For the launch earlier this year of their so-sophisticated 1927 fragrance, Floris gathered together a curated group of guests to 89 Jermyn Street to celebrate the inspiration for the latest in their Fragrance Journal series, with two very special women discussing the rich and intertwined histories of fashion and fragrance… and we were thrilled to be present!
Scroll down to watch part of their fascinating conversation, and read our review of this stunning scent…
Dissecting nearly 100 years of social history in London, fashion historian, TV presenter and author Amber Butchart, former Vogue editor, author and journalist Alexandra Shulman, Floris Perfumery Director Edward Bodenham and Head of Marketing Alex Oprey explored how to bottle a moment in time. And now, Floris have released a video so you can watch along.
As part of their Fragrance Journals series, Floris created a very special time capsule, but exlained they wanted to make sure it smelled current and totally wearable for today – these are no museum pieces, but living homages to eras that have changed our world forever. The end of the 1920’s marked revolutionary new fashion movements, especially for women – cutting their hair short, smoking, dancing, partying all night and wearing loose-fitting, calf-length or shorter dresses that flirted with scandal.
Floris say: ‘The Fragrance Journals are a series of unique Eau de Parfums, capturing the heart and soul of London throughout the decades of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and most recently the 1920s.
Each fragrance weaves and knits its way through the fabric of a key moment, district, and culture of the time, bringing out a true reflection of a city which has the ability to both adapt to change, yet remain rooted in its identity. A love letter to London, its social fabric and its people.’
Read on for our fragrant review…
1927 kicks off with a swing as aldehydes burst like champagne bubbles into bergamot, and we can almost hear the giggles as cocktails are carried to the drawing room. Bright Young Things in barely-there bias-cut silks swing their pearls, violet, ylang ylang, narcissus and mimosa sashay their way to dancing on the tables – and an oakmoss-like, vanilla-musk base adds to sophisticated high-jinks. £140 for 100ml eau de parfum florislondon.com
Yves Saint Laurent was a ground-breaking designer who delighted in shaking up the mainstream, always in his stylish and undeniably sexy way, with this ethos effortlessly transferring from fashion to fine fragrance.
Producing several of the best-selling perfumes of all time, with stunning bottles that have become collectors items in their own right; not many fragrance houses can claim to have a founder who dared pose naked for his own fragrance advertising campaign, because ‘perfume is worn on the skin, so why hide the body…?’
It all began at the tender age of seven years old, when Yves Saint Laurent began designing clothes for his sister’s dolls, expressing a natural talent and indulging a dream of a career in the glamorous world of fashion design. A deacde later, and he’d enrolled on a graduate fashion course at college, winning both 1st and 3rd prize in the prestigious International Wool Design competition at only 18 years old. His talent was showcased to the world and a young Saint Laurent was offered the role of haute couture designer for the House of Dior. A dazzling debut, interrupted by a brief period of national service in the army, led Saint Laurent to opening his very own couture house, still aged just 21, and enabling him to truly express his fashion expertise.
1962 saw the dawn of the Yves Saint Laurent brand and his masterful couture creations for the rich and famous. But clothing was never the only way Yves Saint Laurent wanted to dress women – in 1964 he created his first fragrance, Y, a collaboration with perfumer Jean Amic. It was an olfactory expression of the elegance and luxury of his couture fashion – a fragrance tailored for the beautiful women he dressed. In its original packaging, the green chypre juice was housed in a bottle cut to reflect the silhouette of a woman’s head and shoulders. The letter ‘Y’ cleverly placed to represent the neckline on her dress.
In 1971 Yves Saint Laurent continued to shock when he launched his first fragrance for men, Pour Homme – posing nude for the visual, in stark representation of the values of the Yves Saint Laurent House, comfort and sophistication coupled with modernity and audacity. In the same year, he created a fragrance for the independent, free-spirited woman who shopped at his new boutique: Rive Gauche. At a time when fragrances were presented in classically feminine bottles, best stored on the dressing table at home, it was the first fragrance to be launched packaged in a tin can!
In 1977 Yves Saint Laurent wanted to glorify another facet of YSL femininity; sensuality and seductiveness – and women the world over were seduced by YSL’s Opium . An opulent swathe of oriental ambers and vanilla by perfumers Jean Amic and Jean-Louis Sieuzac, this audaciously-named fragrance sparked immediate controversy. As the scandal and the hype grew so did demand. Global press took straight to the newsstands to criticise Yves Saint Laurent’s determination to shock, but scandal only served to fuel desire; testers were stolen, posters were ripped down and stores sold out of stock in a matter of hours on the launch date.
