Avon Herstory celebrates Changing Faces charity

Avon has partnered with the UK’s leading charity for people with visible differences, Changing Faces, to launch Herstory – a fragrance celebrating women all over the world.

Five powerful and inspiring women with visible differences proudly feature in the Herstory beauty campaign. This reflects Avon’s commitment to Changing Faces, wanting to give everyone with a visible difference a #PledgetoBeSeen.

Avon explain that ‘The Herstory launch coincides with Face Equality Week (18-22nd May) a time to celebrate people with visible differences and to challenge people’s perceptions,’ and wonderfully, Avon will also be donating 50% of Herstory sales to Changing Faces ‘…which will go towards funding the charity’s Support and Information Line which offers advice for people with a visible difference.

Talking about why they wanted to highlight visual diversity, Avon say that ‘Representing the scent of inspiration for all women, Herstory commends the long lineage of women who have helped shape the present. It celebrates the experience of being a woman, opening the conversation for women to share their own authentic story of the past and present, whilst coming together to write the stories of the future.’

So we know the way this campaign looks is beautifully different to the Photoshopped and unrealistic images of many adverts, but what does Herstory smell like…?

 

 

‘The bold and modern Chypre represents today’s strong and modern women, recognising each unique and empowering story of women. Herstory is built by the passion of pink pepper, the boldness and sophistication of the iris, and the personality of the patchouli.

Pink pepper stands for passion, representing the energy and stamina to fight for your dreams.

Iris for courage: At the heart of Herstory is the noble Iris flower – the emblem of fine fragrance and symbolising wisdom, courage and feminine confidence.

Patchouli Prisma reveals personality: elegant and powerfully woody, it encourages a woman who writes her own story.’

Avon Herstory RRP £11 for 50ml eau de parfum – only £8 for a limited time, so snap them up now!

Changing Faces Ambassador and Avon model, Brenda, says: ‘Having alopecia and losing my hair left me feeling very out of place – I felt I had no control. Yet since I decided to embrace it, my confidence has rocketed.

Now I work with my hair loss rather than hide away from it. By working with Avon on the Herstory launch campaign, I hope to show others that we define what beauty is and being unique is something that should be celebrated.’

 

 

‘Avon understands that beauty can be very powerful and so it’s imperative that it’s inclusive too,’ says Stephen Rendu, Marketing Director at Avon. ‘We are very proud to be working with Changing Faces again and their ambassadors to launch Herstory and inspire women with visible differences to feel included and empowered.’

Smelling great and doing good at the same time? We applaud Avon and Changing Faces for this beautiful – in every sense of the word – fragrance and campaign, and urge you to try it for yourselves…

By Suzy Nightingale

Ostens’ colourful creativity

Ostens have burst into the olfactory world by offering a unique concept in perfumery: granting perfume-lovers not only the right to at last smell exquisite ingredients in their own right (something only industry insiders had access to), but to buy them off the shelf (previously unheard of!) or try them in eaux de parfum, composed by some of the world’s top perfumers, to perfectly showcase that main ingredient’s charms…

‘I love that it’s you we’re speaking to about how all this started,’ smiles Christopher Yu – Managing Director of United Perfumes, one of the world’s most prestigious fragrance distribution and development companies, and now, co-founder of exciting niche fragrance house, Ostens. ‘You were there, at that LMR event we did with The Perfume Society…’ he continues, referring to an afternoon in which we’d invited VIP Club Members along with renowned journalists to experience the mind-blowing beauty of Laboratoire Monique Rémy – one of the world’s leading producers of natural ingredients for the high-end perfume industry, part of IFF, International Flavors and Fragrance.

Laurent Delafon is the other guiding force behind Ostens – CEO of United Perfumes, long-term colleague and like-minded friend of Chris, together they came to the realisation that something needed to change within the fragrance industry, because consumers deserved something more.

Offering a direct line from supplier and perfumers to people who crave exquisite quality perfume – a unique concept – was the propelling force for Ostens, making heroes of the ingredients and getting people excited about smelling them, in splendid isolation and then used within completely differing interpretations as part of an eau de parfum.

Tapping in to the current hunger for transparency in the beauty industry, Ostens explain, ‘In an age where we all want to understand better about craftmanship and provenance, Ostens gives you access to ingredients previously unavailable to consumers. Our aim: to celebrate and bring access to ingredients which lie at the heart of so many perfumes and to create sensory wonderment, open to all.’

