“Exactly HOW MANY sprays of Poison are you wearing?!”
The European attitude to perfume is very different to that of our American counterparts. Some parts of Europe in particular have a, let me be diplomatic here, shall we say ‘relaxed’ attitude to bathing and perfume can be used to cover up the husky odours of the body that might be missed during said relaxed bathing rituals – think ‘Italian shower’ and you’re on the right track.
Whilst this may be a little of an over exaggeration, because in these modern times generally everybody bathes quite regularly, including myself I hasten to add. Where we definitely are relaxed is in the perfume department. We don’t mind what perfume you wear, when or where you wear it. We also tend to favour the larger, richer perfumes to the fresh, clean one and as long as you’re not deliberately trying to send someone into an Angel-induced coma then you’re fine. Across the pond things seem to be quite different.
This week I was reading an article, about the banning of perfume in the workplace, something that seems to be happening more and more in the US. Now this interested me for two reasons; firstly because I am a perfume-nut and I love my big perfumes, and secondly because I am a Human Resources professional by trade and this sort of thing is a big conundrum and an absolute minefield for us HR people.
So it got me to thinking – should perfume be banned in the workplace? Or is this a case of the PC Police taking things one step too far? Can I see my workplace implementing a ‘No-perfume policy’ or designating itself a ‘Perfume Free Zone’ anytime in the near future? The more I started to think, the more I realised that it is in fact, quite a complex issue.
Pierre Guillaume – Not just a pretty face!
What a busy boy Pierre Guillame is. Not only is he the man and the exceptionally talented nose behind the über exciting brand Parfumerie Générale, he is also responsible for brands such as Phaedon and Hutième Art. He creates for all three brands whilst managing to look effortlessly handsome. It makes you hate him just a little bit, doesn’t it?
Ok, I’m just being silly, I don’t really hate Pierre Guillaume, in fact it’s quite the opposite, I have great respect for him and his fragrant vision. He has managed to craft himself a distinct style and has very much found his own little niche in the market. With Parfumerie Générale and Huitième Art, Guillaume tinkers with the most ancient and noble of ingredients, interpreting each one in new and surprising ways.
Huitième Art is one Pierre Guillaume’s many projects and is a collection of 9 perfumes “showcasing an all-new ‘plant capture’, an original plant-inspired accord or natural organic ingredient” and with “an emphasis on originality and sophistication”. Each perfume is housed in one of the most fascinating flacons I have ever come across, a part-modern, part-natural ceramic cyclops intended to represent the eye looking to the future, which just so happens to be the exact same direction that M. Guillaume’s nose is pointed.
“The smell of the English countryside in spring time”
L.I.L.Y is the latest fragrance from British fashion designer Stella McCartney. It very much marks a break from tradition for McCartney, whose other fragrances have all be a variation on a theme, namely that of her eponymous debut fragrance ‘Stella’. I love Stella, as far as designer fragrances go it is pretty well done and my sister wears it religiously so I have a strong connection to it, but I am very glad that McCartney is branching out into new fragrant territory with L.I.L.Y.
Where Stella was an ode to rose, L.I.L.Y is, as the name suggests, an ode to the lily of the valley. Lily of the valley is a flower which yields no scented oil yet so evocatively represents the smell of the English countryside in spring time. It’s both beautiful to look at, and to smell, and it represents all that is innocent and virtuous about the world. Lily of the valley is simply one of the world’s most precious of joys.
L.I.L.Y is described as an “evocative scent made up of Stella’s most treasured moments” . Its name stems from her father’s nickname for her mother; ‘Linda I Love You’, and the Lily of the Valley used in the fragrance is reminiscent of her wedding bouquet. For L.I.L.Y, McCartney has aimed to create a perfume that is personal to her, rather than Stella McCartney ‘the brand’. In this world of hyper-focus-grouped perfumes, I can’t help but find the personal touch applied to L.I.L.Y utterly refreshing.
Scented lives is a series of perfume profiles that explores the perfumes and scents that have been a part of people’s lives. I believe that the perfumes we wear are the individual threads that help build the tapestry of our lives. They speak huge volumes about our character and help us form memories of times, people and places.
The series starts with the profiles of my family, friends and those that are special to me. Ir will then branch out to others with interesting scented lives. As I said in the last profile, if you are interested in taking part in the series, you can get in touch via the Contact Form or you can send me an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How it Works
Each subject is asked to pick five perfumes (ones that they have worn) that have played a significant part in their lives. They will then be asked to give reasons their choices and explain what their associations with those scents may be. The series aims to use perfume as markers for significant points in the subject’s life, whether happy or sad, and to help them unleash their olfactory memories.