Fast-forward to 2014, when the latest reinvention of the YSL woman was launched in the form of Black Opium, composed by four master perfumers (Marie Salamagne, Nathalie Lorson, Olivier Cresp and Honorine Blanc), with an overdose of black coffee accord to instantly invigorate the senses, contrasting with voluptuous white floral heart notes and a gourmand vanilla base.
The following year, Black Opium scooped Best New Fragrance for Women in the UK’s prestigious Fragrance Foundation Awards – and since then, the fragrance has acquired countless ‘collectors’, thrilled by limited editions and new ‘spins’ on this smouldering scent.
There are few people who’ve not owned and loved an Yves Saint Laurent fragrance, or who don’t have one of these – classics and modern must-haves alike – in their collection. We’d be hard-pushed to pick a favourite… so, we wonder, what would yours be? And while you’re pondering which perfume to choose, you can read all about their history in more detail on our page dedicated to Yves Saint Laurent…
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…
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy – little wonder he simply became known as ‘Givenchy.’ The esteemed couturier died on Saturday at the age of 91, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying that, ‘France has lost a master. A master of elegance, creation and invention, a master of his culture and ambassador of this spirit of liberty and audacity.’
Famed for dressing the most glamorous stars, from Audrey Hepburn and Princess Grace of Monaco to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, they were counted not only as clients, but friends and admirers of his exquisite work.
Indeed Givenchy was much admired, and it’s been noted that ‘it didn’t hurt’ he was blessed with strapping height (6ft 6) and elegant good looks along with his natural talent and quiet charm. Creator of the famous ‘little black dress’ his muse Hepburn would wear in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – his name became legendary in his own lifetime and (just like his fashions, perfumes and makeup) will echo through the ages.
As early as 1957, Givenchy was already creating fragrances – declaring them a woman’s ‘finishing touch’, when getting dressed. In 1958 – at a time when perfumes didn’t have ‘faces’ – he created a revolution by asking his friend Audrey Hepburn to be the star of the advertising campaign for L’Interdit: the very first time that a movie star had appeared in a perfume advertisement.
Our co-founder, Jo Fairley, had the pleasure of meeting the man himself, interviewing him at the launch of the first Givenchy makeup line in ’91, and recalls with a smile that ‘Hubert de Givenchy is probably the most charming and graceful man I’ve ever met.’
Today, within Givenchy‘s perfumed portfolio, you’ll find something for every fragrance-lover. The classic Véry Irrésistible, for instance – created by celebrated ‘noses’ Dominique Ropion, Carlos Benaïm and Sophie Labbé – was launched in 2003, showcased in what has become an iconic sculpted bottle. Then the feminine scent had its floral notes melded with vanilla in the Véry Irrésistible Eau de Parfum – and the rose elements played up in Véry Irrésistible L’Eau en Rose.
For further reading and to learn more about Hubert de Givenchy’s incredible life, turn to our page dedicated to Givenchy and in the meantime, we urge you to seek out one of the many fabulous fragrances and take a moment to appreciate his legacy…
Mischeviously irreverant Etat Libre d’Orange were the fragrance house megastar fashion designer Roland Mouret chose to collaborate with on his first fragrance – Une Amourette.
We went along to a private launch in Mouret’s flagship Mayfair boutique to find out more, and it’s every bit as fabulously naughty as you might hope…
It may not be the first fashion designer/fragrance house collaboration, but it’s definitely the only one we know of where the designer suggests spraying it between your thighs! Mouret explains: ‘A seductive fragrance – it’s a powerful scent that makes and leaves its mark as you move. You’ll want to wear it at the pulse point between your thighs and as you walk, cross your legs… the warmth and friction unleash an aroma that will capture your attention through the most primitive sense : smell.’
