Get to Know… Sarah Baker perfumes (now available in our shop!)

Contemporary artist Sarah Baker’s photography, sculpture and films are inspired by ‘fashion, luxury and celebrity’, but little did she know that when she created a fictional fragrance house as part of her artwork, her passion for the project (and the public’s reaction to it) would result in a real-life fragrance house. Still artistically inspired, luckily for us they’re now ready to (actually) wear…

When we speak to founders of fragrance houses, we’re used to hearing them rhapsodise about their childhood memories of exploring their mother’s scents on the dressing table and how they discovered the world (and themselves) through smell, but Sarah Baker chuckles as she recalls growing up avoiding perfume, because for years, ‘I convinced myself I was actually allergic to it, because my sister wore so much of it and I’d be stuck in the car with her on long journeys!’ This early olfactory over-exposure luckily didn’t put her off perfume for life, and teenage Sarah became ‘obsessed’ with The Body Shop’s White musk. ‘My friend Alice and I had a ritual of going to the Body Shop,’ she says, ‘and dousing ourselves with it. I swear it bonded us. I smell it now and think of all the fun times, like sleepovers, laughing together…’

 

 

Gaining a place at Goldsmith’s College, in 2000 Sarah moved from America to live and study in London. The overt opulence and heady glamour of 1980’s movies, soap operas, music and swaggering fashion styles inspired Sarah’s artwork and still very much inspire her today. This maximalist (and Fun with a capital F) ethos inspires her love of fragrance too. The first joining of the artistic and fragrant dots, as it were, occurring when Sarah created a film inspired by the life of Patrizia Reggiani (who was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her husband, the fashion world figure Maurizio Gucci).

 

 

‘I’m really interested in exploring soap operas in my work and here was a real life one.’ For the project, Sarah invented a fashion company that she named ‘Imperio Rosso’, and, with help from the Arts Council, in 2014 made a deliberately hyperbolic film for the Institute of Art and Olfaction about her fictional fashion moguls’ passionate, fashion and perfume-obsessed lives. It was during the making of the movie that Sarah finally realised she wanted ‘…to enter into the world of commerce and create an actual, real-life scent brand.’ Having become ‘really interested in celebrity perfumes – what are you buying into when you purchase them’, a line of scents ‘based on my love of luxury fabrics’ was the perfect fit.

 

 

Collaborating with other creatives at the top of their game really seems to light Sarah Baker’s fire, so the first collection in 2016 found her working with perfumer Ashley Eden Kessler (who’d originally made the fragrances for the exhibition), and 4160 Tuesday’s perfumer Sarah McCartney. In 2018, Sarah collaborated with fragrance writer Miguel Matos for a limited edition scent called Jungle Jezebel – a limited edition design concept that saw the bottle adorned with drag queen-esque eyelashes. But Sarah’s artistic/fashion dreams really took flight when working with the legendary Donatella Versace and supermodel Helena Christensen as part of the most 80s-tastic spectacular campaign you’re likely to see, for a Jackie Collins-inspired coffee table book entitled Baroness, with Donatella guest-editing the issue and styling the interiors and clothes featured within…

We know you’ve been adoring the samples we’ve included from Sarah Baker in our Discovery Boxes, but now we are thrilled to be able to offer you full sizes to purchase in our shop! Which of them have you fallen for…?

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Clive Christian – the art of Matsukita – an interview with artist Yukako Sakakura

Taking inspiration from their unique heritage, Clive Christian recently celebrated their beautiful Matsukita fragrance in artful style at an exhibition in Mayfair’s Jovoy perfumery. We were honoured to catch up with the world-famous artist Yukako Sakakura and talk to her about creating the most stunning multi-layered painting directly inspired by smelling the scent…

 

Matsukita was inspired ‘by a fabled Japanese princess who awed the Victorian royal court with her elegance and grace’ and first launched in 1892 by Crown Perfumery, advertised with lavish, hand painted illustrations. Clive Christian have dipped back into this intriguing heritage to recreate some iconic fragrances with a distinctly modern feel – the meeting place of historic references and scents that have a certain classic style, but are thoroughly contemporary in character when you wear them.

