to the fairest

With a name inspired by an inscription on the ‘golden apple’ of Greek myth – the famed prize vied for by Hera, Athena and Aphrodite – to the fairest fragrances celebrate strength, sensuality and sensorial escapism…

Sitting on a stool in her mother’s greenhouse, young Rebecca Rose would take in all the wonderful smells that surrounded her – the crisp green of stroking fuzzy tomato leaves, clean, damp earth and sun-warmed jasmine flowers. A little later, the olfactory tuition became more pronounced, because, as Rebecca recounted during an interview with velvetmag.co.uk, when she got older ‘…my grandmother would bring me sample vials back from her shopping trips and it was always the most exciting thing.’

Clearly carrying these olfactory memories with her during her studies at Cambridge, career as an art historian and then dealer of vintage clothing; a chance encounter with Lizzie Ostrom– a.k.a. Odette Toilette, a fragrance expert, author of Perfume: A Century of Scents and long-time friend of The Perfume Society – led to Rebecca being encouraged to launch her own house in 2019. Working with independent perfumer Penny Williams, Rebecca recalls how important her childhood fascination with fragrance had been: ‘I was exploring a whole new world’ she explains. ‘Scent can trigger emotions; take us to different times, different places.’ And so, ‘Developing my own fragrance brand was a dream.’

But as we know, 2020 was a tough year for retail – particularly fragrance, and even more keenly for indie brands – so having previously been stocked in a London boutique that was forced to close, Rebecca had to move quickly to save her business, transferring to the fairest to online selling platforms such as Shopify, and using WhatsApp and Instagram in savvy ways.

She has drawn on her other passions for history and communication that so informed her studies in Modern Languages. So that mythical golden apple from the garden of the Hesperides, which inspired the name of the house, ‘Represented beauty, knowledge and power,’ Rebecca points out, which were ‘qualities claimed by the goddesses.’ This classical motif, she says, ‘celebrates woman as muse – embodying the arts, imparting wisdom and inspiring creation.’

The first fragrance, Cécile, entwines luminous bergamot and mandarin with powdery softness atop the warmth of amber and a tingle of clove bud, the rose rippled through with an airy creaminess that wafts beguilingly. So enticingly characterful yet ethereal was the scent, it became a matching candle, so we could scent our spaces to match our mood, with a fragrantly nourishing body oil to follow.

Ordre Cosmique (coming soon) is similarly lyrically inspired, this time ‘by the magic and connectivity of the cosmos’ – silvery cardamom and water lily drying to a woody base and unfurling the extraordinary scent of chocolate cosmos flower. Once again, a candle and perfumed body oil complete the fragrant ritual – a theme of making one’s scented mark we have most definitely seen a trend for, of late: layering the fragrances we wear on our skin and those we surround ourselves with.

Embracing the ethos of ‘slow beauty’, to the fairest go further than merely minimising waste and production (favouring quality over quantity), because Rebecca saw an opportunity for her perfume house to do good while helping people smell good. In 2019 the house was lead sponsor for Thrive’s mindfulness garden at RHS Chatsworth, created by award-winning landscape designer Richard Rogers.

This wonderful UK charity ‘uses horticulture to bring positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health,’ and the project was very close to Rebecca’s heart – again conjuring treasured memories of gardening with her mother.

Meanwhile, during the pandemic, to the fairest’s social responsibility budget was allocated to Top to Toe, a charity working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust that supports people of all ages receiving mental health, community and social care.

Empowering, nurturing, beautiful fragrances echoed in their ethos – we just know you’re going to so love finding your own olfactory muse, here, with fragrances that offer a feel-good factor on every level.

Find to the fairest here

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