Well, we can’t say we followed this advice at the launch itself (a fragrance ritual probably best undertaken in the privacy of your bedroom, we feel) but it’s a rather compelling suggestion and we may have to try this for ourselves. Courtesans were well known for employing similar scent-seduction tactics in the 18th Century, so perhaps it’s about time we gave it a go. Roland Mouret say: ‘Infusing the sweet smell of neroli essence with traces of cardamom, this sensual fragrance opens with spicy notes of pink peppercorn, before revealing an earthy undertone of patchouli oil enriched with vanilla, that gives this fragrance a tantalising fin.’ Intrigued? Why not watch the man himself explain more, as Roland Mouret talks about working with Etat Libre d’Orange…
Talking to Roland at the launch, he went on to explain that he wanted Une Amourette to smell like ‘the scent of the other [your lover] on your skin…’ We may have blushed. But what a perfect juxtaposition – the mingling of two people’s warm skin, along with a Cologne and a decadent perfume, in one scent. Mouret also talked about the scent memories of his childhood, growing up in France, the smell of chic people mingling with voluptuous bouquets of flowers and drifts of incense from the churches he attended.
On the more usual pulse point to test perfumes – our eager wrists – then, here’s how it smells:
It begins like a lover’s caress, the sense of entangled sheets and warm skin, unmistakable carnality with indolic white flowers and roses scattered across the bed. Bone dry, the spices make their presense known immediately, with cardamom lingering throughout and a peachy succulence and creamy vanilla peeping above the naughtiness, somehow rendering them all the more provocative, like a glimpse of bare flesh beneath velvet coverings. A cool breeze of iris feels infused with a metallic shimmer, and the opoponax (incense) smooths the way insouciantly for an animalic dry-down of akigalawood that lasts the whole day through. Roland Mouret Une Amourette by Etat Libre d’Orange from £82 for 50ml eau de parfum
Buy it at rolandmouret.com
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Few contemporary fragrances have shaken up the scent world in quite the way Calvin Klein‘s Obsession did in 1985. Youthfully warm, spicy yet layered with waves of freshness, it evoked the heady joy of first love in a style that suggested to the under 30s – this is a perfume for YOU!
Celebrating the reinvention of this contemporary classic in the form of Calvin Klein’s Obsessed, the fragrance has been reinterpreted for both men and women, with a billowing softness of violet leaf, lavender and purple sage for her; grapefruit, pepper and cardamom for him. Both leave intriguing trails of vanilla-y ambrox in the dry-down that we can’t get enough of.
And what better true celebration for the new campaign than to dig through the archives and discover lost footage and the most dreamily beautiful shots of Kate Moss from the original? As Raf Simmons, Chief Creative Officer for Calvin Klein explains, ‘I suppose you could say we were obsessed by Obsession. If one thing summed up Calvin Klein for us visually, it was Mario Sorrenti’s Obsession campaign with Kate Moss. It lived in our heads for so many years and became a touchstone of sensuality… We thought about a scent that could reflect such an idea of memory and desire for today. Of male and female, of the memory of somebody else on your skin.’
A revealing interview with the equally ground-breaking photographer of Obsession, Mario Sorrenti, shows tenderness, passion and talent combined to make not only the scent itself, but the adversiting aesthetic for it, utterly iconic…
What was the creative process like for OBSESSION?
‘It was very natural and instinctive, just Kate and me going off and making pictures. I had a Bolex and my Pentax, and even though we were sent there to work, it felt like we were on vacation. It was personal and intimate.’
What was it like working with Kate at that time? How would you describe your relationship?
‘It was great. We were young and in love and I loved photographing her. When we did Obsession she was 18 and I was 20, just starting out in our lives with no pressure about anything. We were just going off and having fun.’
Why do you think Obsession became such an iconic campaign?
‘I have no idea! I don’t know why it became iconic, it just did. I didn’t really approach it with the intention of taking iconic pictures. We didn’t know what we were going to do. We were just going to make something intimate and beautiful and simple. Looking back, maybe it became iconic because it was honest.
All of a sudden people were going crazy about it. It became very controversial. Some loved it and others hated it. Maybe it was too personal for some. The ones that loved it were mostly our age. It was very intense.’
What is the concept for the Obsessed campaign?
‘It’s about revisiting those pictures and bringing them back as memories. There was a lot of material that hadn’t been used and had never been seen. Hours of 16mm footage. It’s about the old prints, that archive of work, going through old contact sheets, re-editing, discovering new images, you know, reliving that time and those photographs and films.’
How has your creative process changed from then to today?