With this juxtaposition in mind, today Matsukita ‘has been reimagined to capture this illusive elegance.’ A deliciously woody chypre, there’s an invigorating freshness wafting around the top notes to keep this breezy and simply beautiful. Green bergamot, pink pepper and flecks of nutmeg swoop to the floral, woody heart of Chinese imperial jasmine infused with refined notes of black tea. The smoke dispersing to reveal an amber-rich base swathed in whisper-soft musk add further to the ‘sense of mystery and grace’ they hoped to capture of the original.

  

 

 Further expressing their heritage in modern ways, Clive Christian has long heralded contemporary artists, and they were delighted to partner with artist Yukako for a sensory collaboration around the scent of Matsukita, the experience of smelling which formed the inspiration for her extraordinary painting, ‘You Close Your Eyes to See Our Spring.’ Yukako explains: ‘I’ve always liked painting natural elements, because flowers link with emotions. In Japan we use these natural elements in art a lot, so it therefore feels quite natural for me to use these symbols to express feelings.’

‘I love to use layers within my work, so many I sometimes lose count! It’s usually 50 plus layers, anyway. I finish my flowers first and paint over the whole surface, then I change the shape of the flowers with further layers. If I didn’t have the layers, everything looks too flat to me, it’s not wavy enough! I want to make sure all the flowers are kind of singing the same song, it’s a way of breathing life into the landscape; so, I just paint over and over again until it feels like all the flowers are breathing with the same rhythm. To gauge when it’s finished, I must sit in front of the painting for ages, sometimes five hours (with a cup of coffee), looking closely and making sure everything is doing the right thing.’

 

‘I smelled the fragrance first, and then wore it as I painted, it helped feed my imagination and it’s as though I felt the energy of the scent go down my arm into the paintbrush. I know that might sound strange to some, but I started learning calligraphy at the age of three, and that’s all about imagination, getting to know what kind of brush marks you can make…’

 

 

‘In calligraphy, you learn that before you make a single mark on the page you have to spend time imagining it all in your head, and then you join those energies of thought and process. For my Matsukita painting, it was all about smelling the fragrance and connecting to the emotions it gave me, then translating these into images, and they flow from my brain to the brush. You know, I did all my studying about art in U.K. I’ve not done any art studies in Japan, and I find that when I’m in the mood for 100% concentration, I speak English, even in my head.’

  

 

‘I find I talk to colours [Yukako giggles] and I have changing relationships with them. For instance, I used to hate yellow years ago, and it would creep into my paintings sometimes and I’d get angry with it for spoiling them and tell it to go away, but now I absolutely love yellow! I knew I wanted yellow in this as soon as I smelled Matsukita. I must explain that I don’t talk to the colours out loud. It’s all in my head – it’s part of the way I communicate with the world and translate my feelings to the canvas. Again, while smelling the scent I knew the roses must dance first in the painting. I don’t let anyone in my studio when I’m painting because it’s disrupting to my conversation with the painting itself! My family all think I’m very weird, but it’s the way I work…’

 

 

What an incredible privilege it was to meet this visionary artist and see her work in the flesh – for seeing pictures of the paintings really cannot convey their extraordinary depth of feeling and movement. You really can sense the ‘sway’ and ‘dance’ of the flowers and petals in the breeze, standing in front of the picture itself. And isn’t that the way of fragrance itself, too? Talking about individual notes can only bring you so far – to really know a fragrance and feel its emotional connection, you must wear it on your skin. And we urge you try Matsukita this way, to truly feel the character of the scent yourself…

 Clive Christian Matsukita £350 for 50ml at Jovoy

 Written by Suzy Nightingale

How to Bottle Hope – the scent of snowdrops

During the greyest months of the year, when life seems dormant and waiting, there is one little glimpse of brighter times to come – a whiff of hope on the frosty breeze – in that cheering moment we first spot a snowdrop. Yes, that might sound clichéd, but I defy you to smother a smile when you see one. Delicately scented with a lightly honeyed, creamy almond kind of smell, the latin name ‘Galanthus‘ means ‘milky flower’, and this tiny bloom has gathered centuries of fragrant folklore around its origins, continuing to inspire perfumers with its transcendent prettiness.

