We j’adore Dior – Designer of Dreams at the V&A

Perfume is the indispensible complement to the personality of women, the finishing touch on a dress.’ – Christian Dior

Showcasing couture gowns worn by Princess Margaret, Margot Fonteyn and Jennifer Lawrence, in Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, the V&A has opened the world’s largest exhibition ever staged in the UK on the House of Dior. We went to gawp at the gowns, and of course, to swoon at the scent bottles…

How telling that – amidst room after room of sumptuous designs and rainbow walls of vivid colours, unless one peered at the labels – it was practically impossible to accurately date the array of garments and accessories. And how welcome that so many iconic fragrances are displayed as part of the overall design aesthetic of Dior.

‘The exhibition highlights Christian Dior’s total design vision,’ explain the V&A, ‘encompassing garments, accessories and fragrances. Flowers are emblematic of the Couture house and have inspired silhouettes, embroidery and prints, but also the launch of Miss Dior in 1947, the first fragrance created alongside the very first show.’

Fragrance and fashion have always gone hand in (scented) glove, but never more so than with Dior. No designer has simultaneously launched a new brand new fashion line and a fragrance. It was an audacious act that marked their groundbreaking, breathtaking course to this very day.

Lined-up in cabinets, perched on plinths or variously housed within a stand resembling a miniature palace; the Dior fragrances are shown as being vital to the overall development of the house, and their continuing success shows how warmly we have clasped the scents to our (in our dreams) Dior-clad chests.

Arranged into eleven sections, the exhibition traces the skill and craftsmanship of the ateliers, along with highlighting many of the designers who have worked under the Dior banner, always pushing the boundaries while keeping an elegant insouciance that remained true to Dior’s ethos.

Noses pressed against the glass, oh how we would have loved to smell some of the originals – an impossible task at such a large exhibition, of course, but merely gazing at the original sketches for the bottles, a saved invitation from that orginal fashion and fragrance launch, and the most lust-worthy flaçons you’ll see all year – it’s enough to transport most of your senses. We advise wearing your favourite Dior fragrance and inhaling deeply as you get giddy with the glamour of it all…

Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams runs from now until 14th July 2019, with tickets from £20. All concessions £15.

We highly advise booking your tickets now, as a day after opening they were sold-out until April. Even so, believe us, it’s worth the wait.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

The mischievous world of Moschino

Some might argue there’s a tendency for some fragrance houses to take themselves a little too seriously at times, but that accusation could surely never be levelled at Moschino! From bottles shaped like cleaning products to ones resembling Popeye’s gal pal, Olive Oyl, here we take a little look at their irreverant style…

It’s Jeremy Scott we have to thank for bringing back the fun into fragrance. Creative Director for Moschino, he infuses each scent with his own cartoon-like and cheekily mischevious personality – that exuberant, larger-than-life character seen across his fashion and accessories line, carried directly through into the Moschino fragrances themselves.

Scott delights in turning conventions on their head, and thus we see burger brands proudly emblazoned in patterns on sweatshirts, huge badges of retro-style, imediately recognisable advertising logos raised up to become iconic emblems in the fashion world. It follows, then, that Scott is the chap responsible for putting fragrance in traning shoe shaped bottles, inside teddy bears and even cleaning fluid type containers that might look more at home under the kitchen sink than on your dressing table.

Which scents should you seek out, and are you even saying their name correctly?! Read on for our guide to Moschino…

– Moschino is pronounced ‘moss-keen-oh‘ (impress your friends who continue to say ‘mosh-sheen-oh’!) Listen to the clip, below, for further help…

– The brand was founded in 1983 by the late Franco Moschino (1950–1994), immediately standing out due to their eccentric, vibrant designs.

– Moschino is split into three sections: Moschino (Mens & Women’s fashions), Moschino Cheap and Chic (a sub-section of their womenswear), and Love Moschino (previously called Moschino Jeans). Fragrances are influenced by all three sectors.

