Every time a fragrance is discontinued, we hear the sound of breaking hearts.
But we’re seeing just the tiniest glimmers of a trend, whereby brands are looking to their archive to re-release ‘lost loves’. Frankly, it’s not a challenge for a perfume house: they have that formulation in the vault. It’s way less risky than pouring resources into a new launch. (Though we can look forward to plenty of those from Tom Ford in 2016.) But most importantly to us, it makes anyone who loved that perfume very, very happy indeed.
So: if Shanghai Lily was your signature scent, get yourself to Harrods Salon de Parfums, swiftly – where it’s returning as a global exclusive for a limited period of time. This fragrance is named after the character played by Marlene Dietrich in ‘Shanghai Express’ and as Tom Ford put it, ‘For Fleur de Chine, I imagined the romantic and mysterious woman from Asia’s cinematic past – from the 30s femme fatale in a cheongsam and dark lipstick to the 60s Hong Kong heroine of “In the Mood for Love”. I wanted to capture that fascinating, exquisite and slightly scandalous femininity.’
A grand floral in the great tradition, with notes of jasmine, tea rose, star magnolia, wisteria, white peach, vetiver, amber, benzoin, frankincense and vanilla, Shanghai Lily certainly bewitched the brilliant perfume writer Victoria Frolova, a.k.a. Bois de Jasmin. To quote: ‘I like my flowers with a twist’, went her review, ‘and Shanghai Lily is a white floral with a dark mood. The jasmine and tuberose are warmed up and cosseted with plenty of spices and dark resins, which is already interesting. But the best part is that nothing about Shanghai Lily is heavy or oppressive. Instead, it sparkles from its gingery top notes to the incense-accented dry-down.’
As she concludes: ‘Zesty and fiery at first, it becomes suave and velvety… All of its stages are equally interesting, and this is one of the reasons I enjoy this perfume. That it makes me dream of carved boxes, old movies and lilies in Renaissance painting is another…’
Sixth Floor, Harrods. Is it a date?