Previous Scented Lives
Part 1: Jane Bryant (My Mother)
The appointment of Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius as the new face of Mugler’s flagship masculine fragrance A*Men last year marked a new chapter in the brand’s superhero saga. Pistorious plays the part of the ‘Bionic Fawn’ and he perfectly embodies the Muglerian style of high-energy futurism taken to the limit.
Thierry Mugler is known for bold statements and the use of a Paralympian, who just happens to be the hottest name in sport right now, is an encouraging display of diversity from a major brand. If only others would follow suit! Pistorius is an inspiring person and an inspired choice for the brand. He very much deserves his place alongside the likes of Jerry Hall, Eva Mendes and Naomi Watts as a citizen of Planet Mugler.
For 2012, the year of the London Olympic Games, Pistorius reprises his role of the Mugler man for the brand’s latest fragrance ‘A*Men Pure Shot’. A*Men Pure Shot, created by Jacques Huclier, is the latest limited edition flanker of the original A*Men which was released in 1996. It follows Pure Coffee, Pure Malt, Pure Havane and A*Men Le Goût de Parfum in the A*Men series, and it’s fair to say that it is the most unique and surprising incarnation of A*Men so far.
Inspired by Oscar Pistorious, Mugler’s “modern day hero”, Pure Shot is Mugler’s entry into the plethora of Olympic-themed sport fragrances that we’re going to see this year. But as we know, Mugler does things a little bit differently and has to be given Kudos for not including ‘sport’ in the name, and for actually creating a sport-themed fragrance that doesn’t smell bland or cheap. Mugler describes Pure Shot as “a performance booster for seekers of strong, inspiring scents”.
“There’s nothing that I enjoy more than a trip to Planet Mugler”
It’s no secret that I am pretty much THE Thierry Mugler Fan Boy and there’s nothing that I enjoy more than a trip to Planet Mugler, but would you believe there was a time, many Mugler moons ago, when I really didn’t like the Thierry Mugler perfumes? I don’t think I have ever been more appalled by two perfumes in my entire life than when I tried both Angel and A*Men for the very first time. To call them an ‘assault on the senses’ would be a dramatic understatement. But as you know, tastes change and I kept coming back to them. There was just something alluring about this ‘assault’ that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and it wasn’t long before I ended up buying my first bottles of Angel and A*men. That’s when my Muglerian-obsession started.
A*Men, or Angel Men as it is often referred to, was Thierry Mugler’s first, and currently the brand’s only, masculine fragrance. Released in 1996, it was created to be a masculine interpretation of the already-quite-masculine Angel, released four years previously. With A*Men, Mugler was inspired by the comic book superheroes of his childhood, and in particular his favourite hero ‘The Silver Surfer’.
Since its release A*Men has become somewhat of a cult fragrance, and has spawned a number of pretty decent flankers including; A*Men Pure Coffee, A*Men Pure Malt, A*Men Pure Havane, A*Men Le Goüt du Parfum and A*Men Pure Shot (to be reviewed tomorrow). Does A*Men deserve cult status? Absolutely! There is nothing else quite like it around, and love it or hate it, you cannot deny just how innovative and unique it is.
Juliette Has a Gun is the spunky niche brand from Romano Ricci – great grandson of Nina Ricci. The name is taken from Shakespeare’s most famous heroin and the gun that she brandishes is a metaphor for her perfume, which she uses as her weapon of seduction. Juliette Has a Gun has a kick-ass attitude, she’s a gal with tons of moxie and takes no prisoners.
There are currently 8 perfumes in the line, well 7 if you you decide not to count ‘Not a Perfume’, which I’m not, because it isn’t a perfume and it gets on my nerves. Anyways, Romantina was released last year and is Juliette Has a Gun’s latest perfume. With Romantina, Ricci adds something new to the line – its very first white floral, that at first seems quite out of place amongst the mixed bag of misfit characters that hang around with Juliette and her Gun.
Romantina (I love that name) is described as “an ode to insouciance”  and is based on a modern love story. Like the other perfumes in the line, Romantina has a strong character, but rather than being a bad-ass bitch, it exudes a confident innocence that if fallen for, can prove much more deadly. When I received my sample set I immediately reached for Romantina, I am a white floral lover after all, and whilst it may be an ode to insouciance, my feelings for it certainly aren’t indifferent.