fragrance wardrobe, which can express the many facets of who she is.’
Michelle has been obsessed with smell (almost all her life). ‘Since the age of three, when I first smelled the gardenias in my great-grandmother’s cottage in Ireland, I’ve been captivated by scent. Much later, when my career took me to New York, I experienced how fragrances are developed, working on brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and MAC.’
Michelle’s motivation to create Floral Street was the knowledge that the beauty world was reaching out to a younger audience – but fragrance hadn’t yet caught up. (The name, meanwhile, struck her when she looked up at a street sign in Covent Garden, and thought: ‘What a brilliant name for a fragrance brand.’) Though she spent many years working in New York with cult beauty brands, London has for Michelle always been the most happening, hippest spot on the planet. As Floral Street put it, London is ‘a city where girls are proud to bear a token of their heritage, while simultaneously embracing the fashion of now to create something entirely new.’
This melting pot of British culture and style was the inspiration for this flower-powered collection. As Jérome Épinette explains: ‘Floral Street represents a modern way to emphasise the beauty of flowers. The collection is vibrant, energetic and feminine. I am lucky enough to work with the most exquisite raw materials extracted from nature – but with the same high level of quality.’
At the heart of each fragrance is a specific flower (sourced by the legendary fragrance house Robertet) – but each creation brings an unexpected twist, treated in a way that brilliantly ignites the senses. Take Wonderland Peony, which not only features armfuls of that flower, but pink berries and violets, Anything but cutesy, it’s given a woody-balsamic warmth by cedarwood, alongside vetiver.
London Poppy is ‘a love letter’ to the capital city, ‘a city that sees the sun through the crowds’. Bright as a sun-filled London morning, it bursts into life with Florida orange and Sicilian lemon, a marine note adding a splash of seaspray to the neroli, jasmine sambac and apricot blossom at London Poppy’s heart, before the base of hinoki woods, black amber and cedarwood ventures forth.
The fragrance which has scent critics and beauty editors most excited, perhaps, is Chypre Sublime: an utterly modern take on this sophisticated fragrance family, blending incense with Damask rose absolute, midnight violet, pink pepper and geranium, on a stunning base of benzoin, labdanum and olibanum which – as Floral Street nails it – ‘offers a resin-soaked wood table for the flowers to perch on. A fragrance for musicians, painters and poets.’
And it isn’t just the fragrances which are strikingly innovative, but the packaging. Each bottle showcases a stunning, sometimes decadent flower artwork by renowned fashion photographer Matthew Donaldson – but the packaging itself breaks boundaries: simple, clean, minimalist and (a fragrance industry first) entirely recyclable/compostable. (We’ve repurposed ours, as Floral Street suggest, as a tray for seeds and plants, although they also look great on a desk or used for keepsakes).
The flagship store for this exciting new name, meanwhile, perfectly chimes with The Perfume Society’s own approach to scent exploration. Knowledgeable staff, yes – but the boutique also offers the perfect space for leisurely scent exploration, inviting you to smell the accords and ingredient, building your fragrance knowledge as you shop. And when Michelle talks about ‘bunches not bouquets’, we think what this beauty biz dynamo really means is: once you’ve smelled them for yourself, you’re going to want a bunch of Floral Street’s power flowers, in your fragrance wardrobe…