And what wonders there are to explore! Smelling their Rose Oil Isparta / £65 for 9ml perfume oil – the highest concentration available – is like diving head-first into a mountain of freshly plucked petals, the vibrant, fruity scent declared by none other than Dominique Ropion as ‘the highest existing quality of rose oil.’ Used within the Impression Rose Oil Isparta eau de parfum / £145 for 50ml eau de parfum, Ropion has swathed those petals with labdanum, patchouli and Cashmeran, offering a velvety lick of alluring darkness. Fancy ramping up the rose to its fullest possible potential? Simply layer with that Rose Oil – or any of their other oils – to add your own unique signature or change up the character acording to how you feel that day.

What’s more, the oils aren’t meant to only be used with Ostens products. Chris and Laurent are realists, and they know people don’t live like that – how deadly dull it would be if we only ever wore one brand. They actively want to encourage people to experiment using them with perfumes they already own, and to tell them what combinations they’ve found really work. Thrillingly for us perfume lovers, Ostens want an ongoing conversation with the person who buys their wares, asking them what they’d like to see and smell next, what, exactly, is missing from their fragrance life, rather than dictating ‘trends’.

Ostens currently have a pop-up space in London at 62 Blandford Street, W1U 7JD, where they’ll be in residence until 28th February 2019, and we cannot urge you enough to visit while you’re able. There’s a reason fragrance experts and journalists have been buzzing since the launch, with several highly respected people we know, commenting to us that this was their ‘launch of the year’ and ‘the most exciting things we’ve smelled for ages…’

In their space, Ostens showcase one of the Préparation oils (currently Rose Isparta) on a plinth, with colourful synaesthetic backdrops of artwork created by their internal Creative Director, Mark Wilkie*. Stepping inside you are bathed in a coloured light that further represents the interpretation of the fragrance, and it feels like walking into the very heart of the scent itself. Walking through to the back room, you are then able to smell all of the ingredients and Impressions (eaux de parfum), trying them on your skin, layering as you please or simply smelling and delighting in them alone.

The whole experience is joyously like being a kid in a sweet shop once again, and if you’re looking to re-ignite your passion for perfume, or to explore and appreciate the world through your sense of smell, this is most certainly the place you need to be…

Having followed their fragrant journey from the very beginning, I was so delighted to interview Chris and Laurent at length for my Ostens feature in the just-published Stardust issue of The Scented Letter Magazine; so do go and indulge your senses fully by reading all about Ostens’ fragrant universe – most certainly sprinkled with something magical – and then smelling for yourself what all the fuss is about by visiting the boutique?

If you’re a VIP Club Member, you can download the entire issue for free by logging in to your account. Print copies can be purchased here, and we also offer International Subscriptions on electronic versions, for only £20 for a full year.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

*[In The Scented Letter, we mistakenly attributed the Ostens artworks to another artist, Philippa Stanton. In fact Philippa was the artist for a gin company also featured, elsewhere, in the magazine, and the two sections were accidentally mixed up. We do apologise for this editorial mistake – and we swear we hadn’t been at the gin!]

Atelier Cologne – for autumn and beyond

Think Colognes are only for summer splashes and searing heatwaves? Atelier Cologne‘s deeper twists on the classic will make you think again…

Having enjoyed the hottest summer on record in England (joint hottest for UK overall since 1976), there’s no doubt we’ve all been reaching for those fresh fragrances to cool things down. The traditional Cologne is a thing of joy – but apart from the first splash, that joy could be fleeting, until Atelier Cologne took the best elements of the tradition and infused them with more complexity, depth and a hugely boosted lasting power.

This means we can enjoy all the benfits of their range well into the cooler months – good news for those already grieving the loss of summer and who perhaps need a spirit-reviving spritz before we get those opaque tights and cardis out of storage. Here’s our guide to five Atelier Cologne fragrances you should try for an olfactory change of seasons…

 

Top notes: Bergamot from Calabria, limette from Mexico, saffron from India

Heart notes: Sandalwood from New Caledonia, gaiac wood from India, white musk

Base notes: Papyrus from India, cedarwood from Texas, vanilla from Madagasca

Satisfyingly spicy without feeling too bundled-up already, the warm glow of saffron suffuses the zestiness of the opening like autumnal sunshine filtering through trees. Gorgeously layered woods with a wisp of soft musk and the tenderness of vanilla in the base feel like a late afternoon walk through the park.

Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin £160 for 100ml eau de parfum

 

Top notes: Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian mandarin, Guatemalan cardamom

Heart notes: rose oil, Indian tuberose, coffee

Base notes: Madagascan vanilla, cocoa pod

A unique blending of white floral and modern gourmand, the coffee really shines here, all toasty and delicious with a touch of cardamom and a swirl of milky vanilla and cocoa in the dry down. Think of those days it’s still warm enough to grab a coffee outside, chic people-watching while devoring pastries.

