Lalique is a name that is inextricably linked with quality, artistry and beauty. Their glassware is unrivalled, pairing sculptures from nature with more abstract visions to create a brand that is contemporary yet traditional. I’ve always seen their perfumes as hidden gems. In fact, the house of Lalique is probably better known for the flacons they have created for other fragrance companies, rather than their own perfumes. But Lalique’s fragrance collection is executed with a finesse and a paired-back simplicity that is refreshing in the fog-horn world of perfumery, where everyone is trying to shout each other down. Fragrances like Amethyst Éclat and Hommage à l’homme Voyageur, both flankers to other Lalique pillar fragrances, demonstrate familiar themes in unfamiliar guises, opting for long-lasting quality rather than ephemeral showmanship.
This year, the house of Lalique is taking their knack for artistry and spinning it into a brand new collection of six exclusive fragrances. Of course, anybody who’s anybody is doing an ‘exclusive collection’ of sorts nowadays, and one cannot blame Lalique for joining the fray (there’s a bundle of money in it). But how do their offerings compare with the likes of Guerlain, Chanel and Dior et al, who have walked this path so successfully before them? Well, the answer to that question is complex and entirely depends on one’s tastes, and also one’s patience for high-end luxury fragrances, what I will say however, is that Lalique have created these six fragrances with the exact same attention to detail, and precision that they have famously applied to just about everything their hands, or noses have touched, and for that, they should be commended.
The collection is entitled ‘Noir Premier’ and consists of six fragrances (one of which is exclusive to London department store, Harrods) that celebrate Lalique’s “history and milestones” in fragrant form. The names and inspirations of each fragrance come from the brand’s rich heritage and history, honouring the creators, styles and individual pieces that have made Lalique a world renowned name in the fields of glass and crystal. Each fragrance is housed within an exceptionally crafted bottle that harks back to the “very first black perfume bottle designed by René Lalique in 1911: the Quatre Aigles bottle” and forms the Roman numeral “I”. For the brand, Noir Premier is a personal collection steeped in history and for that reason, each of the six fragrances within this series, serves as a poignant landmark on the rich timeline of the house of Lalique.
Quintessentially British fragrance house, Penhaligon’s have been busy this year. Not only they have release Bayolea, an entire male grooming collection complete with accompanying Eau de Toilette, they’ve even teamed up with quirky fashion house Meadham Kirchoff to launch Tralala, an unsettling and whimsical fragrance that certainly lives up to it singsongy name. That’s not to mention the fact that they’re already gearing up for next year’s launch, Ostara! Not content with all of that, they’ve launched the Trade Routes Collection, which consists of three new fragrances inspired by London’s rich maritime history.
The Trade Routes collection takes the “luxurious and decadent commodities which were traded through London’s historic docks at the turn of the 19th century” and turns them into three contemporary fragrances that are decidedly modern in their style. Consisting of Empressa (Mike Parrot), Levantium (Christian de Provenzano) and Lothair (Bertrand Duchaufour), this collection is a perfect example of Penhaligon’s knack for taking the historic and bringing it bang up to date, making for something subversive, and a little bit different.
“Piled high on the quaysides and arriving daily from the farthest flung corners of the globe in a burst of exoticism; the rarest treasures in dizzying abundance; London was the Warehouse of the World.”
Smelling Black Opium, the latest from YSL, one finds it hard to believe that this fragrance comes from one of the most iconic and innovative designer fragrance brands of all time. Just think about it for a second, Yves Saint Laurent brought the world Opium, Paris and Rive Gauche, arguably three of the most important feminines released in the modern age. Not to forget the fact that they have also created cult classics such as Nu, M7 and Rive Gauche Pour Homme – perfumes that paint YSL as a brand with no fear, and a thirst to be different and divisive.
Black Opium is not an important fragrance, nor is it a particularly good one, and it seems that I’m not the only one to think so. Yesterday, Saint Laurent Paris (the fashion arm of YSL) distributed a press release on behalf of Creative Director, Hedi Slimane that distanced him from any involvement with the fragrance, stating that “no creative direction has been given by Hedi Slimane on the market launches and on the choices of artistic elements, or the definition of image, related to the product lines or the advertising campaigns of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, including the ones of Black Opium”. All I can say is ‘ouch’, that’s not a good sign.
With each release, YSL seems to be creating more and more duds (does anyone even remember 2012’s Manifesto? Exactly) whilst simultaneously unleashing a regular wave of flankers of their flagship fragrances. Black Opium is the third permanent flanker to the Opium name since 2010 (the others being Belle d’Opium and Opium Vapeurs de Parfum) and was created by perfumers Honorine Blanc, Olivier Cresp, Nathalie Lorson and Marie Salamagne – a waste of talent, if there ever was one. YSL describe Black Opium as follows:
“2014’s Most Anticipated New Fragrance [..] Black Opium, the new feminine fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent – new glam rock fragrance full of mystery and energy. An addictive gourmand floral.”
As you read this, my husband and I will be headed to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to start our long journey to Tokyo (the land of Studio Ghibli, y’all!!) for our honeymoon. It promises to be the holiday of a lifetime and we both simply cannot wait to touch down in Japan and explore the sights, sounds and smells of one of the world’s most amazing cities. Oh and not forget the food – we are most looking forward to the food, for sure (and by ‘we’, I most definitely mean ‘me’).
I promise to report back on the scented aspects of our trip (and will respond to comments) upon my return however, whilst we’re away, things will be relatively quiet on the blog. I’ve scheduled a dose of Smelly News for this Wednesday and a review of something new from Elie Saab for Friday to keep you occupied, but for the most part I will be taking a bit of a break from the blogospehre. Of course I will be tweeting (@candyperfumeb0y) and there will also be my weekly Escentual column to enjoy, so make sure you don’t miss that either.
Normal service shall resume on WC 29 September 2014. Until then, I bid you all adieu!
It’s almost impossible to believe that the first day of Spring has already arrived. Looking out of the window one is greeted by flurries of beautiful but ultimately inconvenient (and more than a little bit annoying) snow. To put it in to context, at this time last year it was a rather more palatable 21 °C and today it’s… – let’s not depress ourselves shall we?
Whilst this blogger may not be ready for spring his favourite perfume brand – Thierry Mugler – certainly is. This month sees the release of their annual ‘Aqua Chic’ editions of pillar fragrances Angel, Alien and Womanity. All three of which are reinterpreted as fresher, livelier and more aqueous perfumes.
For the Aqua Chic editions both Angel and Alien have been redressed in floral waters – rose and orange blossom respectively – to create summer-infused perfumes that are more than welcome to turn our SAD minds to think of warmer, happier and decidedly less blizzardy days.
The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing/boyfriends/girlfriends/movies/insert-celebrity-mistake-here let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.
So far the series has touched upon a variety of famous names including; those fuzzy-wuzzy comics The Muppets, the Icelandic super-talent that is Björk, schizophrenic female (but kinda-male due to her alter ego) rapper Nicki Minaj, the maniacal monarchs that make up the Royal Family and super-glam pop tour de force Scissor Sisters. Joining this patchwork quilt of celebrities is everyone’s favourite dysfunctional TV family, The Simpsons.
I am a die-hard The Simpsons Fan and I confess to having seen nearly every single episode at least twice. The colourful inhabitants of Springfield, or predominately-yellow inhabitants should I say, each provide a large dash of humour to a town that you wouldn’t really want to live in but are quite happy to watch from the comfort and relative safety of your own sofa.