There are some scents that stick with you. For many it’s their grandmother’s perfume or their dad’s aftershave, but for me it’s shampoo. Am I particularly picky about haircare products? Absolutely not. In fact, I never pack pint-sized bottles when I travel, opting to use the hotel’s concoctions instead. I attribute this relative indifference to my childhood—my mother placed the utmost importance on investing in the best makeup, but whatever bottle was on sale at the grocery store was typically what I ended up using to wash my hair. It was only when I babysat that I got my hands on the good stuff: Biolage. I think those kids had the cleanest heads in America, as I would lather up their baby-fine strands in mountains of shampoo during their nightly bath. The fresh notes of forest leaves and lemon zest would linger on my skin long after the water went down the drain and the children were put to bed, leaving me to do my homework surrounded by a salon-like scent cloud.
With my babysitting days behind me and a career in beauty, I now stock my own bathroom with Biolage and inhale the fragrance on the regular (one of the pluses of being a bona fide grown-up). Even better: I can fill my entire apartment with this distinctive eau, as the brand has created a scented candle to accompany its kits of recently repackaged products infused with BioMatch technology (which takes inspiration from nature to solve problems like frizz and color fading). Going back in time never smelled so sweet.
See matrix.com for salon locations
Precious is a word with many meanings. It can signify something delicate or refined, fine or valuable, cherished or treasured. And when it comes to Mociun, the Brooklyn-born line of jewelry, ceramics, textiles, and other objets d’art, all of those definitions apply. Founded by designer Caitlin Mociun in 2006, the line has become especially recognized for its artful, unfussy approach to fine jewelry (think dainty, turquoise-encrusted bands and fine golden geometric earrings), and that same sensibility is apparent in her first foray into fragrance. Created in collaboration with beloved BK fragrance brand MCMC, Mociun (the scent) plucks inspiration from the designer’s recent trip to Sicily with the appealingly bitter neroli flower, the blend’s star. Coupled with white musk, amber, and petitgrain, the resulting eau has a fresh-laundry-clean kind of feel, a subtle brightness, and an underlying grace. And on the skin, it cuts as elegant a figure as Mociun’s precious pieces.
To spritz or not to spritz, that is the question.Style.com/Arabia critic and perfume industry legend Luca Turin reviews the latest fragrance launches and answers this age-old question.
Name: Balenciaga Florabotanica
Notes: Hemp, carnation, vetiver
Nomenclature: Ghostly floral
“It takes an Orwellian sense of mischief to name a fragrance as blatantly and as nonchalantly synthetic as this Florabotanica. But this is an interesting, even admirable piece of work. For a start, Florabotanica does not lack ambition: rather than going for the maudlin peony-on-the-cheap accord currently in favor, it boldly stakes out a big 3D chunk of olfactory space with brightly colored touches, leaving plenty of room in between. Florabotanica’s structure is the result of two successive phases of abstraction, one old, one recent. The old was the devising of the symphonic floral in which no single natural raw material stood out, and began over a hundred years ago with Houbigant’s Parfum Idéal. It gave us such marvels as, to name two bookends, Joy and the pre-reformulation Beyond Paradise. The second phase of abstraction was the recent decimation of all florals to creatures of pure chemistry rather than biological evolution. By now all reference to botany is lost, to the great joy of accountants and dermatologists, and the result is more akin to a floral print than to actual flowers. But there lie dowdy, trashy fragrances that our nose, from long practice, immediately ranks with bathroom air fresheners. Florabotanica manages to turn frumpy and cheap into frivolous and charming by doing to the floral what Philippe Starck did to upholstery when he took a Louis XVI chair, cast it as one piece of Lucite, and called it Ghost: bring forth something not particularly comfortable, but unquestionably witty and stylish.”
For another review from Turin’s bimonthly column, click here.
Brief history lesson: The story of eau de cologne dates back to the 16th century in Cologne, Germany, when a perfumer supposedly concocted a simple yet elegant blend of citrus notes combined with herbal ingredients. The formula wasn’t meant to be incredibly rich or powerful, but rather a subtle, even humble, mist of zest on the skin. And yet it turned out to be quite the olfactory hit—nothing short of insanely popular among European locals and travelers on holiday who often splashed it on like a refreshing tonic during the hazy summery months. Fast-forward to today and the allure of the classic, old-world citrus cologne hasn’t faded a bit. Indeed, the latest versions prove that no two are exactly alike, and that each rendering can produce a slightly different mood, thanks to the nuances of the botanicals used. Here, a thoughtful look at the newest twists on this summertime favorite. Click here to view the slideshow.
After burning Cire Trudon (specifically Solis Rex and Adb El Kader) in his atelier for years, Giambattista Valli joined forces with the historical candle company (once Napoleon’s official wax producer and supplier to the court of Louis XIV) in 2010 to craft his first bespoke bougie: Rose Poivrée. “When I was preparing to open my first store in Paris, I wanted to have my very own unique scent for the house of Valli. The idea was to blend two contrasting elements and find the equilibrium point. I chose a fresh, dewy rose—like those found in Le Petit Triannon at Versailles—and upon this delicate scent we added some ground black pepper from Tuscany. Rose Poivrée is a balance between Italy and France; it’s a spicy scent,” explained the designer. In honor of his recent boutique opening in Milan, a new Italian-inspired blend, Positano, was composed to set the mood. “Positano is like my Proust’s madeleine. White flowers, lemon, orange blossom—those are my scents. They are my heritage. I was born in the summertime, and they are the first scents I recall smelling,” he said. While Rose Poivrée was once a prized souvenir to bring home from the City of Light, this French favorite is now arriving stateside, along with Positano—especially good news for those of us on the show circuit, as these weighty candles add some serious bulk to already overstuffed luggage.
$95 each; visit ciretrudon.com for more information