Scent, more than any of the other senses, is linked to emotion—largely because olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system (i.e., the same part of the brain that is associated with feelings and memory). In this short film titled Sillage that appeared on Nowness.com, directors Santiago & Mauricio explore the meaning of this perfumery term, which is used to describe the trail of a fragrance. In the video, model Sigrid Agren runs and leaps like a gazelle in vintage Rodarte, leaving glitter and flower petals in her wake. Her seductive aroma causes male models to form en masse, wildly chasing her like a pack of lions clad in black leather. “Scent is one of the most powerful and primitive of senses, as it is directly connected to our inner animal,” explained the directors. This film, designed to look like a “moving human painting,” is so much sexier than the Axe effect.
Candles with origin stories of the far-flung fantasy variety always have a certain wooing ability with us, but so too do the ones inspired by one very specific (and very local) place—like the lovely smoky concoction Le Labo created for the Gramercy Park Hotel, or Whittemore House Salon’s peppery rose scent dreamt up by owners Larry Raspanti and Victoria Hunter. And now Shen, the Brooklyn boutique that has become a go-to for those with more under-the-radar beauty buying tendencies (think Uka nail oil, Amanda Lacey skincare, and RMS and Kjaer Weis makeup), adds a signature candle to its roster. Dubbed Cashmere, the vanilla, patchouli, and lime blend is as soft and warming as its name implies. “Typically my favorite candle is a very heady scent, but when I started thinking about what would represent Shen, it became about something that is clean, classic, and not too overpowering,” says cofounder Jessica Richards. “Timeless and unique, just like Shen.” The name and scent feel luxurious, and so too does the packaging—graphic designer Mark Farrow took his cues from Chanel’s signature black and white. And the candle can already boast one very well-heeled fan: It’s Gwyneth’s new favorite.
Fun fact: Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director, owns approximately 8,000 vinyl records. If you look at the house’s heritage and relationship to the music world, her extensive personal collection shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: Everyone from Rod Stewart and Eric Clapton to Beyoncé and Bruno Mars have donned the Italian label. The Fall 2014 collection that came down the runway today, however, was certainly more dolly bird than dark and dramatic rock goddess. There was plenty of leather involved, but it came in the form of swingy minidresses and flat Chelsea boots. Never fear, the brand hasn’t entirely abandoned its guitar-smashing spirit in favor of the London look: Launching this month is Gucci Guilty Stud, a limited-edition flacon emblazoned with—what else?—gold and silver studs (four hundred per bottle, to be precise). Inside, the oriental floral eau (Pour Femme) and spicy blend laced with patchouli, lavender, and lemon (Pour Homme) remain unchanged; it’s simply the exterior that’s received an edgy update. If you decide to swap out your black bomber jacket for a tailored, pastel peacoat (like the one worn by Kasia Struss in look nine), consider contrasting that piece of candy-colored perfection with a fragrance that boasts a bit more bite.
Gucci Guilty Stud Pour Femme, $80, Pour Homme, $88; sephora.com
The panther has been a symbol of Maison Cartier since Jeanne Toussaint, the director of jewelry in 1933, visited with clients in her private salon on the first floor of the rue de la Paix boutique. One could say she was the original (exotic) cat lady—wearing a tiger-fur coat, carrying a compact and cigarette striped in black and gold. “Although she was born before the first World War, she was independent and made her own decisions and choices, sometimes with sensuality, but also with a touch of aggressiveness, just like the panther,” explained Vincent Meylan, a specialist in “haute joaillerie.” Toussaint attended to the elite clientele, such as the Duchess of Windsor, Barbara Hutton, María Félix, Francine Weisweiller, and Daisy Fellowes—decking them in her Panthère baubles designed by Peter Lemarchand. The Duchess of Windsor was the first to wear the iconic Panthère clip—a yellow gold and black enamel feline crouching on a 90-carat emerald cabochon. And while we all can’t exactly wear that, we can indulge in Cartier’s latest olfactory gem: La Panthère, a “feral floral” composed of gardenia, musk, and chypre. The bottle, much like the French bijoux, is a work of art, featuring a cubist interpretation of the jungle animal encased in glass. It’s so exquisite that it might as well sit alongside the objects featured in the current Cartier exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, a section of which explores the history of the iconic panther (see the highlights in the video below). Model Erin Wasson serves as the face of the fragrance campaign lensed by Oscar-nominated director Sean Ellis and sports—what else—smoky cat-eyes. Even if you consider yourself a dog person, this feline-inspired spritz might just convert you to the other side.
$103; available in March at Cartier boutiques and select department stores
Many of us will be racking up frequent flyer miles this month as we make the journey between the four fashion cities. Arriving just in time to add some ambiance to your hotel room is Cire Trudon’s travel-size candles and room sprays. Some of the brand’s best-selling scents, such as Dada and La Marquise, are now available in portable, TSA-friendly form. The refillable, brushed-brass vial is spill-proof, and the candle residing in handblown glass is no dinky votive—this vegetable wax burns for up to thirty hours. That should get me through a long string of late nights.
Travel Room Spray, $78, Travel Candle, $55; ciretrudon.com