New small-but-beautiful perfume houses are popping up all over the place at the moment, it’s a bit ‘another week, another new brand’ which is very exciting for anyone tired of the mass market selection. But of course you need to know where to find them. Department store beauty halls can be a bit daunting and hard to find things in, as well as dominated by high volume, high visibility (and therefore high money earning) brands. What you need to find is a good independent boutique to offer you good advice and a smaller edit of lovely smells…somewhere like Bloom Perfumery, which has just opened its second London store in Covent Garden (we wrote about Bloom previously here).
I love Bloom’s founder Oksana Polyakova, because she’s curated a terrific collection of brands and fragrances, you don’t feel overwhelmed by choice and I’m sure there’s not a dud smell on offer. Last week she invited us to meet Carlos Huber, above, enthusiastic founder of the Arquiste perfume house and learn a little more about the (new-ish) range. Some of you may have experienced Carlos’s work already as he recently created fragrances for J Crew, No 31 and No 57, where he worked with Jenna Lyons to get the smells just so (he said she was fabulous to work with, fyi….).
Carlos, who hails from Mexico but has French overtones- a nice mix for fragrance- started life as an architect with an interest in historic restoration. His fragrance range taps into this continued love of historic storytelling, with rather charming takes on events from the past anchoring the inspiration. For example, Infanta en Flor -a powdery floral-y amber, imagines an intimate moment in 1660 between Marie Teresa, the Infanta of Spain and her soon-to-be-husband Louis XIV. Or Flor Y Canto, which takes inspiration from the most fragrant festival in the Aztec calendar of 1400, but which you may like for its gorgeous hit of tuberose mixed with a musty grounding of marigold.
These are interesting and intriguing fragrances . I would sell my granny for a bottle of Anima Dulcis, a chocolatey spice that’s good enough to eat, and the Architects Club, Carlos’s own go-to scent, has a hint of gin & tonic about it and is considered by more experienced noses than mine to be an absolute modern classic.
But don’t take my word for it, go into one of the lovely Bloom stores and ask Oksana or Ruth to talk you through them. For those who can’t get to the stores, Arquiste very sensibly offers small travel sets – in Florals and Citrus and Woods -that double as a great way to try the range. We will, I suspect, be hearing much more about Mr Huber in the future.