Fashion, Fumes & Furs
Fashion, Fumes & Furs

It came down to yours truly to pick the theme for this edition of the group blog post between myself, Olfactoria’s Travels, Persolaise, Fragrant Moments and Eyeliner on a Cat. For me this task was simple, I knew straight away that I wanted to talk about the relationship between fragrance and fashion, and more importantly I wanted to see just what my fragrant brothers and sisters would make of the correlation.

For years the worlds of perfume and couture have collided to create a wealth of classics and a whole heap of dreck. Houses like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Dior are as famous for their perfumes as they are for their fashions, with the former serving as an accessible way for one to own just a small piece of one’s favourite luxury brand.

One’s favourite fashion trend is most definitely animal print. There is just something so wonderfully wild about such bold, beastly prints and furs (all faux of course) in fashion and when one wishes to make a statement there is no greater choice than a measured dose of shocking animal print.

This post takes a look at one’s pick of the best ‘Animal Print Perfumes’ – those fragrances that perfectly capture the spirit of the boldest of prints. Whether it be the spots of the royal leopard, the stripes of the elegant zebra or the scales of the deadly black mamba, this post celebrates the collision of fashion and fragrance in the most utterly outrageous of styles.

[Please head on over to Persolaise, Olfactoria’s Travels, Fragrant Moments and Eyeliner on a Cat to read their takes on fashion and fragrance]

Amouage Fate Man and Fate Woman Reviews

This week on Escentual I have revisited two fragrances that I reviewed a month or so ago – Fate Man and Fate Woman by Amouage. The latest duo from the famed Omani house have just launched over at Escentual and as usual are intriguing compositions full of surprise and mystery.

As usual, just click on the above image to head over to the Escentual Blog and read the review – it’ll be worth your time, I mention wizards and everything. You may also feel free to leave a comment either here or there, and I look forward to reading your thoughts.

Do You Believe in Fate?
Do You Believe in Fate?

I didn’t envy Amouage the task of topping their masculine & feminine duo from last year. Both Interlude Woman and Man were triumphs of perfumery, taking chaotic notes and throwing them together to create two challenging, yet wearable (and not to forget bloody gorgeous) fragrances.

This year’s duo – Fate Woman and Fate Man – certainly have big shoes to fill and it appears that Creative Director Christopher Chong has pulled out all of the stops to create two fragrances that are bold enough to mark the “end of the first cycle of the Amouage narrative” and leave one excited for exactly what wonders the beginning of the next cycle may entail.

Fate Woman (created by perfumer Dorothée Piot) and Fate Man (created by Karine Vinchon) “explores the uncertainty of the future and the universal principal by which the order of things is inescapably prescribed” and in their own, very distinct ways illicit polarising responses. They, as with many Amouage perfumes, are for those that adore excess and do not shy away from bold statements.

I is For ‘I Do’…

I have weddings on the brain at the moment, mainly for two reasons: firstly, this week’s Escentual post (click on the image above to view) takes a look at some fragrances suitable for rocking on the ‘big day’ for both brides and grooms; and secondly, because after what seems like a million years being engaged, Nigel and I have finally set a date for our big gay wedding.

We are both incredibly excited about exchanging our vows next May and are finding ourselves to be surprisingly organised in terms of planning everything – we’ve picked our outfits (matching, obviously), the theme, the best man and woman, the cake, the venue and pretty much everything else. There is however, one small detail that we have not been able to agree on as yet – the wedding scents.

We have just under 11 months until the big day and I think we’re going to need most of that to make a decision. Do we go for something old? Something new? Something blue? OK, maybe we won’t go for anything blue (there will be no Bleu de Chanel at my wedding thank you very much) but there is an interesting decision to be made in terms of whether the perfumes should be new – in order to create a scented association with the day – or whether they should be old and already hold a significant amount of sentimental value.

The Sin of Pride
The Sin of Pride

My lovely perfume sisters and brothers – Persolaise, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Moments and Olfactoria’s Travels – and I, have yet again clubbed together to bring you  an olfactory group project. This time we’re focusing on the seven deadly sins and have cooked up our very best selections of the most sinful perfumes.

“A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”

The Oxford English Dictionary’s
Definition of ‘Pride’

When given the choice of picking a sin for my article I opted for ‘Pride’. The sin of pride focuses on self-adoration and vanity – taking pleasure and satisfaction from our own achievements, looks and attractive qualities. Pride intrigues me because I think it’s the sin that nearly everybody is guilty of at some time in their lives and it can be a key driver for us to continue to succeed in our professional and personal lives.