‘It’s changed a lot. Well, I have more people helping me now—that’s amazing—and it’s much more focused. Back then it was very instinctive. I was still learning a lot about photography, you know, about the art and the craft of it. I was very naïve. I think today I’m much more aware of what I’m doing…’
Calvin Klein Obsessed for Women £35 for 30ml eau de parfum, Calvin Klein Obsessed for Men £45 for 75ml eau de toilette
Buy them at The Perfume Shop
Written by Suzy Nightingale
Imagine a room stacked with the most precious perfume bottles in the world – crystal flacons glinting and variously dipped in gold, lavished with gems, painstakingly enamelled or perhaps a revolving perfume carousel. Such visions are not merely scenes torn from Marie Antoinette’s diary; for once a year, perfume lovers, collectors and dealers from around the world gather to not only marvel at the impeccable selection, as you might in a museum’s display; but to bid on them and take them home….
Having fallen madly in the love with the extremely rare 1928 Parfums de Marcy, trompe l’oeil presentation “Le Bracelet Miraculeux,” – five scents disguised as an art deco bracelet [see above], which sold for $33,000 (a teeny bit out of our price range, sadly…) we knew they would be special – but these are above and beyond.
This year, the Perfume Bottles Auction will take place at 5pm on Friday, May 5th at the Hyatt Regency in Princeton, New Jersey. We’re aware many readers possibly wont be able to make it there in person, but we absolutely guarantee you’ll want to feast your eyes on the sumptuous bottles as we take a look at some of the highlights submitted thus far. The auction catalogue hasn’t even yet been printed, so we were thrilled they were kind enough to get in touch and ask if we’d like a sneak peek.
Well yes. Yes, we would.
The Perfume Bottles Auction is directed by Ken Leach; each year he seeks out the most desirable and unique perfume bottles. This highly prestigious event is the longest running specialty auction of perfume bottles worldwide, and takes place during the annual three-day extravaganza for perfume bottle lovers annual International Perfume Bottles Association convention with the field’s leading dealers featuring thousands of bottles and an internationally recognized auction.
The convention draws together collectors and dealers from around the world, and this year features 250 lots to tempt prospective bidders. Simply put, each item is fabulous and lust-worthy, so it’s hard to pick a favourite, but some of our choices to watch (or bid on, should the fancy take you!) are as follows:
This elaborate French 1820s Charles X Palais Royal perfume carousel made of gilt bronze mounted on an abalone shell with Baccarat cut crystal bottles is estimated to sell between $10,000 and $20,000.
Perfume bottle made by Baccarat in 1926. Made for perfumer Godet for the “Petite Fleur Bleue” fragrance. The crystal bottle is in the shape of a woman’s skirt, while the frost stopper with grey patina perfectly depicts a woman holding flowers. Estimated to sell between $5,000 and $6,000.
Perfume bottle “Gros Fruits” designed by Rene Lalique in 1919 and was available for purchase at Maison Lalique. The detail of plums on the bottle is molded in high relief and colored by grey patina. Estimated to sell between $10,000 to $15,000.
1920s Czechoslovakian “nude dauber” perfume bottle by Heinrich Hoffmann. The bottle is mounted on gilt metal
and decorated with faux jade crystal. The bottle is topped with a frosted
glass medusa medallion. Estimated to sell btw. $5,000-$7,000
UK based collectors and anyone enthralled by the world of fragrance bottle art will be glad to know here is also a UK branch of the organisation, and you can find out more about their activities at ipba-uk.co.uk
Ken Leach is currently accepting consignments for the 2017 auction to be held in Princeton, New Jersey.
Written by Suzy Nightingale
London-based artist Sarah Baker is fascinated in the cult of celebrity, depictions of glamour and the extravagent shoulder-pads-at-dawn dramas played out in American soap operas. Though Baker’s career has thus far mainly revolved around making her own films, in to this heady mix of art and film she wanted to weave another layer of storytelling – this time through the medium of scent.
Working with the prestigious Institute of Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, Sarah Baker began to develop her own perfume line, collaborating with renowned perfumers, with Baker overseeing production from her East London Studio and the four fragrances finally launching at a decadent art show/party in December. Says Baker, ‘Each perfume is inspired by luxurious fashion motifs that evoke lavish scenes; while gazing at the printed bottles and smelling the perfumes, one could, for instance, be instantaneously transported onto the deck of a yacht in the Mediterranean….’ Sarah Baker Perfumes take us on a journey from the fizzing ozonic freshness of grapefruit and hedoine’s cooling breeze in Greek Keys, to the frankincense, florals and castoreum ferocious animalic growl (underpinned by fuzzy fur) in Leopard. Taking a softer turn, we have milky musk, coconut, vanilla and an ambrox sexiness of bare skin glimpsed in Lace; finishing with the full-on smokiness of open fires, heather-strewn hills, leather, hops and tobacco of Tartan. An eclectic and genuinely evocative collection, the Greek Keys and Leopard were made by perfumer Ashley Eden Kessler; Lace and Tartan by 4160 Tuesdays very own Sarah McCartney. At once enlivening, challenging and comforting – they are all a true feast for the senses. Sarah Baker Perfumes are currently £60 for 50ml eau de parfum, and available at sarahbakerperfumes.com
The worlds of film, fashion and fragrance are set to collide this Saturday, with the showing of Baker’s 2013 film Impirioso – the story of a wealth and fame obsessed fashion heiress who murders her husband when he sells the family fashion business, in the style of an ultra-glam 80s mini tv series.