– The first ever Moschino fragrance, Moschino For Women, was introduced in 1987 and since then there have been many iconic additions, including the latest Moschino Fresh Gold Couture (exclusive to The Perfume Shop), and the charmingly bonkers bottle of So Real Cheap and Chic Moschino.

– Moschino designed the outfits for the opening ceremony of the Turin 2006 Olympics.

– In October 2013, Jeremy Scott became Creative Director of Moschino, showing his first collection in the Autumn of 2014.

– 2014: the first time a teddy bear had masqueraded as a scent bottle. ‘I Am Not A Toy‘ perfume became an instant sell-out, drawing a queue which stretched round the Knightsbridge block. The bottle’s cuddly appearance belies the sophistication of what’s inside – but that element of surprise is typical of Moschino. You remove the teddy’s head to reveal the spray – and enjoy citrusy woody-floral top notes of juniper, mandarin, bergamot and spicy cardamom. Violet, hawthorn petals and lavender come together in its floral heart, and as the fragrance is skin-warmed, the base elements of cedarwood, sandalwood and vanilla beans develop a very huggable warmth.

Fresh Couture uplifts with zesty mandarin and bergamot, before a raspberry juiciness and rich ylang ylang accord sweep in, adding intrigue. Delicate notes of osmanthus and white peony give away to an inviting accord of cedarwood, ambrox and white patchouli, in the dry-down. If that’s not enough to make you smile, the advertising campaign featured legendary supermodel Linda Evangelista in the role of most glamorous cleaning lady, ever.

– Scott’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection for Moschino featured bags in the shape of traffic cones, with a dress like a giant yellow feather duster, while the Spring/Summer 2017 show was a life-size collection of paper doll clothes. Fabulous!

– Many people collect Moschino perfume bottles, including the mini sizes. We are thrilled to offer you THE cutest miniature size of Moschino Pink Fresh Couture in a dinky 5ml bottle as part of the The Travel Edition Discovery Box. Featuring zesty pink grapefruit with succulent blackcurrant, floral notes of lily of the Valley, pomegranate, rose and pink hyacinth float cheekily atop a softly musky base that begs to be nuzzled.

– Some of the world’s best perfumers have got their noses into Moschino fragrances over the years. The line-up is a vertiable Who’s Who, and includes… Olivier Polge, Alberto Morillas, Nathalie Lorson and Olivier Cresp.

– For their latest launch, Cheap & Chic So Real, Moschino have once again drawn on the cartoon character of Olive Oyl for inspiration – and this has to be the most bonkers of those bottles yet! Olive Oyl’s been travelling the world, collecting awards and attending select soirées, they explain, now ready to make her 2018 appearance in an exclusive Moschino dress designed by artistic director, Jeremy Scott. The fragrance inside’s as cheeky as her outfit: bright, bitter orange cooled with a kiss of raspberry, mandarin and blackcurrant sorbet, pink peony, jasmine petals and magnolia blossoms irresistibly tumbling to a soft woody base. Adorably bizarre, the bottle’s already being snapped up by collectors, we hear…

Moschino Cheap & Chic So Real £29.50 for 30ml
theperfumeshop.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Collectively obsessed with scent: you have to see this mega mini perfume collection!

Obsession isn’t just the name of a perfume – it’s a very good description of the fragrant madness that creeps in to every perfume collector’s life sooner or later. And there are many differing types… The completists – those who absolutely must have every single version of  particular scent; the vintage fans who insist on owning (and sometimes wearing, if they’re in good enough condition) history, bottled. Talking of bottles, perhaps the largest collecting community within the perfume world are those who fill their homes (and garages, and sheds) with particular types of flacon – from ultra rare examples that reach eye-watering prices to retro scents in charmingly bizarre shapes – for these collectors, the perfume itself is actually secondary: they’re alllll about the bottle.