 

Native to Alpine regions, where they thrive amidst the cold, mountainous climes; snowdrops are believed to have first appeared in the British Isles when they were brought there by monks. It’s rather nice to imagine them tenderly tucked in religious robes while they travelled, but however they first arrived, they took root in the frozen winter soil of this country, and in our souls, somehow. Perhaps we were seduced by the mythology – stories passed down through generations, such as the legend recounted on the snowdrop-centric website snowdrops.me: ‘when you listen closely,’ they explain, ‘you can hear their bells ringing, trying to wake up nature from its winter sleep.’ Even more beautiful is the ancient German tale re-told on The Creative Countryside blog:

 

 

‘At the beginning of all things when life was new, the Snow sought to borrow a colour. The flowers were much admired by all the elements but they guarded their colour’s jealousy and when the Snow pleaded with them, they turned their backs in contempt for they believed the Snow cold and unpleasant. The tiny humble snowdrops took pity on the Snow for none of the other flowers had shown it any kindness and so they came forth and offered up to the Snow their colour. The Snow gratefully accepted and became white forevermore, just like the Snowdrops. In its gratitude, the Snow permitted the little pearly flowers the protection to appear in winter, to be impervious to the ice and bitter chill. From then on, the Snow and the Snowdrops coexisted side by side as friends.’

 

I’ll be the first to admit the smell of snowdrops isn’t effusive, it doesn’t billow through the woods as a scented cloud harkening Spring; but though tenderly scented, it’s the symbolism of this flower that so inspires perfumers, I think. And to which we feel drawn – perhaps likening ourselves to the ‘brave’ flower having clung on through icy conditions, and having managed to immerge, even through the frozen ground. A triumph of beauty over adversity that’s also evoked in writer Vikki Bentley’s poem, which was penned in conjunction with the launch of Anglea Flander’s Lawn fragrance:

These gauzy mornings
there’s a reason why you push your bed pillow-close
to the open window so that the cool, the light
bathes you awake five o’clock and eager
to leave diseased dreams and watch
the calm, silver sheet of the
dawning lawn catch the
unhurried tumble of
a petal’s feather curl
for in the blink of that first, not-quite time
you still believe in the lightness of your footfall
stepping out onto the fresh, the wet
beneath your soles, between your toes;
inhaling silver, tasting green as
each liquid call in the chorus
trickles down to touch the
newness in you
until the truth of the day scorches through
Vicci Bentley

 

snowdrops the scent of hope photo by <a href='https://www.freepik.com/photos/background'>Background photo created by freepic.diller - www.freepik.com</a>

 

Quietly scented (to us) they may be, but that smell acts as a clarion call for potential pollinators. The composition of the snowdrop’s fragrant waft depends on the type of insect it wants to attract. The honeyed kind attract bees (and us), but because the snowdrop is a fairly recent inhabitant on British shores, the scent they exude can also be a wordless cry to a species not available here. So, not all snowdrops have a smell that pleases the masses. Explains the National Plant Collection of Galanthus at Bruckhills Croft in Aberdeenshire on their snowdrops.me blog (where you can purchase several varieties of the flower): ‘The species Koenenianus is often described as having a smell of animal urine or bitter almonds, so perhaps has evolved to attract pollenating beetles in its native North-Eastern Turkey?’

Focussing on the tenderly honeyed side of their scent (thank goodness), perfumers tend to use a blend of notes to evoke these seasonal flagposts of hope in their fragrances – boosting their brightness, smoothing the edges, radiating anticipation. Such is the alchemy of a fragrant composition, we might be smelling lily-of-the-valley or bluebell accords (also imagined evocations) or the dewy green of violet leaf. Creamy white musks are often used to create that elegant shiver of the flower, or a whisper of cool woodiness wafting an imagined breeze to shake their bells. Conversely, the sense of snowdrops may be borrowed to add pale shafts of sunlight within the darkness of a scent, the contrast emboldening the harmony of the whole blend.

So, while you may not pick up a bottle and confidently declare ‘Aha! I detect snowdrops!’ we can quite willingly succumb to the romance of the story, and cling on to the feeling of hopefulness each of these fragrances grant the wearer…

 

 

 

 

Shay & Blue Black Tulip £55 for 100ml
Contrasts abound as white chocolate swathes spiced plum, but before gourmand-avoiders back away, it’s not overtly sweet – think of it more like the silky ‘mouth-feel’ amidst swathes of bright snowdrops and creamy cyclamen. The dark heart hushes to wood shavings, curls of chocolate still falling like snowflakes.

 

 

‘A note of grassiness in the air and a promise of flowers to come, snowdrops & woodland bulbs are making an entrance.

