I may be a bit behind on the Amouage-front, but I still cannot believe that the time has come (and now passed) for the house to launch their annual pair of fragrances. Last year’s duo, Fate Woman and Fate Man, were definitely a divisive pair, with some perfume lovers falling madly in love with the scents and others finding themselves not too impressed. My feelings were somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, seeing them as high quality outings, but perhaps not the most stimulating offerings from such a dynamic brand.
This year Amouage is launching Journey Woman and Journey Man, two perfumes inspired by “Shanghai deco, Chinese cinema and film noir” and for the first time, housed in striking two-tone bottles of rich red and gold. These new fragrances mark the end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative and as much as they smell like Amouage fragrances, they don’t appear to be as noticeably bold as the perfumes that have proceeded them.
Journey Woman and Journey Man mark a change in the Amouage aesthetic, not only with the two-toned bottles, but also with their fragrant signatures, both of which are unusual takes on the house’s staple oriental opulence. With this new duo, Amouage moves forward into unchartered territory, speaking in the language of subtlety and scenting the air with an understated sense of panache.
“Mirror Image” – féminin Pluriel & masculin Pluriel by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
“Perfume is not art.”
- Francis Kurkdjian
At the recent launch event for Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s latest duo of fragrances there was a lot of discussion around art and its relation to the world of perfume. Kurkdjian, who is ever a frank and fascinating speaker, asserted that perfume is not art because it is created to please consumers and where art is given a value by the market, perfume prices are set by their creators. This isn’t to say that Kurkdjian is belittling perfume by any means, in fact it seems that he takes a purely practical view of the subject, comparing his collection to an olfactory wardrobe, containing a plethora of pieces ranging from the everyday staple of the white T-Shirt (Aqua Universalis) to the more occasionally worn leather trousers (Absolue Pour le Soir).
Also at the event, Art Curator, Karine Giannamore spoke at length about what constitutes a masterpiece, piecing together simplicity, hard work, innovation and emotion, as the key ingredients that create a timeless work of art. Giannamore states that a masterpiece “has to be new [and] has to be original” but also must be “cemented in tradition”. This collision of the innovative and the traditional is exactly what Francis Kurkdjian has played with for his two new fragrances – féminin Pluriel and masculin Pluriel.
“What makes a work of art? A masterpiece? A Timeless work of art? Something so good or beautiful that it cannot be affected by changes in society or fashion.”
- Karine Giannamore
The Pluriel (Plural) duo has been created as a mirror image – two fragrances that perfectly capture the essence of femininity and masculinity, or as the brand puts it; “the eternal feminine and masculine.” With each fragrance, Kurkdjian takes a traditional theme and adds a contemporary twist to create a pair of perfumes that feel thoroughly modern and very much in keeping with his clear and radiant style. For féminin Pluriel and masculin Pluriel, Kurkdjian has crafted two new pieces for his olfactory wardrobe – two fragrant garments that are as modern, chic, timeless and elegant as anything a couturier could construct.
The Jimmy Choo Man Campaign Starring Kit Harrington and Photographed by Peter Lindbergh
British actor, Kit Harrington (he of Game of Thrones fame) is to be the face of Jimmy Choo’s debut masculine fragrance, ‘Jimmy Choo Man’ launching in August of 2014. The campaign, which covers the fragrance, autumn/winter collection and Carrera sunglasses collection, is shot by veteran fashion photographer, Peter Lindbergh and captures the interplay between Harrington and his female co-star in an “intense love affair”.
A behind the scenes look at the campaign and the fragrance can be found below the jump, but before that, let’s take a quick look at what the handsome Mr Jon Snow Mr Harrington has to say about his position as the first masculine spokes-face for the Jimmy Choo brand:
“It is incredibly exciting to work with a brand that is so highly regarded in fashion so it is a real honour to be the face of their campaign. The shoot was great fun and the location was stunning with panoramic views across LA and working with Peter was an amazing experience, he is such a talented photographer and gave great direction.”
It’s really heating up here in the Kingdom of the United. Friday was the hottest day of the year so far, with the mercury making its way up to a rather scorching 27ºC (that’s 80ºF to my American counterparts). I spent the day soaking up the sun at Wireless festival, enjoying the melodic tones of Pharrell Williams and the egotistical rants of Kanye West. Many people however, would have flocked to the coast to top up their Vitamin D levels on one of the countries many beaches.
I do love a good beach, but I must admit that I am not a fan of sunbathing – my short attention span makes sure of that (it’s so short, in fact, that it’s a miracle that I managed to make it to the end of that last sentance). Thankfully for me, Britain offers an array of coastlines ranging from the full-on seaside resorts, complete with candy floss, beach huts and donkey rides to the abandoned sand dunes of almost-forgotten beaches in the farthest corners of the country.
In this piece, I take a look at some of my favourite seaside perfumes. Fragrances that are evocative of the beach, whether that be the hot sands of an exotic getaway or the cold shingle of a British seaside town – there’s even a fragrance that conjures up the image of an alien landscape – a beach on the planet Venus. So pack your sunglasses and your bucket and spade, ’cause we’re going on a short summer holiday and a scented journey of the world’s smelliest beaches.