For the latest edition of The Scented Letter magazine, we focused on the mysteriouly enticing world of collectors and their collections – and one of the main images we used was kindly supplied by a VIP Subsciber, Phoebe Tan, who happened to mention ‘Oh yeah, my mum collects minis. She has quite a few…’ For “quite a few” please see the featured photo, above, and you’ll understand why we just had to interview Phoebe’s mum, Lindsay Yeo, to find out more.

Lindsay: ‘I first became interested in perfume when I went shopping in a department store about 30 years ago. There was a promotional event for Lancôme where I did a questionnaire that proposed one of their perfumes to match my personality. The winning one was… Magie Noire. I really loved it. Before this, I used to hate perfumes because people around me wore very heavy fragrances (this was in the 70s). But this event made me discover that I just hadn’t found a perfume I truly liked! That same day I bought my first full size perfume which came with a miniature bottle that caught my eye…’

Once the fragrant bait has been taken, it’s a short step to full-on perfumista status, we’ve long known. And Lindsay mused how it was ‘…funny I still have the full size bottle long after it was emptied.’ Of course we had to know how many she had stashed, and Lindsay confessed: ‘I just went to count and I currently have close to 500 bottles (most of them are minis!). This is the first time I’ve counted and I am quite shocked, actually.’
When asked what set her on this miniature-perfume collecting path, Lindsay explained ‘I really only wanted to collect the miniatures so initially I would buy full-size bottles for the minis. The first few I bought were: Magie noire by Lancome, Paloma Picasso , Lou Lou, Anais Anais by Cacharel, Ysatis by Givenchy, Ruffles by Oscar De La Renta, Gucci No.3, Beyond Paradise by Estee Lauder. Years later I found shops that sold the minis on their own – without the need to buy the full-sizes – and that is how I started collecting. It’s kinder on the pocket!’

So what exactly does a collector look for in a bottle – what catches their eye and makes them think “I MUST have that!”? For Lindsay… ‘I look out for interesting designs. [NB: The “lighter” shaped bottle, above, is a particular favourite of Lindsay’s.] To me, perfume bottles are pieces of art! They are so beautiful. Miniatures are not easy to come by so I really treat them all as treasures.’

Phoebe Tan with her miniature-bottle collecting mum, Lindsay Yeo.

Clearly, the passion for perfume runs in the blood, as Phoebe Tan first became interested in chemistry and then – when she made the connection between science and the art of perfume – she was totally hooked. Now setting her heart on a career in fragrance, Phoebe has been studying (and is soon to graduate from) for her MSc Cosmetic Science’ at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. And having sniffed some of her “course work” examples, we’re pretty sure Phoebe’s own fragrances will be added to future collector’s scent stashes…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

For National Perfume Day, show off your ‘shelfies’ to The Perfume Shop… we’ve shown them ours, now let’s see yours!

In celebration of National Perfume Day on Thursday 14th April, The Perfume Shop are urging fragrance fans to show off their ‘shelfies’ – photos of their scent collections – by posting images on Twitter, mentioning @theperfumeshop and using the hashtag #wherewillittakeyou.

We know many of you have cabinets simply groaning with the weight of your collections (some of whom we feature in our #ShareMyStash section of our award-winning magazine, The Scented Letter!) or perhaps are begining to build up a more moderate, carefully curated perfume wardrobe and still want to show that off, too.

Well of course we wanted to get involved and took a snapshot of our very own in-office ‘shelfie’ to post them – something we add to and update constantly as we never know what mood our noses will be in on any given day. Fancy a sneak-peek? See below…

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Having shown you ours, we’d love to see what you share with them – and please do get in touch if you think we’d like to come and sniff out your very own scent collection – we’re always on the look out for more to feature in the magazine!

The Perfume Shop will be celebrating National Perfume Day with in store activities, a 10% discount in store all day and a fragrance giveaway for the best shelfie with the hashtag #wherewillittakeyou.

For more information, visit The Perfume Shop, on Twitter @ThePerfumeShop, or via their Scents blog.

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Written by Suzy Nightingale