The notion of a beauty company venturing into fragrance territory is nothing new. It seems like almost everyone has an eau (including nearly the entire Carter family—I’m calling it now: Blue Ivy is next). But for Clé de Peau Beauté, jumping on the bandwagon just wasn’t its style. It took a previously introduced skincare line (requiring twelve years of research) laced with a scent consumers wanted to wear all over, the thoroughbred of blooms (i.e., the winner of the Best Fragrance Award at the Bagatelle Rose Trials—essentially the Olympics of flowers), and famed perfumer Alberto Morillas (he’s the nose behind hits like Marc Jacobs Daisy and Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò for women) to create the brand’s first blend, Rose Synactif. Good things, as they say, take time—and, in this case, $300. The delicate aroma—which surrounds the prized rose and a jasmine sambac heart with juniper berry and Biarritz hypericum (an herbal plant that hails from France), as well as warm musk and white wood—is also said to “capture the skin’s aura…and draw radiance from within.” Although I can’t get on board with the glow-boosting claims, this sophisticated spritz certainly brightened my spirits.
“What if wearing perfume became a call for action?” was a question Gérald Ghislain, creator of Histoires de Parfums, proposed. To find an answer, he created 1,000 bottles of a unisex blend, Make Perfume Not War, featuring zingy fruits (like lemon, orange, grapefruit, and bergamot), fresh flowers (such as lilac, cyclamen, and freesia), and a base of warm vanilla, white musk, and tonka bean, that will raise $50,000 for children’s charities around the globe. And similar to how an eau adapts to its wearer, $50 from each flacon sold goes to the cause of your choice—whether it be to support the arts, education, health, play, or technology. Come November 20, Universal Children’s Day, an auction of the first and last fragrance in the series will take place at both the Histoires de Parfums flagship in Paris (where a pop-up installation is currently on display through December) and online to raise additional funds. Talk about the power of scent.
Like everything that Aerin Lauder does, her new fragrance wardrobe, comprising five bottles fitted with stone-like caps, blends her memories and storied traditions with modern design and timeless scents. Each eau is meant to transport the wearer on a journey, whether it be to the Hamptons via marine notes mixed with gardenia, the first flower Aerin fell head over heels for (Gardenia Rattan); a gala in the city, care of blackberry and cognac (Evening Rose); her country retreat, where a lilac bush blossoms every spring (Lilac Path); or a cozy night in front of the fireplace wrapped with creamy musk and a hint of benzoin (Amber Musk). My favorite, Ikat Jasmine, captures a more casual sensibility: The light honeysuckle, tuberose, jasmine sambac, and sandalwood wears like your go-to pair of jeans—crisp yet comforting. And, while most boxes bite the dust, you might be tempted to save these cartons that are infused with just as many personal touches as the flacons found inside them. The outer packaging of Ikat Jasmine is inspired by the blue and white floral wallpaper of her childhood bedroom (a color scheme beloved by her grandmother, Estée), and the large floral motif splashed across Amber Musk is a take on a French document found in famed textile company Lee Jofa’s archive. You might say each fragrance is like a time capsule, with the quintet serving as an olfactory album for the brand’s founder. At the same time, however, these scents steeped in heritage are decidedly unstuffy and indisputably fresh.
$110 each, www.aerin.com.
Treasure hunting at the drugstore is a favorite pastime of many a beauty fiend. And though the aisles have long been thoroughly pillaged for hair, skin, and makeup cheapies, a fragrance for the more discerning shopper often remains off the radar. Primarily because the selection usually leaves, well, much to be desired. Leave it to French drugstore giant Liérac to offer a glimmer of olfactory hope. Its latest addition to the Sensorielle collection (there is already an oil, body lotion, and scrub) is Eau Sensorielle, a hydrating fragrant body water. But this moisturizing eau bears little resemblance to those fruity, saccharine concoctions you might have favored in your tween years. A warm, inviting blend of three white flowers (gardenia, jasmine, and camellia) sprayed on right after a shower, it leaves a delicate scent trail while also hydrating the skin with the formula’s botanical glycerin. A double-duty drugstore find.
Liérac Paris Eau Sensorielle, $40, at select CVS, Walgreens, and Duane Reade locations.
Brooklyn boutique Catbird has long been known for its shelves stocked with delicate jewelry created by New York-based designers. The shop also launched its own line of six candles—two of which, Fig Leaf (with hints of white fig, dandelion, and cedar notes) and Tarot Deck (a smoky blend of Turkish rose and pencil shavings), quickly became favorites among hipsters and uptown ladies alike. With customers begging for a fragrance version to wear alongside their stacks of rose gold rings, a trio of solid perfumes comprised of coconut and soy wax was born. The two beloved scents can now be dabbed on pulse points, along with a new eau, Ghost Rose, that boasts a combo of English rose, champagne, and peony. I have a feeling the neighborhood will welcome these fresh faces with open arms.
$34 each, www.catbirdnyc.com