 It feels as if it’s time to wear a fresher note in fragrance too. For the first time this year I instinctively reached for my bottle of Lawn, yearning for the dewy galbanic freshness that later warms on the skin like the mid day sun.’ – Kate Evans [Angela Flander’s daughter, now perfumer for the house]

Angela Flanders Lawn £75 for 30ml eau de parfumKate learned perfumery at her mother’s knee, taking over the house after Angela died, with this dew-speckled, dawn-struck scent her first offering. ‘Lawn marked a new start for me as a perfumer’, she explains, ‘and is therefore a most appropriate scent for the time of year when we feel ready to embrace the promise of a new season.’

 

 

Perfumer H Snowdrop from £150 for 50ml eau de parfum

The glacial gust of the central white floral accord – Tunisian jasmine and orange flower absolute – is crisp with snapped green stems, Lyn Harris creating a dampened breeze of iris and carrot seed atop drenched mossy notes on a frosty, woody backbone of spikier juniper. The scented personification of a sanguine elegance, you’ll float.

 

Zoologist Snowy Owl £195 for 100ml extrait de parfum
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s calone-based ‘snow accord’ imagines the backdrop for the owl’s scented swooping: ‘A thick carpet of silver envelops the landscape, untouched but for the dazzling reflection of the sun.’ Icy mint, lily of the valley and coconut drift to snowdrops and sap-filled galbanum, softly feathered by the moss-snuggled base.

 

A portrait of a frozen stream in perfumed form, snowdrops and freesia are lapped by lychee water, peony petals and jasmine hinting at warmer days, clementine blossom a burat of happiness amidst misty, crystalline musks. Then, the smooth teakwood base is whipped through with fluffs of creamy vanilla for an ambient blanket of calm.

By Suzy Nightingale

You’re invited to an exclusive shopping evening with us at JOVOY Mayfair

We are so, so delighted to be able to welcome you back for a wonderful, celebratory ‘in real life’ shopping event at JOVOY’s flagship Mayfair store.

Date: 18th November 2021

Time: 6-8pm

Ticket price: £25 (redeemable against purchase)

When it comes to choosing perfume – for ourselves or as a gift – there is nothing like spritzing and sniffing in person. JOVOY Mayfair is the perfect place for this: a stunning, spacious store showcasing many of the most exciting fragrance names around, from Fragrance du Bois through to BDK Parfums, Eight & Bob to Clive Christian, Ella K to Jovoy’s own divine creations. (Everything crossed – as per usual, in these times – we’re HOPING to have founders of some of those brands present on the night.)

But oh, do we have some treats in store at this special evening…

• A gorgeous goodie bag to take home to include an 80g Jovoy candle and Sarah Colton’s book Bad Girls Perfume: Tips and Tales

• Exclusive gifts with purchase from some of the fragrance names

• Be first to smell JUST-LAUNCHED fragrances from Jovoy and Jeroboam

• Experience the exciting immersive fragrance exhibition, ‘The Perfumus Affair’, now installed at Jovoy

In order to keep the experience intimate and safe, we will be limiting numbers to just 40 over the evening – so be sure to book your space FAST as we know this event will be super-popular.

NB We are asking guests to take a lateral flow test not more than 24 hours before the event, as indication of negative COVID status. Please upload the results to the NHS website or app.

Just click below to book via Eventbrite – or click here

 

 

 

 

Manos Gerakinis – the first Greek luxury niche perfume house

Manos Gerakinis is, quite incredibly, the first Greek luxury niche perfume house. With fragrances inspired by the history, art and mythology of the country, and radiating the poetry and passion of their founder – we think you’re going to love getting to know them…

Manos had an extremely prestigious career, managing the Harrods luxury department and working with designers such as Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana. His job took him around the world, seeing (and staying in) some of the most opulent places and experiencing the best of the best. A dream come true, right? But something else was pulling at the strings of his heart. From an early age, Manos says he knew that fragrance was important, that ‘…every bottle is more than a mere perfume; it is a living olfactory experience, unique and mysterious.’

