If you’ve been following the blog over the last year or so you will know that I’ve wholly and truly been bitten by the photography bug. All of the photographs on this blog for the last year or so have been my own and I’ve made a conscious effort to use my own photos over press shots because I want to visually interpret the fragrances I write about. But I’m breaking from tradition today, because in this post I’m showcasing the amazing work of a professional photographer working in the perfume industry: Mr David Newton.
David Newton is an illustrator turned photographer who has worked with some seriously big names in the industry – Harrods, Vogue, Dior, YSL – you name them, he’s worked with them. David photographs cosmetics and accessories as well as perfume, and his style is idiosyncratic as well as visually stunning. I first became aware of his work at the Jasmine Awards this year where he won an award for his jellylicious work with Harrods magazine. I have since dived into his portfolio and become increasingly more obsessed by his unique visual style. David is an amazing photographer and he provides a fascinating insight into his process in this interview. He also has really good taste in perfume, which you’ll find out as you read on.
When it was announced that Christine Nagel would replace Jean-Claude Ellena as the in-house perfumer at Hermès I remember wondering whether the house-style that Ellena had crafted to be so distinct would change. Both are idiosyncratic perfumers with a bold style and Ellena’s mineral watercolours are as far removed from Nagel’s voluptous compositions as they can be. So we’re now four launches into Christine Nagel’s tenure at Hermès and it is safe to say that yes, the house style has changed from minimalism to a subtle maxamilism (i’m making that a thing, by the way), but it still remains completely faithful to the one thing that Hermès always delivers: luxury.
Hermès latest launch is Twilly d’Hermès – a fragrance named for the brand’s Twilly scarves, which are colourful, think silk scarfs that can be worn in a multitude of ways, and the scent really cements the brand’s new style, which feels a little bit more accessible. Twilly the perfume is just as vibrant as the scarves and Hermès use words such as “joyous”, “impish” and “playful” to describe it. The presentation, which sees the fragrance housed within a carriage lantern-style bottle topped by a bowler hat and finished with a Twilly tie, says that this fragrance is young, fun and full of surprises. So let’s not wait any longer and give Twilly d’Hermès a sniff.
The TOM FORD fragrance collection is massive and it touches every aspect of olfaction, boasting colognes-a-plenty, a feast of florals and more ouds than one can shake a stick at. Not to mention many other styles of fragrance! What makes the brand so good, and ultimately so successful, is the fact that the fragrances aren’t afraid to be bold. In the mainstream, fragrances are made to appeal to everyone and their cat, but at TOM FORD fragrances are created to appeal and to resonate with only some, meaning that the scents themselves are often very interesting, and with so many TOM FORD scents to chose from, one is bound to find something they like.
Speaking of TOM FORD fragrances that aren’t afraid to be bold, let’s take a look at Noir Anthracite, the latest addition to the brand’s Signature Collection. Now, if you’ve tried the original Noir, you will remember it as a plush and powdery scent that felt very much like a modern, masculine interpretation of Shalimar. Well scrap whatever thoughts you had about Noir because Noir Anthracite could not be further from the original if it tried. What Noir Anthracite does share with its namesake however, is a sense of shadow and rather than possessing a blissful purr like Noir, Noir Anthracite is a fragrance that will blow your socks clean off with its mighty roar.
There are so many fragrance launches each year it’s difficult to write about them all. Speed Sniffs is a way to bring you to the point reviews fragrances that are quick and easy to digest. After all, sometimes all one needs is a few lines to capture the essence of a scent. Speed Sniffs are perfume reviews without all of the faff and tell you whether the subject is something you want to sniff or not. So hurry up and read, because we don’t have much time…
Luxury goods brand Coach have overhauled their fragrance collection and it now consists of two pillars: Coach for Her and Coach for Him. There’s something rather clean and tidy about offering two fragrances and it seems like Coach have worked hard to ensure that their feminine and masculine pillar fragrances represent the spirit of the brand. They’ve worked with top notch perfumers and have even incorporated suede, a material so vital to the brand, in each of their fragrances. So the two scents from Coach are perfectly on brand.
Coach for Men, the masculine of the pair launched this summer and was created by perfumers Anne Flipo (MyQueen by Alexander McQueen and Basil & Neroli by Jo Malone London) and Bruno Jovanovic (Dries van Noten and Monsieur. by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle). It’s a fragrance “inspired by mavericks, rebels and all-American dreamers” and fronted by Actor/Director/Artist James Franco, which all sounds very interesting so let’s put it to the speed sniff test!
I’m always open to new and exciting ways to wear fragrance – methods that add to or change the standard way to wear scent, which is to spray (because dabbing is waste of everybody’s time, let’s face it). Of course there are many gimmicks out there and it is really difficult to beat a good old spray (or ten) but every now and then a decent alternative comes along that either changes the way one wears fragrance, or at the very least enhances it.
I was recently contacted by Vanacci, a British Company who make a range of scented jewellery, in addition to many other luxury accessories for men. Now, the idea of fragrant accessories isn’t entirely new and many niche fragrance brands offer some form of scented wearable, whether that be the high end jewels with scentable ceramic inserts of By Kilian or the scent-soaked leather bracelets offered by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. But what makes Vanacci different is their affordability, in addition to the fact that they use a special porous material called ‘Lockstone’ which absorbs fragrance and slowly releases it throughout the day. The idea is to have a fashionable accessory that carries with it, the scent of your favourite fragrance. Colour me intrigued!
What struck me about Vanacci’s Lockstone collection is just how attractive it is – the products, which include bracelets, cufflinks and pendants across a number of capsule collections are handsome and streamlined. They’ve managed to create scented jewellery that is simple and unobtrusive, and that can be paired with any outfit. In particular though, my eyes were drawn to the Solaris bracelets, which I must say, were particularly eye-catching. So, to put Vanacci to the test I trialled two of their Solaris bracelets over a few days so see whether; a) they really were as stylish as they looked; and b) they hit the mark as a suitably scented accessory. Let’s see how they faired…
If you enjoyed Episode One of Fume Chat then you’ll be pleased to know that second episode of the perfumed podcast hosted by Nick Gilbert and Me is ready to download. Episode Two is our first ‘Battle of the Bottles’ and we go head-to-head to duel our favourite fragrances from the Japanese-French fashion house, Comme des Garçons. Who will be victorious? Well, you’ll have to tune-in to find out! Click here to find Episode two on iTunes and here for a SoundCloud link.