For Stella McCartney fans already accustomed to spritzing the designer’s scents onto their wrists and neck, and into the air for the full-body twirl-and-douse move, the latest addition to the designer’s olfactory collection won’t disappoint. The new limited-edition Sheer Stella Summer fragrance includes the unmistakable rose essence from the original, with dashes of peony, effervescent green apple, frosted lemon, and an amber undertone to complete an intended “first warm day of summer” vibe. The new bottle design achieves a similar effect, especially when you hold it up to the light (see image at left). We’re pretty loyal to our signature scent: It’s a men’s cologne, and we’d share it with you, but then we’d have to kill you to preserve the secret that makes it signature. However, if catching wafts of Sheer Stella will, as promised, simulate incipient summer—the elusive season that still remains out of reach for New Yorkers—we might consider making the switch.
Attention, fragrance junkies looking for a way to get an olfactory fix this weekend: Henri Bendel has teamed up with Mandy Aftel to present a new exhibit dedicated to the collection and craft of the legendary natural perfumer. Living Perfume: The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel opens tomorrow at the Fifth Avenue retailer and is designed to be a historic and interactive journey through the materials and techniques exclusive to the creation of natural scents. Aftel, the author of three books on natural perfume, has been dubbed “the angel of alchemy” for her distinctive custom and private blends as well as her unique dedication to the evolution and preservation of natural perfumery as an art form. Her belief in the sense of smell as a way to reconnect with nature in our post-industrial society has informed her own line of fragrances, which will be on view alongside a collection of writings, rare books, bottles, and other ephemera that help tell the story of the ancient practice of blending natural essential oils. Apropos to the subject matter, the entire exhibit, which is the first of its kind in New York City, has been designed and installed using sustainable materials sourced in an eco-friendly way. The exhibit runs through May 11.
Four years ago, Parfums Givenchy introduced a fragrance concept of vintnerlike proportions. The idea was to mimic Champagne and wine production, creating a few select perfume vintages every year that highlighted essential floral oils from the exceptional harvest of one particular ingredient. This week, Demeter Fragrance Library aims to elaborate on this model with its new Vintage Naturals 2009 collection, a series that debuts tomorrow at Sephora stores nationwide. Rosebush, Geranium, Mimosa, Lavender, and Patchouli are the first notes to be showcased, although the continued strength of each crop will determine if they return for another round in 2010. Taking this familiar formula one step further, Demeter has put a green spin on its eaux de toilette, using 100 percent natural oils and an alcohol carrier that has been distilled from corn. Unlike their imbibable counterparts, however, these will probably not get better with age, so best to spritz liberally upon purchase.
With a spokesmodel gig for Louis Vuitton already under her belt, Uma Thurman is no stranger to the world of high-fashion modeling. This fall, she’ll add another French name to her resume: Parfums Givenchy. Joining the likes of Justin Timberlake and Liv Tyler, Thurman will be the French house’s newest face, fronting a women’s fragrance that’s “still under wraps,” according to WWD. As big Uma fans, we hope she gets a classic, gourmand scent—and that the visuals are completely devoid of “urban cowboy hats.” (Why did they do that to you, Liv?!)
Known for fragrance combining, Jo Malone has introduced a pair of complementary scents in homage to Kohdo, the ancient Japanese art of incense appreciation. The driving force behind the tradition is the idea that specific emotions are influenced by specific scents, so the blend of ingredients in each fragrance becomes important as each individual note is purposefully designed to evoke a specific response. The cologne, candle, bath oil, and shower gel in the Lotus Blossom and Water Lily range are thus intended to be sort of like uppers—stimulants good for daytime use—insofar as the combination of mandarin, sacred lotus blossom, bamboo, and aloeswood allegedly promotes energy, confidence, and focus. The corresponding set of Dark Amber and Ginger Lily products—which includes a luxurious bath soak rather than a shower gel—is designed to have something of a tranquilizing effect, with essences of cardamom, orchid, and kyara wood to ease the mind while encouraging relaxation. We’re on the fence about the real benefits of aromatherapy, but assuming Kohdo actually works, this seems like as good a way as any to wean yourself off any lingering prescription drug dependencies, which could spell good things for your body and—your wallet.