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April 20 2014

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Alia Raza and Ezra Woods Join Forces to Craft a Unique Olfactory Story

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Régime des Fleurs Debut CollectionFilmmaker and producer Alia Raza and stylist Ezra Woods (who has worked with red-carpet darlings like Chloë Sevigny and Michelle Williams) teamed up to create a new line of perfumes: Régime des Fleurs. It’s not entirely a surprise: Many of Raza’s short videos are inspired by fragrance—take, for example, The Fragile White Blossoms Emit a Hypnotic Cascade of Tropical Perfume Whose Sweet Heady Odor Leaves Its Victim Intoxicated (starring Devendra Banhart, Kim Gordon, Margherita Missoni, and Sevigny). When she’s not behind a camera, Raza also prefers to express herself through scent over fashion, a quality she told T hasn’t made her popular among cab drivers. Woods also has roots in fragrance—he presented a perfume he crafted at LAX ART in Los Angeles in 2007, and his family was in the flower business (hence the reason Bel Époq, a “cold jungle floral,” was inspired by “gardenias impatiently waiting in a florist’s refrigerator”).

The collection currently consists of six scents divided into three tiers—The Lyrics, The Ballads, and The Epic—according to complexity. While Water/Wood in the lyrics line contains sixteen ingredients, Nymphaea Caerulea, the single epic eau, boasts eighty. The entire range, however, is laced with rare and precious elements, like genuine ambergris (a material produced in the digestive system of sperm whales that smells sweet and earthy over time), hyper-purified extractions of blue lotus, and sandalwood that has aged for at least ten years. One additive I find particularly intriguing—nontoxic UV dye—is found in Nitesurf (a scent described as an “orange blossom colliding with the beach”). This glowing eau was even incorporated into a sculpture by Max Hooper Schneider, an artist friend on the L.A. scene. And the stories behind each blend are almost as interesting as the olfactory compositions themselves: portraits of Deeda Blair’s apartment sparking the creation of Dove Grey, a teenage Marie Antoinette on a springtime tour across India serving as the starting point for Turquoise. “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Albert Einstein once said, and while Raza and Woods don’t have decades of experience in the vast world of perfumery, they aren’t short on fresh ideas.

The Lyrics, $95, The Ballads, $225, The Epic, $350; available in select retailers and online in July

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Photo: Melissa Manning/thelookpartnership.com

Byredo’s Newfound Flower Power

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Seven and a half years and twenty-odd fragrances after launching his hit brand, Byredo, Ben Gorham reckons he has finally conquered his fear of florals. “Most of my initial work was on woody accords and incense—I was really self-indulgent in that respect. I had a fear of florals because to me they were very traditional.” Then, about six years ago, he traveled to Jaipur, where he gave his cousin away at her wedding. The visual and symbolic importance of the flowers (as well as their fragrant effect) during that weeklong festivity changed his mind. Flowerhead, Byredo’s rendition of the garlands traditionally worn by Indian brides, was created in collaboration with perfumers Olivia Giacobetti and Jerome Epinette and is composed around three blooms: rose, wild sambac jasmine, and tuberose. “We tried to capture a true floral but still keep it modern and relevant so that it does not smell like florals of the past,” he explained—an approach that comes through in notes of Sicilian lemon, angelica seeds, and lingonberry. It’s a new dimension for Byredo, and it may just be a foreshadowing of what’s yet to come, which Gorham told Style.com may have nothing to do with scent.

$220; byredo.com

Photo: Courtesy of Byredo

Karl Lagerfeld Develops a New Lexicon and Sends Messages Through Scent

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Do you speak Lagerfeld? As of today you can quickly adopt the lingo via a new app: emotiKarl. Even better: It’s free and doesn’t involve learning French or the Kaiser’s native German. Naturally, fingerless gloves, a stiff white collar, and Choupette are all involved—allowing you to express your feelings via a series of thirty illustrated characters (my personal favorite being the Karl “grit face”). Lagerfeld has always been on the forefront of technology: He was inspired by digital codes for Spring 2014, and this season employed buzzing drones at Fendi to gain a fresh perspective on the clothes.

One tradition he’s sticking to, however, is fragrance. The twist? He never spritzes it on himself—not even his namesake blend for men (which boasts hints of lavender, apple, violet leaves, and sandalwood) or women (a floral composition that includes notes of peach and musk) launching today. He told Elle that he mists everything around him (towels, sheets, jeans, paper, etc.), but doesn’t actually apply either to skin. Then again, I’d never expect the norm from Lagerfeld—a man who makes even the most mundane task (like grocery shopping) a magical, unexpected experience.

Karl Lagerfeld Eau de Parfum for Women, $85, and Eau de Toilette for Men, $75; macys.com

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Photos: Karl Lagerfeld Fragrances

Pharrell Joins Forces With Comme des Garçons to Produce an Olfactory Hit

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Pharrell Performs Live In Brisbane

In other fragrance-related news, Pharrell is crafting a unisex eau dubbed Girl with Comme des Garçons. The scent marks the first collaboration between Rei Kawakubo and a musician (although it seems that the designer has an affinity for men in hats, recently launching a second perfume with milliner Stephen Jones). While the notes of the forthcoming composition (on shelves in September) have yet to be released, we imagine it will pair well with a plaid tux and Vivienne Westwood Worlds End Mountain chapeau.

Photo: Getty Images

Home, Sweet (Smelling) Home

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Now that fashion month has finally finished, you likely appreciate the little things in life a lot more—you know, opening your door without a hotel room key and storing clothes in your own dresser for a while. Returning to su casa is also that much more enjoyable when your surroundings have a welcoming air, no? That’s why we’d like to direct your attention to the fine interior fragrances of Rue de Marli. Inspired by the ancient art of master herbalists, the Montreal-based apothecary picks organic plants and herbs at their peak moment of harvest, to fully capture all their aromatic benefits, and then uses those ingredients as the basis for its well-edited line of skin- and bath-care. Its Scented Wax Tablets are particularly noteworthy. Crafted with a centuries-old technique, each slab is handmade with pure, organic soy wax and natural botanicals, and comes in two fragrant varieties: Bois Precieux, which combines pine, Italian cypress, and red sandalwood; and Citron de Vigne, featuring lemon, sweet orange, Sicilian mandarin, and grape-seed oil. The pretty ribbon tie allows you to hang the tablet on the doorknob to your bedroom—or any room, for that matter—to release its delicate perfume around you. And unlike a candle, you can leave this unattended and not worry about burning down the house. Conveniently, they’re sold in sets of two—did we mention they’re also brilliant tucked inside a suitcase? Mental note for when you travel next.

$24; stylevisa.com