Oooh, I do love a good scarf and now that winter is finally bedding in, it’s the perfect opportunity to step out of the house wrapped within the warm confines of many a piece of neckwear. In fact, leaving the homestead isn’t particularly necessary (nor much fun in the cold) and I have been known to float around the house, scarf wrapped around neck, simply enjoying the fabulous warmth (and aesthetic) that it brings. I am, if anything, a bit of a poser, after all.
Scarves go incredibly well with fragrance and one of my favourite things to do is sniff a well worn scarf and try to identify the many perfumes that are imbued so deeply within the fibres. The truth is that, scarves may be a fashion item, but they also make wearing fragrance more pleasurable, due to the simple fact that they retain odour, as well as almost amplifying a fragrance so that it can be smelled at numerous intervals throughout the entire today.
In this piece, I’ve picked out some of my favourite scarves and paired them with matching fragrances. These pairings identify the synergies between the textures, colours and signatures of fragrances, and neckwear, but also take a look at some fragrances that simply smell great when lavishly sprayed on any old scarf. So, if you’re looking for a nice winter warmer of a fragrance to pair with your very best winter scarf, then read on, dear reader, read on.
As the mercury starts to drop below freezing, the neckwear becomes much chunkier. Out come the heavy duty knitwear and the shawl-size scarves that even the meanest of chills would have trouble penetrating. I love a good chunky scarf and a bold fragrance to match (let’s fave it, who doesn’t), both of which come together to fight the cold with their density, bright colours and many thick layers. These are the big ‘n’ chunky fragrances and scarves that are essential to survive the winter.
This winter I’m going to be rocking Tom Ford’s spicy and sexy Tobacco Vanille. This vanilla is chocked to the brim with cherry-like pipe tobacco and rich chai spices, so much so in fact that it surrounds the wearer in a dense cloud of spicy deliciousness that smells awesome rising up from a big, thick scarf. Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s beastly Absolue Pour le Soir is another ‘chunky knit’ scent that should be reserved for the deepest, darkest depths of winter. Rose, honey and civet make Absolue one animalic perfume that is almost too funky to bear, but not quite.
My silk skull scarf is my fail safe. It’s so wonderfully versatile that I can pair it with a smart work shirt and trousers, a leather jacket, or even a white t-shirt and jeans. It can also be worn in a million different ways – looped around the neck front of neck numerous times, simply draped around the back of the neck or tied like a snood – it is anything, if not multi-functional. It makes complete sense then, that this scarf would perfectly match the blue tones of my fail safe fragrance – OUD by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
OUD pairs shimmering and sparkling spices with an almost grey oud note that is plush, woody and smoky. Atop all of this there is lots of laundry musk and vibrant citrus to create a diffusive, unusual and entirely delicate aroma. In a similar vein to OUD, there is Lalique’s Hommage à l’Homme Voyageur, a fragrance that speaks of the deep cerulean colour of the ocean through the use of spices, resins and woods, rather than anything remotely aquatic or ozonic. Both fragrances are as light as silk and as fashion forward as perfumes can be.
Some of the best scarf scents are those that contain aldehydes. Aldehydes are those wonderful materials that, whilst smelling like high pitch citrus and snuffed-out candles in isolation, add lift, effervescence and volume to a fragrance, allowing all of the notes to be pushed up into the air like tiny dirigibles of scent. They’re pretty awesome and work really well when paired with a scarf as they cling on to fabric for dear life, allowing for scent to waft slowly up to one’s nose for hours and hours.
Right now, Yves Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche is my jam. Seriously, I can’t get enough of the stuff and it has soon become one of my favourite scarf scents. The crispness of the cool aldehydes and the sour, metallic powdery quality of Rive Gauche’s regal rose act as a wonderfully icy accompaniment to a golden scarf, making for a rather striking contrast. Of course, glitter doesn’t always have to be cold, nor does it need to be aldehydic, and for a golden, shimmering scarf scent with a bit more warmth, I always opt for Hermès’ topsy-turvy marine scent, Eau de Merveilles. Citrus, pale woods and ambergris come together here to give the impression of beautiful floating gold.
I’ve had the wool skull scarf in the above image for nearly 10 years and I love it, and wear it every winter. I love the darkly macabre feel of the skull motif and how it looks effotlessly high-fashion with a smart, tailored coat. This is a power scarf – a piece of neckwear that makes me feel confident, in charge and pretty swish, if I do say so myself. To me, this scarf represents luxury, quality and an image that is subvervise, cool and completely timeless.
One fashion-forward fragrance that is particularly scarf-worthy is Tralala, the masterful collaboration between Penhaligon’s, Meadham Kirchoff and Bertrand Duchaufour. Tralala is a whimsical blend of aldehydes (those fizzy molecules again), whisky, flowers and just about everything else that one can find hiding in the cupboard underneath the kitchen sink. Whimsical it may be, but Tralala is also just a little bit disconcerting, evoking the idea of the stoic smile of a clown, that can turn at any second. For a less dangerous, but darker take on the scarf scent, Thierry Mugler’s fascinating A Travers le Miroir, a masculine tuberose with anise facets, is also really hard to beat.
Images my own. Samples via Tom Ford, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Lalique, Hermès and Penhaligon’s. Bottles of Absolue Pour le Soir, Rive Gauche and A Travers le Miroir are my own.