And vital news for fragrance fanatics – you’ll be able to smell all the perfumes following the film. Sarah Baker explains that, in fact, ‘…Impirioso is actually the artwork which inspired me to make perfumes. It’s not about perfumes at all, it’s about a woman who murders her husband (based on Patrizia Reggiani) . Instead of using Gucci documentary/biopic-style I created a fake fashion brand “Rocco Rosso” and with it the logo and costumes, hats, home wares. It inspired me to finally make a real product, I had always wanted to produce a perfume, and that’s when I started working with Saskia from Institute for Art and Olfaction.’
You can watch the trailer for the film by clicking here…
After the screening you’ll be guided across the road to Storefront – the installation where Baker’s perfumes are displayed, for smelling, wine and chats. It all sounds gloriously glamorous, and, even better – tickets for Impirioso are FREE, but booking is required. The Hat Factory Arts Centre,Luton Saturday 14 January 4.30pm
Trains run regularly from St Pancras Station and it’s a 1 min walk to the screening from Luton Station.
Written by Suzy Nightingale
The story of Alford & Hoff follows two athlete chums who met at college in America who happened to share a passion for scent and skin care – even though they were mercilessly teased for it in the locker roms – through their incarnation as business entrepreneurs and onto launching their own incredibly successful skin care, luxury fashion and accessories and now fragrance line. Barry Alford told us how their latest scent, No. 3, is ‘every day sexy’, and inspired by a unique (and rather bizarre!) industrial product. Intrigued? We certainly were, and wanted to know his five favourite scents, too. It soon became clear: Alford & Hoff are not your average fragrance house…
As Barry explained, ‘Alford & Hoff is basically a brand that’s about two buddies who were at college together and wanted to start their own gig. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, but we wanted to work together. Eventually we decided on a men’s skincare brand. I know that might seem unlikely, but we were the only two guys in our collegiate football team who were doing all the grooming and getting all the flack. As soon as I saw he had the same fragrances as me – I’m talking Drakkar and Farenheight, here – I knew I was going to be friends with him. I thought, finally, someone else who understands’
Super-savvy, they talked about starting a business together, but ‘…Jefferson [Hoff] went into the financial market on Wall Street. And when we gained success we were both spending more on our products – we just loved them. We still had these dreams of starting a business together, and knew it had to be something we were passionate about. Through my medical contacts I met a plastic surgeon and he helped us brand a male skincare line backed by his expertise and we got into Neiman Marcus on the back of that’
The male grooming market may have moved on in leaps and bounds these days, but Alford & Hoff were way ahead of their time, and that led them into the world of fragrance. ‘I think we were successful because we were two former athletes that were making it okay for guys to take care of themselves. We wanted to venture further and decided to launch a fragrance – which we were always so in to and still were! – and that became our Signature fragrance. It actually started to out perform our skincare line, and when in 2009 the economy crashed we decided to pull back and focus on that. It carried us through. We’ve done a lot of work but now are proud to say in many stores our fragrances are on the shelves next to Tom Ford and John Varvatos, not because of some borrowed glory off the back of another line, but because they’re great fragrances.’
Discussing the fact that for years, men have been under catered-for in fragrance, Barry agreed, saying he felt ‘guys are becoming way more sophisticated, they want more than just a sports splash, a deodorant or something their mom gave them, they want to choose it themselves and they’re hungry for knowledge! And the feedback we get is that more men are after fragrances that not everyone else is wearing. I mean let me give you some statistics. We’re in the top twenty five percent of fragrance brands in stores at the moment based on sales. That’s pretty major for a small, niche company like us!’
