Last month I met the team at Oxford Street Design Store, a relatively new creative space on Sydney’s retail landscape where up and coming Sydney designers showcase their creative wares. I was talking about perfume and the Design Store asked me to drop by again this month to speak. They are running a series of workshops called “A Guide To” and my perfume talk will be a basic guide on how a perfume is created using Chanel No 5 as the frame, around which the conversation will be built. I think Chanel No 5 is perfect given its captivating story and timeless construction. I will bring with me a range of raw materials; the infamous aldehydes No 5’s creator, Ernest Beaux used to create his modernist fragrance and the floral components at the heart of No 5, jasmine, rose and ylang ylang.
The workshop is free to attend- If you are in Sydney and want to come along, you can RSVP via The Oxford Street Design Store’s Facebook page.
Last year I developed a slight obsession with Guerlain perfumes. On my last visit to La Maison Guerlain on the Champs-Elysees I came away with one of the house’s treasures, often overlooked by consumers enamored by the plethora of other creations that drive Guerlain’s core business. Apres L’Ondee is an exceptional perfume, especially when you consider it is 106 years old. Created by Jacques Guerlain in 1906, it is a true example of Guerlain’s impressionistic style during the Belle Époque years. Apres L’Ondee recalls the scent of a garden following spring rainfall. Soft and delicate, I cannot help but connect it in terms of style with L’Heure Bleu created 6 years later in 1912. Both perfumes share an emotive quality that is hard to put into words. Some describe Apres L’Ondee as melancholy and others describe it as contemplative. Either way, these are both qualities that are rarely found in today’s perfumes, which are more flirtatious and confident. Today’s eau de toilette is in limited distribution and is often found only in Guerlain’s flagships and selected counters. The original parfum is now sadly extinct due to increasingly stricter European laws governing the accepted levels of raw materials used in the … Read More »
I must admit, in terms of blogging I have been a little quiet lately. One might say hibernating given the frosty temperatures Sydney has experienced this winter. I had a brief escape from the cold and spent last week in Hong Kong, who are coming into the height of their summer. Although I was kept busy with work I did manage to escape my hotel in search of scented wares. Not much has changed on the perfume landscape since my last trip in April. The city was in final sale period so it became a good opportunity to restock some key essentials in my clothing wardrobe. I was also on the hunt for Christian Dior’s Vetiver after sampling a bottle during my recent trip to Europe. The attempt was deterred for the second time by the Hong Kong boutique staff telling me that Dior does not make perfume and I should go to the department store on the corner. Heading down into the basement of Dior Homme another consultant told me the boutique fragrance line is currently unavailable for purchase in Hong Kong. Having purchased a bottle of Eau Noire at Dior Homme in Singapore I suspect there must be … Read More »
This weekend we met some friends in Crown Street, Surry Hills for lunch. It was a beautiful afternoon. I think summer was making its last stand before giving way to autumn. Surry Hills was hosting its annual festival so the streets were full of energy and people. A work colleague had told me about a small stationary shop on Crown Street so it was my weekend mission to pay the store a visit. The store is called Paper2 and they carry an impressive range of unusual stationary items. In my shopping bag was a bottle of J. Herbin ink. The French inksmith began his business in 1670, Saint-Germain, Paris and is the oldest name in ink making, producing ink for King Louis XIV. What caught my eye was a bottle of perfumed ink. Traditionally made by mixing pigments with floral hydrosols, perfumed ink was fashionable in 18th century Italy. Perhaps more attracted by the colour than the scent I decided to purchase a bottle in green, lightly scented with apple. The scent is green and fruity but is mainly constructed using synthetic musks. Once it dries the scent of paper and ink smells softly of incense.
Fashion designers Denise L’Estrange-Corbet and Francis Hooper have always been a step a head of the rest in terms of New Zealand fashion design and retailing. Their brand, World has moved around Auckland’s High Street district over the past 20 years, each move prompted by a need for more space. Both designers have colourful histories, L’Estrange-Corbet graduated from London’s College of Fashion and Hooper returned to New Zealand having worked for the likes of Galliano, Kawakubo and Yamamoto. While media reviews of their design are mixed, World was invited to share their autumn/winter 2000 collection at London Fashion Week and have gone on to be recognized as one of the biggest contributors to New Zealand fashion. The local design aesthetic has always been a reflection of the culture. New Zealand brands such as Zambesi, Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester are often synonymous with this mood preferring dark muted tones, slightly androgynous silhouettes and natural fibers. Much less sexually charged than their Australian counterparts across the Tasman. World has always pushed against this. With an almost f*%k you attitude World’s colourful designs often push against the country’s preference for safety. Their stores are always a clutter of curiosities and cultural artifacts … Read More »
Today I ventured out to Marrickville on Sydney’s city fringe in search of oils. I get most of my aroma chemicals by mail but essential oils I try to buy locally. In the past I have used Sydney Essential Oil Company, Auroma in Melbourne and New Directions. Auroma was my preference, their oils are all chromotography tested before they purchase wholesale which gave me confidence they had not been altered by the original source. I was back in Melbourne for work in December and stopped by my favourite shop only to find it had been relocated. The new site a few suburbs over was a total dud looking more like a craft shop than the apothecary it once did. So back to the drawing board I decided to go over to New Directions showroom instead of purchasing from them online. I had a great experience. In a rustic warehouse loft they have set up a contemporary retail space. Testers are available for every item on their catalogue that stretches into the hundreds. I happily spent an hour going through all their oils, decifering the subtle differences that exist depending on the oil’s country of origin and method of extraction. I’m … Read More »