Atelier Cologne Cafe Tuberosa £115 for 100ml Cologne absolue

Top notes: green mandarin from Italy, Sicilian bergamot, tajetes from Egypt

Heart notes: orchid nigritella rubra, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, benzoin from Thailand

Base notes: cistus labdanum from Spain, amber, tonka bean from Brazil

A little tip-toe into snugglier scents, this amber benefits from the fresh breeziness of the green mandarin as a welcome change from your usual citrus. Gentle spices never feel dusty, bringing a sense of comfort to the richer notes, instead, and adding a real spring in your step as chillier weather sets in.

Atelier Cologne Ambre Nue £115 for 100ml Cologne absolue

Top notes: bergamot from Calabria, orange flower from Morocco, black pepper from Vietnam

Heart notes: iris from Morocco, lavender from Provence, rose centifolia from Grasse

Base notes: Gaiac wood from Central America, patchouli from Indonesia, white musk accord

Just the most whisper-soft embrace of cashmere-like fluffiness and a pretty bouquet proffered throughout the composition, imagine the sigh of contentment while wearing your favourite suede jacket and shopping at the flower market. The woody-musk base feels reassuring, a scented hug to last all day.

Atelier Cologne Iris Rebelle £165 for 100ml Cologne absolue
Exclusive to Selfridges

Top notes: bergamot from Calabria, ginger from China, Turkish rose essence

Heart notes: Turkish rose absolue, incense from Somalia, velvet oud accord

Base notes: patchouli from Indonesia, papyrus from India, benzoin from Laos

Those of you not yet ready to let go of your roses (and we count ourselves among you!) fear not – here’s an opulent plunge into the more sensual side that flower. We’re especially loving the textural richness added by a drift of incense and smooth oud accord, a fragrant trail you’ll love all day and after sunset.

Try Atelier Cologne at selfridges.com or in their stand-alone Covent Garden boutique.

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Chanel launch Coco Mademoiselle Intense

It’s rare for Chanel to release a new fragrance, so when we heard there was an intensified of Coco Mademoiselle launching, we were hoisting the flags. Ushered into their suave Bond Street showroom, we were taken through the fragrance journey and got ready to plunge into the deeper, darker and even more captivating version of the original…

Perfumer Oliver Polge has constructed his composition around a far higher proportion of patchouli leaves atop a richly resinous amber base, swirled through with toasty tonka bean and addictive vanilla in their absolute (strongest) form.

Lovers of the orginal need not fear – your dose of Sicilian orange and Calabrian bergamot is still there, as are the fullsome garlands of rose and jasmine in the heart. It’s a tribute to Polge’s mastery that each element can be identified, but the character is definitely more mysterious, wavering between the freshness and a mischeviously seductive trail that lingers all day.

While in the showroom – surrounded by balloons and a grand piano, no less! – we were honoured to be among the first to see the new advertising campaign, once again starring Keira Knightley (incredibly, the muse of the iconic perfume for more than a decade, now) who cavorts and pillow-fights her way through what looks like the best party ever. Embodying the spirit of Coco Mademoiselle Intense, the film shows Knightley effortlessly transitioning from sophisticated modernity to exuberantly playful – just as we feel while wearing it…

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Intense from £82 for 50ml eau de parfum

Buy it at chanel.com

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Cologne to Parfum: your easy guide to the strengths of scent

From Colognes to extraits, splashes to after shaves – there are so many differing types of fragrance categories now that it can be hard to tell one from another and where to begin. Read our handy guide, below, and get your nose in the know!
Descriptions like eau de toilette or eau de parfum are used to identify the strength or concentration of oil in a fragrance composition. These concentrations can vary from fragrance to fragrance (depending on how that particular brand like to blend their scents), but this is an average guide.

Extract/extrait/solid perfume – 20-30%

Perfume – 15-25 %

Eau de Parfum  (EDP) – 8-15%

Eau de Toilette (EDT) – 4-8%

Cologne (EDC) –  2-4%

Body cream/lotion –  3-4%

After Shave/Splash  – 2-4%

Soap – 2-4%

In general, the higher the percentage, the longer it will last on your skin, and therefore, the higher the price – but do be aware that different concentrations (Perfume, or Eau de Toilette, etc.) may sometimes have differing notes in them, and not simply be weaker or stronger. So when you like a fragrance, we suggest you explore it in all its different concentrations before you find your favourite…

Some people like to layer their scent types throughout the day – try starting with a refreshing splash of Cologne to get thoses senses revving, and then wear an eau de toilette for day time. As evening falls and you head out on the town, switch things up by adding a spritz of eau de parfum to leave a sultrier trail that will last as long your night does…
Is your nose twitching to find out more? See our brilliant FAQ section – there to answer your questions and set the scents out in plain English.
Written by Suzy Nightingale