Choosing the right ‘nose’ is essential for any fragrance house, but Barry and Jefferson wanted someone they could have a really close working relationship with. ‘Rodrigo Flores-Roux has done all of our fragrances. We knew how good he was, that he’d worked on so many great brands, but didn’t choose him just for his reputation. We really hit it off, and to have that first fragrance be FiFi nominated in the first year just proved how well it worked! No. 2 was lighter and fresher I guess, perhaps more traditional, more towards the sportier end of the market. But this third one is something really different.’
You can say that again. Having sniffed it – a soaring medley of citrus that quickly deepens to something altogether deeper and sexier – we were astonished to hear that ‘…it’s inspired by days selling medical equipment. I know that sounds completely bizarre but please stay with me!’
‘I used to spend a lot of time in the operating room, consulting with surgeons during a procedure. 80% of my business was craniotomies, meaning I’d be working with neurosurgeons, and one product in particular was a cranial bone cement. And this putty, when you mix the sodium solution with the powder, it just makes the most beautiful smell. And everyone in every operating theatre I’ve ever been in says the same thing, for over ten years. “Oh my god I love the smell of this stuff!” I mean they gather ’round to smell it. So that’s what we tried to do with this fragrance – tied to metallics and aldehydes and a blend of vetivers’
‘Rodrigo got this bang on, first go. He delivered a masterpiece I think. I know he was just so inspired to be working from such a bizarre inspiration and it really triggered his creativity. I mean, I know industrial has been done in the niche world, but I don’t think anyone has done craniotomal cement before!’
Having learned of their unique inspirations and varied backgrounds, we could only guess that Barry’s five favourite smells (something we’re always intrigued to ask perfume people about) would be equally ecclectic. And we weren’t far wrong… 1. Gasoline – When my mom would go to pump gas I’d stick my head out the window of the car and love the smell! It does something to my throat, but I compare it to what they call the “drag” in fragrance. You know when you get this dry smell and just can’t stop inhaling? 2. Fresh cut grass – It reminds me of my football days, the peak of the season, being surrounded by people I love and having fun. 3. Halloween costumes straight from the packet – Another bizarre one, I know! But it’s just a fantastic smell, freshly unwrapped from the plastic. 4. Scotch tape – Its so unique and different, I’d recognise it anywhere and I guess those kinds of smells are comforting somehow. I think I have a really heightened sense of smell – I pick up on things others don’t. 5. The monsoon season in Arizona – When its rains in late summer after its been so hot in the desert. It’s unbelievable, and it’s sweet. I really want to use that in a fragrance. It’s gorgeous. I guess I’ll have to get Rodrigo out there to smell it for himself!
Alford & Hoff No. 3 £75 for 100ml eau de toilette
Exclusively at Harrods
Written by Suzy Nightingale
What do you think is top of the list of those “simple pleasures” that make people happy? Well, according to a survey BUPA carried out in 2015, a whopping 62% of the British public agreed that slipping into freshly cleaned sheets was their greatest instant mood-booster.
For the just-published Fashion & Fragrance edition of our magazine, The Scented Letter, we travelled to a network of laboratories in the heart of Holland to investigate the secretive world of scented laundry products, tracing the links between fabric conditioners and fine fragrance. Did you know that some of the world’s best perfumers have made detergents, scented your shampoo and kept you shower-fresh in deodorants as well as working on your favourite designer perfume..?
There’s no doubt about it, the smell of clean fabric is a sensorial joy – from hanging washing in a sunny garden to burying your nose in the sweater of a loved one – the slightly soapy, steamily clean, aldehedic-sparkle of a laundry scent is pretty much guaranteed to soothe the soul. The perfume world has ‘cottoned on’ and now you can spritz that sunshine-y happiness the whole day long. The Library of Fragrance always have their fingers on the pulse of creating wearable, layerable true-to-life scents evoking some of our all-time favourite smells, so of course they have a duo of sumptuously fresh fabric-scented Colognes that somehow manage to bottle not only the exact smell of clean laundry, but the ‘texture’ of the fabric itself. Genius!
‘This is simply the cleanest, most comfortable scent imaginable. Our Fresh Laundry fragrance captures that moment when just-washed bed sheets are pulled straight from the tumble dryer and you just can’t resist hugging them right up to your nose, and breathing in their warm aroma. As with those moments, this scent is like a reassuring hug that reminds you of home…’
The Library of Fragrance Fresh Laundy £15 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at Boots
The Library of Fragrance Clean Sheets £15 for 30ml Cologne
Buy it at Boots
Written by Suzy Nightingale
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