“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.”
If you haven’t seen the Maysles Brother’s 1975 documentary ‘Grey Gardens’, please click the following link and come back you have educated yourself. You’re welcome. In lieu of watching the film, I shall provide a quick summary. Grey Gardens was (and still is) the name of the East Hamptons mansion once owned by the Bouvier Beales and inhabited by the mother/daughter duo that was Big Edie and Little Edie. After many years of neglect, both the Edies and the Grey Gardens estate were found to be in a dilapidated state, and in need of lots of care and attention. After a load of hoo-hah in the press and calls for their eviction, along came the Maysles brothers who spent a number of months documenting the lives of these two reclusive, yet utterly eccentric women in this strangest of settings. Grey Gardens the movie, is the result of their labours.
Grey Gardens has become a cult classic over time with Little Edie, who is easily the star of the show, remaining a fashion icon long after her death. There’s tons of memorable quotes (“he always compliments me on the way I do my corn”, anyone?) and fun moments, but the overarching feeling is one of sadness. Watching Grey Gardens, the sense of loss both Big and Little Edie feel for their past life, wealthier times when they were members of New York’s high society and not shunned shut-ins, is palpable. It’s safe to say that the longing for the glory days and the constant rumination over missed opportunities, and what could have been, is painful to watch, but the Edies have a strong sense of survival, and they get through. As Little Edie would put it, they are ‘staunch characters’. That’s ‘S-T-A-U-N-C-H’. Let’s scent them.
Wow, what a whirlwind of a year 2014 was. The perfume industry has, as always, been nothing short of prolific in its output, with new brands popping up all over the place and the same big names releasing perfume upon perfume, and flanker upon flanker. It has, once again been a very busy year, and the hive of activity within the industry has meant that a great number of wonderful new olfactory treats have been unleashed on the noses of perfume lovers and consumers.
For me, this year has been one of great personal significance. In March I won my first Jasmine Award for my Guide to Violet, and shortly after in May, my best buddy and I tied the knot, only a few days before I presented an award at the Fragrance Foundation Awards. Then in August I was promoted at work, and in September my new husband and I headed off to Tokyo for the honeymoon of a lifetime. In short, it has been a fantastic year and one that will always remain truly in my heart as one of the very best.
To celebrate 2014 from a fragrant perspective, I present to you ‘The Candies 2014’. Those of you who have followed The Candies before will know that they are my annual perfume awards, celebrating the very best, and the very worst perfumes of the year (out of the 147 scents I have reviewed in 2014). Under the jump you will find the winners, losers and honourable mentions filed under neat little categories. So please, don your tux or ball down, break open the Bolly and take your seats for The Candies 2014.
[Also, please don’t forget to head on over to my dear perfume pals, Persolaise and Perfume Shrine, who are both joining me in sharing their ‘best of’ lists today.]
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.
Four years ago today, my good friend, Nick Gilbert and I embarked on an exciting perfume project with a view of turning the world of fragrance reviewing on its head. We set out to use the medium of Twitter to create entertaining and bitesize reviews in 140 characters or less – the result was @FragrantReviews – our smelly baby that launched both of our writing careers.
Writing these reviews is surprisingly challenging. It’s tough to dissect and truly represent a fragrance in such a small medium, but it’s also immense fun and I think I wouldn’t be speaking out of turn if I said that both Nick and I really enjoy putting these fragrant tweets together. They can be funny, they can be poetic and they can occasionally be mean, but one thing they never are is boring.
We’re now at over 3,000 followers, and to celebrate our fourth birthday, I’d like to share with you ten of my favourite Fragrant Reviews – five from Nick and five from me. They range from the olfactory time capsule of Eau de Toast to the utter hideousness of Viktor & Rolf’s BonBon and capture some of our big loves and a number of our, well, not-so-big loves. I hope you enjoy this brief retrospective and will have a go at chiming in with your own 140 character reviews in the comments box.
Old-school British brand Penhaligon’s has seen a positive renaissance over the last few years. In 2009 they appeared to make a conscious decision to move away from their more staid roots and played to their more risqué side with Bertrand Duchaufour’s masterful Amaranthine – a perfume that was created to smell like the inside of a woman’s thigh (oh my, I’m blushing), and have since set themselves a trend of creating old school perfumes with modern and quirky twists.
Thankfully this is a trend that they seem to be continuing and for 2014, Britain’s most idiosyncratic perfume house is teaming up with the equally unconventional fashion brand, Meadham Kirchhoff, to create perhaps their most whimsical fragrance to date. The result of this collaboration is a fragrance penned by super-perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (the man also responsible for Amaranthine, Vaara, Sartorial and Orange Blossom) and bestowed with the infectious name ‘Tralala‘.
Launching next week, Tralala is described by Penhaligon’s as being a “beguiling and addictive piece of counter culture couture” and all one needs for proof of this claim is a quick look at the wonderful bottle with it’s clown head and ridiculously huge signature Penhaligon’s bow. The scent itself, is billed as “an opulent, hedonistic blend” that “evokes the interplay of glamour and retrospection favoured by Meadham Kirchhoff”. Having spent quite some time sniffing this new creation, I can wholeheartedly confirm that it does do exactly what it ‘says on the tin’.
It may have only been just over 20 day ago that we were ringing in the new year and looking back at the perfume highs and lows of 2013 but the industry machine churns on and already we’re seeing announcements of new and upcoming launches from familiar brands. This is all very exciting of course, as 12 exciting months of olfactory discovery awaits the gluttonous noses of many a perfume addict. I say bring it on!
One intriguing new launch that caught my eye last week was the brand new scent from quirky British house Penhaligon’s. Tralala (launching in April -100ml for £150) is the whimsical name of the perfume and it has been created in collaboration with another British name – the unconventional fashion brand Meadham Kirchoff. Having scented the brand’s collections for 9 seasons, Penhaligon’s and perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour have set out to bottle the fantastical and contrasting world of one of Britain’s most idiosyncratic fashion houses.