4160 Tuesdays is an exciting niche brand, there’s no denying it. Perfumer Sarah McCartney successfully blends British eccentricity, good-quality ingredients and unique accords to create perfumes that are unusual, fun and unsurprisingly, rather beautiful. It’s hard not to fall for the charm of a perfume brand that is founded on the principle of not-wasting away one’s days and doing something different with those 4160 Tuesdays one has before reaching the ripe old age of 80 – I certainly have.
I therefore, could not resist an invitation to Sarah McCartney’s London studio this past weekend for ‘The Wall of Scent’, a regular event scheduled at 4160 Tuesdays HQ as an introduction to the world of perfume; it’s families, ingredients and masterpieces. It’s an informative day that allows one, no matter whether they’re an expert or a novice, to really get to grips with the way perfumes are made and some of the raw materials, whether natural or ‘synthetic’, that are used in making the perfumes one wears on a day-to-day basis.
Blue is the colour that is most likely to send perfume lovers into a fit of fragrant fear. It is, after all, the hue that is ultimately associated with thousands of dodgy aquatic and oceanic fragrances that populate the plentiful shelves of one’s local department stores. These scents sell by the bucket load and more often than not they play to the lowest common denominator, evoking a sense of cleanliness and not much else.
But that isn’t always the case and there are a number of notable occasions where a perfumer or brand has taken the idea of ‘blue’ and done something intriguing with it. One particular standout is Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s superlative OUD (a perfume that I officially refuse to stop banging on about because it is just so mighty good), an oud that is unlike no other and cast in a wonderful shade of cerulean. So yes, blue isn’t necessarily all bad.
For 2014 the houses of Lalique and Bentley are launching blue-themed flankers for two of their masculine fragrances. Lalique are presenting Hommage à l’Homme Voyageur, a follow-up to 2011’s Hommage à l’Homme and an ode to “the art of travel” inspired by the “sumptuous decor” designed by René Lalique for the luxurious liner – the Normandie. British car manufacturer, Bentley, on the other hand, are launching Bentley For Men Azure, a flanker to last year’s Bentley For Men that “appeals to sporty, smart and style conscious men.”
One of these blue masculines is a wonderfully crafted take on ashen spices, that feels utterly smart and luxurious (and has this blogger completely and utterly hooked, FYI) whereas the other isn’t much more than a typically cobalt execution of a fresh aquatic masculine with a hint of something salty-fresh for added measure. Have you guessed which is which yet?
Perfume Pic of the Week No.12: Ombre Indigo by Olfactive Studio
A while back I reviewed the entire Olfactive Studio collection for my column at Escentual. All-in-all I found the concept of photography-inspired perfume to be well executed (the bottles look fab and the whole idea is refreshingly un-gimmicky) resulting in five intriguing and nicely crafted fragrances that most definitely get two thumbs up from me, especially the incredibly unique Autoportrait.
This September Olfactive Studio will be adding a sixth perfume to the collection – ‘Ombre Indigo‘. The brand have recently debuted the scent at Esxence, Italy’s art fragrance fair and the juice is coloured in such an awe-inspiring shade of blue that I simply had to share it as this week’s perfume pic of the week. Just look at that colour, isn’t it just every kind of awesome?
So if you’re just recovering from Christmas Day and New Year (personally, I’m still trying to shed that darn turkey-weight) you’ll be shocked to know that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. That’s right, you blinked and missed January so now it’s time to think about showering that special someone in your life with lots of lovely gifts to say those important three words.
Of course you don’t have to give gifts to say “I love you” and you don’t need one special day in the year to do so – I for one try to make an effort to profess my undying adoration for my beau at least once a day (normally just after I’ve been served dinner). But if you’re looking for a little token for your love, then what better way to show your love than with the gift of perfume?
Roses are the traditional flower to gift on the day of Saint Valentine, so for my Escentual column this week I have pieced together a veritable bouquet of beautiful rose scents for you to give as lovely fragrant gifts. They range from the straight-up photorealistic rose to the hedonistic oriental rose via a brief stop at the raunchy bedroom rose. So, please click here to head on over to the Escentual blog and read ‘A Gift of Roses’.
For my Escentual column this week I was tasked with selecting some of my favourite ‘winter warmers’ for men and with the weather being as turbulent and dreadful as it is, I was definitely up for the challenge! My picks include; a new classic from Amouage, a wild card from Dior and a severely underrated scent from Jean Paul Gaultier – to name just a few.
So boys and girls (because, unsurprisingly, the list is pretty unisex), if you’re in the mood for some olfactory comfort blankets, head on over to Escentual by clicking the image above to read all about my favourite manly fragrances for winter. Don’t forget to tell me what winter warmers you’ll be rocking this season, too!
I’m finishing this week as I started with another Christmas post. For my Escentual column this week I thought about the colours of the festive season (red, green and gold) and perfumes that captured these hues in unique ways that were in keeping with the spirit of the yuletide season. These 6 perfumes represent all that is Christmas from the rouge of winter spices to the golden gleam of bejeweled gifts. Please click on the image above to read.
I’ll be back next week with one or two more reviews and the 2013 edition of ‘The Candies’ – my annual perfume awards.