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July 28 2014

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3 posts tagged "IFF"

The Fast And The Fragrant

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In New York, we’re quite accustomed to things moving quickly—coffee lines, wireless connections, pedestrian foot traffic. But what about smelling fast? Such was the goal at yesterday’s “speed-smelling” event, which was put on by International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF). The manufacturer behind some of the world’s most beloved scents, IFF’s intention was to showcase the talents of some of its scent stars while spotlighting many of its exclusive olfactory formulations. I’ve never speed-dated, but the concept seemed the same: meet for seven minutes with each of the company’s eight notable perfumers to explore the inspiration behind the scents they created for the occasion; pass judgment quickly; and figure out each one’s appeal while the clock is ticking. Seeing as how I have no problem making snap perfume decisions (Vivienne Westwood’s sadly discontinued Boudoir I adored upon first sniff; Thierry Mugler’s Angel I smelled once and never went back), here are my two favorite discoveries—complete with interesting notes (and the names of the noses behind them) to help you sleuth out your next signature scent. Carlos Benaim, whose résumé includes Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb, a selection of eaux for Prada, and Calvin Klein’s Euphoria—immediately won my heart. Inspired by a Moroccan dish called letuario, the perfumer looked to the flowers of the grapefruit tree for his flacon, which was sweet but not saccharine and succeeded at capturing both the bitterness and the sensual aroma of the blooms. Patchouli is a divisive aroma (I love it; others hate it), but Jean-Marc Chaillan’s 2011: A Patchouli Odyssey could convert even the most avowed haters. It has a lightness and airiness about it that shares little with its hippie predecessors. Celine Barel and Clement Gavarry’s scents weren’t for me (fragrance is, after all, an incredibly personal thing), but their concepts definitely deserve a shout-out here. Barel took cues from Brazilian street art for her perfume, Graffiti, aiming to draw something bright and pretty out of traditionally putrid notes (oxane and dimethyl sulfate). Gavarry’s heady, raw, smoldering blend of resins, myrrh, and sandalwood was inspired by, and named after, Burning Man. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be feeling quite as aromatic after he actually attends the week-long, sweaty, indoor-plumbing-less festival for the first time this year.

Photo: Getty Images

Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers Hit The Slopes

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As much as we may turn up our noses at certain celebrity fragrances, we are occasionally impressed with what stars—and their respective perfumers/licensing partners—can come up with. Gwen Stefani and Coty Prestige’s Harajuku Lovers collection in Love, Lil’ Angel, Music, Baby, and G are one such exception. The winner of the 2009 Fifi Awards Women’s Luxe Fragrance of the Year has both a cute and clever packaging concept and the expert touch of renowned noses from IFF, Givaudan, and Firmenich. It makes these kitschy dolls fun collector’s items that also smell great on the skin. With scents ranging from a fruity floral with a “lollipop” accord to a powdery musk, there’s something for everyone—incuding the fashion-obsessed. The flacons are impeccably designed to showcase the girls’ individual style leanings, and this season, Stefani’s brain children are back in limited-edition cold-weather gear. The Harajuku Lovers Snow Bunnies wear vintage color-blocked puffy jackets, bobby pins inspired by the Decora Girls in Tokyo, homespun striped cashmere sweaters, and Vivienne Westwood footwear, as the case may be. (Love, the girliest of the bunch, dons a pair of pink, mid-calf Velcro closure boots that are an exact replica of a similar pair designed by London’s resident punk progenitor.) They’re a great addition to the holiday product bounty that is beginning to hit shelves now, when we find ourselves tempted by beauty baubles more than ever.

Photo: Courtesy of Harajuku Lovers Fragrances

The Smell Of Studio 54, Revisited

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Disco queens, rejoice: As a natural follow-up to the relaunch of the iconic fashion brand, Halston the fragrance hits shelves this month. A contemporary adaptation of the original scent released in the 1970′s, the new Halston Woman was created by IFF’s Carlos Benaim, who just so happens to have spent his formative years training with Bernard Chant, the nose behind the première eau. Benaim’s interpretation features a feminine, floral update on Chant’s rich, woodsy juice using a rose bouquet and hints of marigold and jasmine petals to soften the fragrance’s first wafts. But its signature sensuality has gone unchanged, wrought with base notes of patchouli, sandalwood, and amber. Jewelry designer Elsa Peretti’s sculptural flacon also remains, although it’s been coated in a warm platinum finish to “reflect the fluidity of Halston’s fashions,” says the press release. Fittingly, to illustrate the seamless relationship between the brand’s fashion and beauty endeavors, Halston’s newly anointed creative director, Marios Schwab, will show a 2010 collection called Pure Metallic that is directly inspired by the perfume, reports WWD. In the meantime, grab your best slinky one-sleeved number and get in line at Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman, where the fragrance will make its exclusive stateside debut.

Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Arden