Since the year 2000, every spring the limited edition Guerlain SakuraCherry Blossom is a breathtaking moment to pause and immerse ourselves in beauty, and oh how welcome that chance can be. Just as Japanese rituals around cherry blossom have taken place for centuries, Guerlain’s annual celebration of scent, exquisite artisan craftsmanship and nature combine in the most breathtaking way…
Says Guerlain: ‘For the House, this is the perfect opportunity to combine original artistic collaboration with the most virtuosic creators of artistic crafts. This year is an especially outstanding occasion, as it marks the 170th anniversary of the iconic Bee Bottle.
For its precious 2023 Millésime, Guerlain has asked the Ateliers Vermont, a prestigious Parisian embroidery house, to create the magical adornment of its Bee Bottle. A delicate cherry tree branch in blossom, nestled on a grosgrain bow, which expresses both the peerless expertise of French Haute Couture and the timeless poetry of the most moving of Japanese traditions.
To celebrate a poetic ritual the Japanese call hanami (literally “flower viewing”), friends and families get together to admire sakuras. Under the cherry trees, the delicate blooms fall without wilting, “flower rafts” float on streams, and petals flutter in the breeze like delicate butterflies.’
The bottles are snapped up by collectors, each of them hand-adorned and art pieces to treasure forever, and each year we think: oh, this is the most beautiful version yet! Of course, the fragrance itself must reflect the ethereal, life-affirming beauty of the cherry blossom spectacle itself:
‘Perfumers must therefore invent a fragrance which can express both the infinite grace of its flower-laden branches and the emotion of those who gaze at them,’ Guerlain explain.
‘First, bergamot, an olfactory signature of the House, sheds its golden light on the fragrance. A fresh, subtle green tea accord recalls another of Japan’s ancient rituals, while threading the luminous overture with the heart of the fragrance through its floral tones. In the heart notes, the Guerlain Perfumers, artisans of the sublime, have embroidered the delicate petals of the sakura blossom one by one onto the precious olfactory materials of their palette… Tender facets of almond, cherry, and powdery lilac, enhanced by a pearl-white jasmine, conjure their airy corollas. Carried by a breeze of white musks, these flowers fluttering on slender branches herald the rebirth of spring with the most delicate of fragrances.’
Guerlain Sakura Cherry Blossoms is priced at €700 in Guerlain boutiques
Viva Magenta is the Pantone Colour of the Year 2023 and, given the many links between colour, mood and smell, I thought it was only right to find some scents that vividly help express this vibrant colour in fragrant form…
Each year, the influential Pantone Colour Institute chooses a ‘colour of the year’ which guides fashion, interior design and all manner of micro trends for the coming seasons. For this year’s choice of ‘Viva Magenta’, Pantone explains their thinking, and what the colour represents emotionally…
An unconventional shade for an unconventional time
Pantone’s Colour of The Year, Viva Magenta 18-750, vibrates with vim and vigour. It is a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength. Viva Magenta is brave and fearless, a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.
This year’s Colour of The Year is powerful and empowering. It is an animated red that revels in pure joy, encouraging experimentation and self-expression without restraint, an electrifying, and a boundless shade that is manifesting as a stand-out statement. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta welcomes anyone and everyone with the same verve for life and rebellious spirit. It is a colour that is audacious, full of wit and inclusive of all.
As a nuanced crimson red tone that presents a balance between warm and cool, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta is also a hybrid colour, one that comfortably straddles the physical and virtual in our multi-dimensional world. It is assertive, but not aggressive, a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead takes a “fist in a velvet glove” approach. Exuding dynamism, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta is a transformative red tone capable of driving design to create a more positive future.
Reading about their inspirations for Viva Magenta, it struck me the language used in the Pantone report was very similar to how fragrance houses describe the emotional resonance of their scents – and little wonder, given the myriad threads that connect colour, perfume and mood.
‘The evidence from numerous studies demonstrates that simply changing the colour of a fragrance can change the way it smells to us’ –– Professor Charles Spence, Head of Oxford University Crossmodal Research Laboratory
‘Seeing red’, ‘feeling blue’, going ‘green with envy’ – we’ve linked colours with emotions for centuries. But there is science behind the pairing of certain hues with sentiment and sensation. And fascinatingly, some of your favourite fragrances are packaged in tones designed to suit the mood the scent is trying to evoke; indeed, they may even have deliberately dyed the ‘juice’ a particular shade on the colour spectrum to evoke specific feelings, provoke memories and metaphorically ‘colour’ the way you smell them.
‘Our perfumers can type the name of colour in our database and it will pull up a list of ingredients proven to stimulate certain emotions and responses in people.’ –– Céline Manetta, PHD, CSI Global Innovation Senior Manager IFF
We could all do with some extra bravery, joy and exuberance in our lives right now, so given these crossmodal (overlapping of senses) connections, I’ve chosen some fragrances that use magenta as a touchstone to bring this powerful, bright and uncompromising colour to the fore as we wear them on our skin….
Armani Prive Magenta Tanzanite
Composed as a tribute to the spectacular colours of Africa’s landscape, a cool breeze of cardamom is warmed by furling plumes of honeyed tobacco smoke, spicy ginger and the energising scent of coffee. A lively dance of contrasts, this sizzles pleasingly. £260 for 100ml eau de parfum armanibeauty.co.uk
Juliette Has a Gun Mmmm
Even the name was designed to be onomatopoeically pleasing, and the delicious melange of ripe raspberry, geranium and bright neroli conjure forbidden fruits, while orange blossom and tuberose hypnotise the senses to a deliciously drenched creamy musk trail. £90 for 50ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Mugler Angel Nova
This iteration twists ripe raspberry and succulent lychee with damask rose atop a darker base of Akigalawood and resinous benzoin. Definitely one to try if you clutched your pearls and backed away from the original. This is pretty, fresh but with a burst of petal power. £77 for 50ml eau de parfum theperfumeshop.com
Parfums de Marly Oriana
Plush, velvety fruitiness conjures an 18th century French mistress idly sucking pastilles while sighing on a chaise lounge. Pale flowers tremble, a sudden decision is made to give in to passion, and the soft, skin-like scent of ambrette billows beguilingly for hours. £120 for 30ml eau de parfum harrods.com
Goutal Rose Pompom
Exuding playfulness a sparkle of blackcurrant and raspberry are swirled with armfuls of dewy roses, a flurry of petals and joyful pops of pink pepper reminding you of love, light, laughter with friends. Happy memories meld with the scent to create a wearable smile. £76 for 50ml eau de toilette houseoffraser.co.uk
Jusbox Sirens & Sailors
Paying homage to the unforgettable British soul singer Amy Winehouse via a kiss of peachy osmanthus, the smoky swagger of booziness in the heart softens to suede-like whispers and a smooth patchouli base resonates thrillingly until way past your bedtime. £168 for 78ml eau de parfum selfridges.com
Lancôme La Vie est Belle Intensément
Affirming ‘happiness as the ambition, as a way to live life to the fullest and without making any sacrifices’ if ever a scent invited positivity, it’s LVEB’s euphoric burst of pink pepper, bergamot and raspberry, with a floral, velvety heart and a pulsing baseline of vanilla and iris. From £87 for 50ml eau de parfum lancome.co.uk
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