As Victoria Beckham launches perfumes, beauty editor Sarah Halliwell discovers there’s a personal nature to the stories behind the scents. Here’s everything you need to know …
If you’ve ever tried anything from Victoria Beckham’s make-up line (her eyeliners are particularly excellent), you’ll be intrigued to know she is branching out into perfume. It’s not strictly the designer’s first venture into scent –?Beckham and her other half rolled out a few bottles with Coty back in 2006 (Intimately Beckham). But this is the first time she is doing it to her fashion-designer standards. And as someone in the position to cherry-pick perfumers to work with, it’s interesting that she’s chosen fabulous French perfumer Jérôme Épinette, master perfumer at the Robertet Group.
It’s really no surprise that his name was top of her list. A few years ago, Beckham declared her passion for Room Service by Vilhelm Parfumerie, a luxurious floral created in 2015 by the niche brand – the perfumer behind it was Épinette. You might have spotted Vilhelm’s distinctive sunshine-yellow packaging in Seagreen stores. Do go in and smell them – from Smoke Show and Mango Skin to Black Citrus, they are very distinctive (and have great names) – the kind of perfumes you smell once and fall for forever.
A new trio
Beckham clearly loves perfumes that pack a punch, and her new trio, presented in unfussy, flask-shaped bottles, cover a range of bases. She chatted through them to editors via Zoom back in June, as we smelled the sample bottles, emphasising the personal nature of the stories behind the scents.
First, Suite 302. The idea of Room Service clearly stuck with Beckham: Suite 302 is inspired by a favourite Parisian hotel room (in The Ritz, naturally). It echoes a few similar notes to the Vilhelm, with powdery violet, and then a smoky, earthy and warm base with toasted spices (a current hot note in perfume). Overall, it’s centred on “dressing-table flavours”, via the violet, musk and rich rose; there’s also black cherry in there (whereas Room Service goes with blackberry and mandarin). Épinette is so good at decadent notes like smoky tobacco, sexy leather notes and warm, toasted spices, and for me, this is the standout perfume of the three.
Portofino ’97 is all about sunshine and the sea, with salty notes and a sunny, marine feel. And who doesn’t want to dream of the Riviera right now, as we head into winter. The lingering notes are amber, patchouli, and vetiver.
And finally, San Ysidro Drive, named after the Californian home the Beckhams bought in 2007, is a modern take on a chypre, with bright fruit and flower notes, including rose and peony. It’s bright and sunny, with lasting amber, vanilla, saffron and wood.
The downside? While the sterling price is £200stg (which converts to €230), each eau de parfum is priced €270 (100ml). Available online at www.victoriabeckhambeauty.com. Photographs via Victoria Beckham Beauty.
High street need to know
If you love Épinette’s style, it’s worth knowing that you can access it for less. He is wonderfully prolific, and democratic. As well as many Byredo scents, including Bal d’Afrique and Slow Dance, and the previously mentioned Vilhelm scents, he has created scents for & Other Stories, such as Moroccan Tea, Sicilian Sunrise and Punk Bouquet, at €30 each. He has done a few for Zara, too; if you ever spot Vibrant Leather (from 2016) on the shelf, don’t miss it – it’s under €18. “Vibrant Leather is the balance between the pacific and romantic side of woody notes and the vitality and intensity of leather,” says Épinette.
The perfume has also worked on Little Flower with Chloe Sevigny, two scents for Ariana Grande, several Floral Street scents, and perfume oils for Arket –?you can currently get hold of all three for €24 at www.arket.com. I’m adding to basket right now …