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August 21 2014

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Olfactory Verve

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In a way, it was their sense of smell that brought Christiane Amanpour, Thom Browne, Derek Lam, and WSJ.‘s Deborah Needleman together last night. British fragrance house Jo Malone organized an intimate dinner party at Peels for fans of the brand that turned out to be a stimulating potpourri of editors, thread-makers, and interior designers—the sort of affair that had J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons sitting next to Malcolm Gladwell.

The upstairs room at Taavo Somer’s new East Village outpost didn’t smell like anything in particular. If it were Chris Benz’s studio, we learned, there would have been strong notes of mint and basil. “I have millions of scented candles,” the designer explained, “and I drive people crazy because I’m always like, ‘why aren’t the candles lit?’” Philip Crangi did him one better: “I have patchouli and sandalwood from this one incense factory in India that’s been making incense for, like, 800 years,” he said.

Just before tucking into his swordfish steak, Jonathan Adler (pictured, center, with Philip Crangi and Simon Doonan) mentioned that he’d written the bulk of his two upcoming books in rooms redolent of fresh tomato. The home-design maestro knows whereof he speaks, of course. “I’m a purveyor, and a member of the decorative fragrance community. We’re a very private community,” Adler deadpanned. “We gather and sniff.”

Photo: Mimi Ritzen Crawford / Courtesy of Jo Malone

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