Growing up in Kavala, Greece, Manos’ childhood was already infused with the tales and traditions passed down through the generations of his family, who originated from Istanbul. He speaks of being surrounded by ‘the cultivation of saffron, tobacco, labdanum and honey’ and in an interview with the Greek City Times, divulged that his maternal grandmother played a huge role in his life. ‘She was a woman of high standards and aesthetics,’ he says. ‘She introduced me to the French “Savoir-Faire”, classical music and fine arts. I am blessed in a family that provided us with the stimulus to reach our full potential.’ This potential was further encouraged to develop through art – ‘a natural talent for painting together with history, philosophy and culture’.

 

 

Imbued with those fragrant memories and a respect for the ingredients grown and harvested in Greece, and the mythology surrounding many of them, Manos took a perfumed path by learning how to create fragrances – the very first being a signature scent for himself…

‘Creating my own fragrance was always in the back of my mind,’ he explains, ‘and once I was given the opportunity, I grabbed it.’  Delving further into researching and learning the technical side of the fragrance world, ‘My initial goal was to create a powerful scent that was able to captivate anyone in the room. I wanted an alluring scent, mysterious and poetic.’

He began curating a collection of exquisite essential oils and ingredients from around the world, and it took nine months to complete the first fragrance, Sillage Royal – a warm, woody, immediately evocative scent that, perhaps understandably, is the most personally resonant for Manos, being inspired by the picturesque city of Kavala he grew up in. Part of the Egyptian-Otoman Empire for hundreds of years, it became powerful through the production of tobacco, and the rose, saffron and spices further reflect his olfactory heritage, captured in a scented snapshot. Says Manos: ‘During this process I came to realise that I had a talent for creating beautiful scents,’ and buoyed by his success, the collection inevitably grew.

Rose Poetique is the first Manos Gerakinis fragrance I had the pleasure of experiencing myself. It’s a stunning evocation of the Damask rose, which the Greek poet Sappho described as ‘the pride of plants, and queen of flowers.’ This is a rose that drapes the skin as velvet does, relecting the texture of the petals themselves. It billows from the tart, fruitier aspect of the flower with rhubarb up top, to the resinous, romantic depths of the base – beautifully balanced with smooth labdanum, cashmere wood and vanilla. One for all rose-lovers to add their collection, for sure.

 

 

There are currently seven fragrances to explore in the collection – which you can read about on our new page dedicated to Manos Gerakinis Parfums – from delicate sophistication to swaggering sensuality, simplicity to extravagance. At every stage your senses will be enthralled, and as you explore, you’ll feel Manos’ ethos reverberating in each scent. Man’s greatest heritage is the pictures he collects and his memories,’ he says. ‘That doesn’t necessarily mean he has to travel, it means that he has to be open to collect beauty and then compose it into his own palette.’ And wearing a Manos Gerakinis fragrance, we’re sure you’ll agree, …allows the true beauty of the individual to emerge.’

By Suzy Nightingale

OlfactoStroll – artist creates guided ‘smell walk’ (with accompanying podcast)

Artist Jan Uprichard has created a unique ‘smell walk’ called OlfactoStroll, with an accompanying podcast to gently guide your senses and help shape your usual daily walk, into something hopefully not only interesting but a valuable moment of serenity…

Devised in collaboration with the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) in Derry – it doesn’t matter if you’re not in Northern Ireland: the walk can be taken wherever you live. There’s a specially-created podcast of that name, which you can download and listen to no matter where you are in the world. The prompts Jan gives during her so-soothing narration are not dictated by place, but rather suggest things to look out for during your walk, how to navigate your local landscape using the sense of smell.

OlfactoStroll was an idea Jan came up with as part of PhD research, for which she’s developing a method of Deep Smelling. Using smell, walking, archives, mapping, food, sound, film, bookmaking, botany, and interventions as practical, participatory tools for her art, the idea is to offer differing ways to experience familiar surroundings. Says Jan:

‘Deep Smelling is a meditative, experiential and process-based art practice, which brings our attention to our sense of smell. The smell walk has been configured with Derry city in mind, however you can apply the principles of the walk to anywhere in the world, including your own home.’

The podcast/guided walk is an incredibly relaxing listen – Jan has a naturally soothing voice and instead of talking all the time, you’re offered suggestions several minutes apart, for how to control your breathing, things to look out for and special circumstances to take note of (such as air temperature) which make this an experience that would be interesting to repeat several times during the next few months, to see if you notice any changes.