The perfumes I have picked for this article all display an element of pride – each in a slight different way. Whether it’s vanity, pride in artistry, the pride that precedes a fall or even a faceless pride, these perfumes are subtly sinful in a subversive and utterly compelling way

Amouage Opus VII
Amouage Opus VII

There should be a club for those that consider themselves as ‘Amouage Addicts’. We could all sit around discussing our adoration for the Omani house, pouring over our favourites and consoling each other over the fact that we’ll never be able to own them all. One matter that definitely would not be up for discussion however, is the idea of giving the house up any time soon. It’s simply not on the table.

We are truly helpless really, what with the annual masculine and feminine pairings. Not to mention special editions such as Beloved and the highly artistic and fascinating Library Collection. The truth is that we are mere lemmings for Amouage and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

This year’s addition to the Library Collection is Opus VII. Created by perfumers Pierre Negrin and Alberto Morillas it “arouses the juxtaposition of harmon with the intensity of reasoning between conflicting ideas and beliefs” [1]. Much like the chaos of the Interlude duo from last year, Opus VII appears to take a slightly more abstract approach with its dark black flacon serving as a small hint for the wild ride that’s unleashed upon the very first spritz.

A Definite Article
A Definite Article

There are a small number of perfume houses that I would consider to have me completely hooked. By this I mean that I adore most of their output so far and will always pay attention to anything new they release. Houses such as this – Thierry Mugler, Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Etat Libre d’Orange to name a few – always have a clear vision as to what makes a perfume one of theirs.

Amouage is one such house where each and every offering is a definite article that incorporates the strong ‘east meets west’ aesthetic that the brand was founded upon. With each year a new chapter in the Amouage story is unleashed and Creative Director Christopher Chong constantly pushes the boundaries of niche perfumery.

Last year Amouage launched a super-exclusive (and equally super-exclusively priced) rose perfume called Beloved. It seems that this year the house deemed it fit for it to be joined by a masculine counterpart. Beloved Man was created by perfumer Bernard Ellena and is a woody oriental that serves as “a nod to the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time.”

Candies 2012
The Candies 2012

I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?

Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!

Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.

So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…

Group Shot
One Half of The Collection

The Postcards From My Collection Series (if it can be called a series) is where I get to showcase, through the medium of amateur, shoddily taken photographs, the residents of my perfume collection. I feel that I have got to a point now in my fumehead journey that I have built a solid collection that meets most (most) of my perfume needs. There is always room for expansion of course….

So, over the next few weeks we shall be delving into my collection and picking out my favourite pieces. Nigel is quite happy that I’m doing this because he is under the impression that I may do some tidying/dusting on the way. I don’t quite know how to break it to him that I may just avoid the tidying and that my interests lie purely with the perfume, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

This week’s edition looks at the most precious perfumes in my collection and includes my big bottles of treasured things and my little, tiny bottles of just-as-treasured-if-not-more things. They range from the über pricey long agonised buy to the much appreciated christmas present with a ton of sentimental value. Simply put: a varied, but wonderful bunch.

An interlude from the chaos
An interlude from the chaos

Since being bitten by the Amouage bug last year thanks to Honour Woman (there is no cure BTW) the wait for the next annual Woman/Man duo has almost been a bit too much. Luckily since then we have had the wonderful Opus VI and Beloved to keep us busy, but still the anticipation has been growing. The problem with such a strong hunger for a new fragrance launch and the high expectations that inevitably accompany such an appetite is the fact that so often the final result is disappointing. This is not something that can be said of the this year’s fragrance duo from Amouage.

For 2012 Amouage is releasing Interlude Woman and Interlude Man, both inspired by the “interlude moment […] a reflection of all the trials and tribulations one overcomes to attain personal satisfaction and achievement” [1] Encased in Amouage’s signature bottles, hued in pure midnight blue, the Interlude duo has been created to “evoke an air of disorder while maintaining a sense of balance and tranquility” [2] Both encompass the chaos of life and offer moments of desperately needed escapism in the form of unique, contemporary fragrances.

I’m at a point now where I have tried the majority of the fragrances in the Amouage stable (although not all have been reviewed, yet) and Interlude Woman & Man are easily the most unique, and perhaps the most daring to date. The multi-coloured graffiti of the packaging gives a mere hint of the high-scale chaos that each fragrance adds to the Amouage line. Where they don’t differ however is in quality and sheer artistry, they are 100% Amouage in those respects.