17 posts tagged "Perfume"
Beauty Nostalgia is a column on Beauty Counter in which we ask influencers, tastemakers, and some of our favorite industry experts to wax poetic on the sticks, salves, and sprays that helped shape who they are today.
The Pro: Alex Chantecaille, vice president of sales for Chantecaille Beauté
The Product: “That little black bottle of Fracas by Robert Piguet brings back memories for me. My mother had the original concentrate from Paris on her bathroom vanity. I recall her telling me it was the most [potent] of all perfumes—pure tuberose. I think a miniature flacon of it sold for the astronomical price of $100; to an 8-year-old that sounded like a million dollars. I would always open the fragrance’s pearl-like topper very gingerly, dabbing only a small amount on my wrists or behind my ears. That felt endlessly more [glamorous] and feminine than an overwhelming spritz. Other times, I’d merely sniff it, breathing in the sweet aroma. Once, I fumbled and spilled the bottle in my mother’s sink, lacquering the bathroom with its exuberant scent. I felt as if I had dropped holy water! I think my mother kept the empty [flacon] for years afterward. It was a symbol of bygone elegance and awkward adolescence.”
Atkinsons, a 200-year-old fragrance brand that bloomed from a pot of modest mustache wax, was beloved by the original dandy, Beau Brummel (who created the precursor to the modern three-piece suit). This well-tailored man would introduce it to King George IV, who made the founder (James Atkinson) the official perfumer to the Royal Court of England in 1826. But despite its illustrious history, the headquarters at 24 Old Bond Street, in London, would eventually shutter.
Now, a French nose and Italian marketing guru are breathing new life into this classic U.K. label, launching five unisex scents stateside in Barneys—among them is British Bouquet, inspired by the dandy himself. Notes of lavender, myrtle, bitter orange, and caviar lemon are mixed with the blend’s signature leather accord (developed to mimic the smell of Brummel’s Hessian boots). I like to think the regent fashion star, known for his lengthy morning “toilette” (consisting of teeth brushing, bathing, and shaving—all practices considered to be too fastidious to complete every day for most men of his generation), would have gladly added this rich and refined spritz to his routine.
Available this winter, $175, www.barneys.com
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.
The pro: Yosh, perfumer and founder of Yosh fragrances.
The product: “When I was about eleven or twelve, I went on a family holiday to Hawaii and came across a beautiful perfume from Shiseido: Hana-Sumire. The bottle was frosted with very little decoration—only two small kanji characters in white. It fit perfectly in my hands and had a heart-like shape. The scent was light yet deep, ethereal, and familiar. I remember opening the bottle and having this experience of recognizing the aroma. I’m almost certain it had iris in it, and perhaps violet, and probably sandalwood. The scent is kind of a perfume holy grail for me. I haven’t been able to find it since. I’ve tried [to locate it] with bottle and perfume experts both in the U.S. and Japan. I even went to the Shiseido Corporate Museum in Tokyo to see if anyone knew anything about it! It’s an illusive, yet indelible, scent memory. I have yet to come across any raw materials worthy of creating an homage to this iris scent, although every now and again, I think I might try.”
It is reassuring to see that, among the recent surge of big-box retailers breaking ground in south Brooklyn (Uniqlo, Sephora, Intermix, and J.Crew among them), there is still room, and, perhaps more importantly, demand for the so-called little guy. Twisted Lily, the new niche fragrance boutique on Atlantic Avenue, may be small, but the selection is mighty indeed. No surprise, considering the perfume pedigrees of co-owners Eric Weiser and Stamatis Birsimijoglou. Prior to opening the elegant fragrance enclave this month, they ran the e-commerce site parfum1.com for twelve years, a destination for cult-favorite and hard-to-find scents. And they are continuing that legacy at Twisted Lily.
“We always strived with Parfum1 to have extremely excellent customer service, but the thing is that selling niche fragrance online is difficult,” said Weiser. “You can describe a fragrance to the best of your ability, but you can’t ever have that intimate one-on-one session with somebody to help them find the perfect scent, which is what we’re all about.”
The selection at Twisted Lily, while thoughtfully cultivated, is also vast, and according to Birsimijoglu, will continue to evolve as the pair discovers what customers respond to. There is a corner devoted to Brooklyn-born perfumes by D.S. & Durga, CB I hate Perfume, and Joya. And no good fragrance boutique would be complete without French imports like Serge Lutens, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Maison Dorin (fragrance house to the court of Versailles since 1780), and Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
Skincare is available courtesy of In Fiore, as well as an incredible selection of candles by Belle Fleur and Jardins d’Ecrivains (each inspired by a literary figure). Much to my delight, a number of brands, and, in turn, perfumes that many shoppers will likely be unfamiliar with also line the shelves. A few to take, er, note of: Lilt, a singular, fresh green by Rouge Bunny Rouge (the store will soon carry their cosmetics); Finisterre, a lovely fusion of earth and sea with the slightest hint of fennel, by Maria Candida Gentile, an Italian master blender and the only woman to ever earn the title of maître parfumeur; Patchouli Intense, a warm, impossibly elegant take on the oft-maligned ingredient by Parfums de Nicolai—whose perfumer happens to bear ties to the storied Guerlain fragrance family and the title of archivist to the world’s only scent archive in Versailles; and Jeke, a remarkable smoky, campfire-y melding of tobacco, bezoin, patchouli, Lapsang souchong, vanilla, and clove by eclectic, Portland-based perfumer Slumberhouse. “Because of our olfactive memory, people are often going to remember you based on your scent,” says Weiser. “And you get to choose that personal scent soundtrack or fragrance aura; you get to choose how you want people to remember you.”
Twisted Lily, 360 Atlantic Avenue, between Hoyt and Bond Streets, Brooklyn, N.Y. (347) 529-4681; www.twistedlily.com