You can download the podcast from Anchor, Spotify and iTunes, or listen to it by clicking below…

 

If you do happen to live in Derry, the walk is apparently ‘accompanied by a series of Deep Smelling protocols, visible through the gallery windows and at various spots around the city.’ But as Jan says – this is a walk you can take absolutely anywhere, whether you’re in an urban environment, going for a hike through the woods or walking beside the seashore.

 

 

Besides being an anxiety-busting method of slowing down and taking notice of nature around you – and a way to improve your sense of smell simply by learning to focus on it and being mindful of what you sense – it’s also an important exercise in the current climate. As a spokesperson for the CCA commented on the joint project:

‘Both walking and smell have taken on added importance during the pandemic. Jan’s hope, as we try to figure out what a ‘new normal’ could be, is that we take the opportunity to maintain a slower pace. That we will reflect on our experiences with a quiet activism, that utilises taking time to do nothing but wander around, and in this case, notice what we can smell and sense around us.’

Indeed, Jan drives this point home on her blog, saying that ‘Smell has taken on special significance in the past year,’ and so ‘If you have experienced a loss of change in your sense of smell AbScent.org is a UK charity that offers support and advice to people with smell disorders.’

We’ve written several features on smell-loss being an early syptom of Covid-19, and something scientists are currently exploring further; and we hope our sense of smell will be taken far more seriously in the future. In the meantime, what a wonderful way to change-up your daily walk into a scented stroll…

By Suzy Nightingale

 

More perfume podcasts…? Eau yes!

We’re so excited to see more dedicated perfume podcasts (and fragrantly themed episodes of other series) starting to blossom, and here’s our pick of the current bunch…

 

The SniffNicola Thomis is a fragrance-obsessed reviewer who, in previous episodes, has looked at soothing scents for troubled times, spoke with language translator, (and sometime Perfume Society fellow contributor) Marta Dziurosz, about the language of smell, and interviewed some of the hottest names in niche perfumery. The lastest episode is a vox-pop of perfumes people have been reaching for, and we love listening!

 

Molecast – The brilliant perfumer Geza Schoen and writer, Susan Irvine, are the hosts of this Escentric Molecules podcast, with Geza taking a deep dive in to the way he creates fragrances and Susan exploring the wider world of fragrance terms and techniques. This episodes looks at notes ‘from the stinky to sublime‘…

 

 

Outspoken Beauty – Host, Nicola Bonn, dedicates this episode to her ‘favourite fragrance of all time’: the iconic Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady. Hearing from the perfumer, Dominique Ropion, himself, plus a plethora of celebrity fans, like Val Garland and Nicola Chapman, say why they’re similarly obsessed. Our fragrant friend Odette Toilette also adds her knowledge, and this beautifully produced documentary is an absolute treat of an olfactory ode.

 

Fume Chat – We’ve been fans of this down-to-earth and chatty ppodcast since it began, and now we’re up to Season 3 if you can believe it! Co-hosts,fFragrance expert & consultant, Nick Gilbert and blogger & writer, Thomas Dunckley (aka The Candy Perfume Boy) use this latest episoide to take the lid off Playful Perfumery using ‘novel accords’. It’s always such a pleasure to tune in – they’re great friends as well as colleagues, and it really shows.

 

Dressed: The History of Fashion – Though they normally focus on fashion, obvs, in this special episoide, the historiuan and museum curator hosts, Cassidy Zachary and April Calahan, invite author and illustrator Jessica Roux ‘to discuss how the Victorians used the symbolism of flowers as a means of communication.’ Fascinating stuff, and of course we immediately pre-ordered a copy of Jessica’s stunning looking book, Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers (which we’ll review for our ever-growing Fragrant Reads section, never fear!)

 

 

Want to add even more perfume-related listening to your podcast list? Here’s the previous five fragrance podcasts we listened to, and then even more to peruse when you’ve finished those…

By Suzy Nightingale

Vintage perfume posters (to purchase & swoon over…)

Vintage perfume posters are currently making us consider papering entire rooms with them, and these are particularly swoon-worthy versions…

In these uncertain times, sales of classic fragrances are, appparently soaring.

And no wonder. We’re crying out for a bit of soothing scented nostalgia to wallow in, and so although actual vintage versions of these fragrances would set you back a pretty penny (well-preserved bottles and rare examples can go for anything from a couple of hundred quid to several hundred thousand!) it’s rather tempting to purchase several of these gorgeous advertising poster prints, non?

