The LURE OF THE UNEXPECTED scent seduces Beauty Editor SARAH HALLIWELL
There’s a new mood in perfumery, and it captures the emphasis on authenticity and individuality that’s sweeping through fashion and beauty right now. “Consumers are increasingly wanting individual scents, something more unique. We’re finding that our customers are drawn to more distinctive scents with unusual but recognisable notes,” says Daniela Rinaldi, group commercial director at Harvey Nichols. Amid the vast choice in beauty halls, it’s niche fragrances – think Atelier Cologne and Francis Kurkdjian – that are standing out. “Fragrance layering is also becoming more popular with the rise of bespoke scent,” adds Rinaldi. So what are we wearing now, and what should we try next?
1. The new unisex
We certainly have a passion for scents that are powerful: strong and striking gourmand florals such as Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and Lancôme La Vie Est Belle dominate the mainstream; the top-selling Tom Ford fragrance in Ireland is no-holds-barred Black Orchid, while Jo Malone London’s is Pomegranate Noir. Yet we’re now seeing a shift towards scents that appeal to both sexes and a trend for so-called “masculine” scents targeted at women, using traditionally male elements such as herbs. Wear Chanel Boy, launched last month in the Exclusifs collection, with boyfriend jeans and a Breton top: it’s an aromatic scent inspired by the love of Chanel’s life, Boy Capel, with a traditionally male fougère (fern-like) accord based on lavender and rose geranium, and other aromatics like moss. Perfumer Olivier Polge’s aim was “to dive into men’s fragrance … and to show how well it could be worn by a woman.” Search out the unexpected.
The luxurious Premier Crus fine fragrance collection on the way from Maison Lancôme this autumn embraces the trend to great effect, too; Lavandes sees lavender – generally categorised as a note in men’s scents – warmed with vanilla, and a touch of rose. Tom Ford has been instrumental in popularising scents that strike chords with both men and women: as well as Black Orchid, Tom Ford Noir, Oud Wood and Noir Extreme are bestsellers: try combining these with something lighter like Venetian Bergamot. That mix of masculine and feminine is seen in our enduring passion for Jo Malone London Lime Basil & Mandarin and Wood Sage & Sea Salt Colognes. Midnight Black Tea is the most popular so far from the Rare Teas Collection, and it combines delicious vanilla absolute and labdanum (an amber-like resin) with rich tea notes. At Harvey Nichols, Atelier Cologne Santa Carmin, a woody oriental, and Escentric Molecules, both unisex, are among the most popular scents.
TRY: The Hermès bestseller in Ireland and the UK, Terre d’Hermès, a woody chypre with atmospheric flint and orange – it’s a bona fide classic. Smoky, woody incense Bois D’Encenses is the top Armani Privé choice for men, but we love wearing it too.
2. Summer loving
For holidays, we want to wear brighter, lighter scents, and exotic hints of lime, rum and coconut will whisk us away somewhere sunny even if the reality is less than exotic. Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess always transports, while Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, in its glam white bottle, is a cocktail of beachy, sunny delights. “As summer is approaching we are getting more and more requests for citrus and green compositions like Cologne Indélébile by Frederic Malle and Acqua Viva by Profumum Roma, with concentrated pure Calabrian lemon oil,” says Marija Aslimowska of Dublin’s perfume boutique Parfumarija; she has also had to re-order James Heeley’s fresh floral Chypre 21, several times.
TRY: Try OdeJo, flying off the shelves at Harvey Nichols, a subtle air of cucumber, lily and blue sea kelp. The intrigue is key, says co-founder Jo Levin: “I believe there’s a swing away from the blatant, towards something hidden that slowly reveals itself.”
3. Fine Romance
Romance is certainly not dead: we continue to have a taste for fabulous florals such as Rose D’Arabie, the bestselling Armani Privé scent. Dior’s top-selling fragrance in Ireland is J’Adore, representing 25 per cent of their business, while Coty’s is Chloé eau de parfum, ahead of even Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein. At Parfumarija, Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady is always in demand, as is Le Galion’s Sortilège, the fragrance once worn by Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly. “Classic scents are still very much in demand,” says Aslimowska. Indeed, Creed’s unashamedly romantic Love in White is the top female scent at Harvey Nichols.
TRY: Yves Saint Laurent’s new Mon Paris is a flamboyant floral, fruity chypre with bergamot and pear, peony and jasmine, patchouli and musks (from €60, at Brown Thomas nationwide).
4. Homegrown treasures
Launched in February, Waters + Wild perfumery is causing a stir way beyond its West Cork base. The traditionally-made scents celebrate local ingredients that sing of their origin, such as rosemary, lavender and gorse, in a sophisticated and classic way: Tuberose and Frankincense, Rose and Oud, and Cedarwood and Cognac. They are also a certified organic and chemical-free option. Love the ethos, and the smells. €95 each. www.watersandwild.com.
Unisex scents to make you stand out from the crowd
Amouage’s new Myths collection features an exotic oriental chrysanthemum, rose and vetiver blend for men, and green floral Myths Woman with narcissus, violet leaves and chrysanthemum. From €235, at Parfumarija.
The most chic take on scent to suit boys and girls simultaneously is Chanel Boy. Think lavender, rose, lemon and sandalwood for a beguiling feminine-masculine mix.
At Brown Thomas, €175.
Odejo is simply individual, from its minimalist bottle to its fresh notes, as refreshing as an ice-cold gin and tonic. If you love the intrigue of Escentrics Molecules, try this. €59, at Harvey Nichols.
This article appeared in a previous issue, for more features like this, don’t miss our September issue, out Saturday September 3.
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