 

Ahoy! Recognise the shape of the bottle this sailor’s snuggling up to in the Schiaparelli Perfumes1945 ‘Shocking Sailor’ image by artist Marcel Vertès?

 

The HP Prints website we came across has THOUSANDS to choose from when you type ‘perfume’ as a key-word search (which we spend most of the day doing online, tbh…)

But where to begin?!

 

Bourjois 1944 Mais Oui, Leonard. ‘Frankly flirtatious’? We’ll take the largest bottle you have, thank you.

 

Well, we’ve picked some favourites for you – each of which can be purchased as a print (if in stock) or, for a fee, downloaded as a high quality image file to use as you please, sans the watermarks of course.

 

Guerlain (Perfumes) 1959 J. Charnotet, Mitsouko. Would v much like a cutting from this tree, please.

 

We’re thinking ahead to (shhh!) Christmas, and birthday presents, or perhaps just to send to fragrance-loving friends we can’t meet up with right now. As well as, you know, papering every wall we can find…

 

Nina Ricci (Perfumes) 1971 L’Air du Temps (Version B). Such a classic – and a first scent love for so many.

 

Le Galion (Perfumes) 1959 Lily of the Valley, Lovers, Maurel. Stunning, and slightly sinister fairytale-esque: we approve.

 

Elizabeth Arden (Perfumes) 1941 It’s You. (We wish it was – say yes to that dress!)

 

By Suzy Nightingale

Floral Instagrammers we love to follow…

Floral Instagrammers are on the rise – and no wonder, with all of us desperately seeking solace in gardens (if we’re lucky enough to have them) and open spaces, of late. Scroll down for some of the *most* exquisite flower-filled feeds we love to follow, and think you will, too…

Once upon a time, Instagram seemed full of pictures of avocado toast and cats, but it’s the floral Instagrammers really making it their own, right now. If you search for the hashtag #garden, it currently has over 56.4m posts attributed to it, while #flowers has 190m. And there are so many more, similarly floral-themed hashtags, each with several million posts (and counting).

So why are we seeing such a floral show on Instagram (and oither social media) right now? Well, it’s been proven that even looking at pictures of nature and open spaces can dramatically lower your blood pressure and improve your mental health. But more than that, we think people are just craving nice things to focus on for a while each day. We certainly are!

 

 

That’s why we devoted our latest issue of The Scented Letter magazine to all things bright and beautiful, inviting you to Step In To the Garden and explore with us, which you can do for free online if you’re a VIP, or in print if you want a glossy, gorgeous magazine to sit in your own garden with.

Meanwhile, here are just a handful of the brilliant floral Instagrammers we follow, and if you scroll through their feeds you’ll see exactly why we’re so in love…

 

@cultivatedbychristin
Christin Geall is enormously talented and here shares her beguiling ideas on design, nature, culture, horticulture. The kind of floral feed that makes you want to immediately dance barefoot into a meadow and turns floral arrangements into a pure art form.

 

@cnliziqi
These stunning (and so relaxing) IGTV films follow Li Ziqi’s adventures as she strolls through flower-filled meadows, picking blossoms to cook with, to arrange into stunning, so-simple floral arrangements, and even make her own floral hydrolates with a copper still in her garden.

 

@honeysuckle_and_hilda
A florist, writer and brilliant teacher based in Oxfordshire, Claire Victoria Bowen taught our own Co-Founder, Jo Fairley, how to create the most beautiful (yet seemingly effortless) bouquets. Truly inspirational, you’ll never look at your plants in the same way: here, everything in the garden is beautiful.

 

@goldfinchelson
Looking for all the world as though you’ve stumbled across some undiscovered Vermeer paintings, the work of artist and photographer Tracy Goldfinch Elson is filled with ethereal light, love and touches of great humour. We’re regularly stopped in our tracks by their other-worldly beauty.

 

@kristengvy
Head judge on the Netflix series, The Big Flower Fight (which we’ve binge-watched with joy), named one of the world’s top florists by Harpers Bazzar; Kristen Griffith VanderYacht’s feed is filled with the exuberance and artistry he’s become (rightly) famed for.

 

@swallowsanddamsons
A patchwork quilt of quintessence, Sheffield-based florist Anna Potter’s account is a glory of colour and style, featuring just the kind of artfully rumpled and ‘undone’ arrangements we favour, and providing a wealth of inspiration to brighten up your every day. How we revel in it.

 


@her_dark_materials
Cotswold-based Ros is one of those photographers who conjures magic from every subject she turns her camera to. From gorgeously swooning bouquets to simply capturing the cracking of an egg or pasta drying, draped nonchalantly over the back of a chair: flowers seem to glow in the gloom for her.

 

@tangleandthyme
A floral design studio, eco-florist (with gift subscriptions available) and cutting garden in North Essex, we marvel at the skill of show here – and how much fun they seem to be having! Also, absolutely any feed showing donkeys (and humans) wearing floral crowns gets our vote. Instantly smile-inducing!

 

@jamjar_flowers
A riot of colour and creativity, Jam Jar Flowers create the most jaw-dropping floral instillations, seasonal floral arran gements and dress gorgeously glam events. We dream of re-creating their coloured glass bottle-filled window (though kind of dread the dusting, so might just gaze in wonder, instead…)

 

@my_botanical_heart
Dianna Jazwinski is a professional garden photographer based in Sussex, and oh my gosh, her work is laden with the kind of imagery that makes our faces turn into the heart-eyed emoji. Ravishingly laid out and perfectly captured, flowers look so perfect in her hands you’d swear they were crafted by angels.

 

@everdandysilverfox
Alex Musgrave combines two of our favourite things – lovely reviews of fragrances, often thoughtfully themed around poetry and art, and simply beautiful pictures of flowers in various settings. Our favouites are those captured as they become blowsily over-bloomed. Always a treat to read and see.

 

@commonfarmflowers
Delivering across the U.K. – ‘Our dream is that everybody should assume that they can buy exceptional quality, British grown flowers year round, that ‘grown not flown flowers’ should be the norm,’ say husband and wife team, flower farmer and author Georgie Newbery, and artist Fabrizio Bocca. Bravo!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Rook ‘Moments’ – the niche house encouraging creative togetherness

ROOK PERFUMES are the perfect meeting place between art and science – with more than a little rock ‘n roll in their DNA. Launched by a frontline doctor/actor (yes, really), Nadeem Crowe, who became enraptured with the world of perfumery,he’s now reaching out to other creatives and asking YOU to share your talents with the world…

‘No one could have expected coronavirus, nor could anyone expect the impact it would have on businesses worldwide,’ says Nadeem, ‘The creative industry is struggling, with projects put on hold and freelance designers, artists and creatives scampering for remaining work. The government support for the self employed has been a slow-burn leaving artists in a creative limbo with financial uncertainty.’

Nadeem has a unique position with insight in the medical and creative worlds, explaining that ‘I feel lucky to be a doctor in a time where people are isolated and struggling financially. I have a job and wonderful colleagues around me. Even if I do feel exposed, I realise I am in a very fortunate position as I watch friends I have shared the West End stage with lose their jobs and struggle to support themselves and their families.’

 

 

After a long discussion with famed British photographjer, Rankin, ‘who as a creative can relate to this situation as much as anyone, it was clear that what we could do was use this time of conflict to create a piece of art. A social statement.’ Nadeem and Rankin wanted to start an online movement – ‘a conversation to get these creatives talking’.

And so Rook Moments was born, ‘asking fellow creatives and people of the community to discuss who they are, what they are missing out on and the limitations corona is putting on their creativity and in some cases livelihood.’ From actors, to photographers, designers, and directors – they say that ‘these are stories that need to be heard…’ Asking fellow creatives to upload short videos of themselves, Nadeem urges, ‘Show us you talent or skill. Sing, dance, recite a monologue, play an instrument – do whatever drives you creatively!’

This isn’t a competition with some reality show judging panel – this is real life, a snapshot of creative people, inspired by fragrance or simply sharing whatever talent you have in a Rook Moment of your own, and for the love of art itself.

Some further suggestions, and instructions how to submit your videos, are available on the Rook Moments section of their website, but if you’re really seeking creative inspo, can we recommend you immerse yourself in the delights of the Rook Perfumes Discovery Set?

 

Rook Perfumes Discovery Set £15

Created by Nadeem to transport you via textural, intriguingly overlapping scent memories of verdant forests, drifts of incense, leathery birch-tar; fascinatingly visceral sensations of herb gardens and wet earth – we wonder where you’ll be taken, and urge you to share your own creative journey…

By Suzy Nightingale