Most of us have been busy peeling off layers of clothes to cope with the magnificent heat we’ve been experiencing in the UK recently, but today I’m suggesting you add another -invisible – layer of style. Scent is a useful summer accessory, it can upscale your chic levels with just one spritz, or playfully add zing to the lightest of sundresses. You maybe wearing a simple linen shift, but layered beneath you can play with an altogether darker, or more artful tone.
As you take away clothes, add more perfume, it will develop like a scented glow on your sun-warmed skin. I’m going with this attractive analogy rather than the less appealing but probably more accurate ‘sweat-drenched-squashed-too-close-to-the-next-body experience’ on a tube or bus. Man, us Brits are rubbish at air conditioning our public transport. Although you could argue that this is an even bigger motivation for having your own scented micro environment.
Whatever, summer is scent’s fashion season, so here are a few of the loveliest ones I’ve been trying for We Wear Perfume recently.
Imagine you are walking in a rose garden in the early morning sunshine, with the softly honeyed scent of roses hanging in the air, then you walk over some mint unexpectedly…You Or Someone Like You smells exactly of that moment, a herby minted waft hanging over light and airy rose. It’s a fragrance for people who like fresh, light, ‘natural’ scents and it’s been – by a long way- the biggest crowd pleaser on my testing table this summer among family and friends. Stylishly sunny.
Aptly, this eau de parfum strength scent was inspired by the Savoy Turkish Baths in Jermyn Street, once used by Savoy Hotel customers, the cute Hammam towel-style bow atop the lid makes a nod towards its elegantly exotic heritage. It is another rose, but inhaled through an infused aromatic haze of geranium with hints of rosemary. Later, there’s a softly addictive dry down that holds a quietly spiced note blurred with hardly-there incense. It’s both freshly uplifting on first spraying and then warming and elegant as it dries down. Quiet summer elegance.
The new Atelier Bloem range has been created by Andrew Goetz, one half of the successful Malin + Goetz skincare range of which many of you will have heard. Andrew told me his solo range is inspired by his early life in Amsterdam and how seriously the Dutch take their blooms. He became a regular flower buyer at the Bloemenmarkt and formed a life-long, bloom-loving habit he has used to develop his first fragrance range. All the scents are floral delights, but my favourite is Black Tulip, a peppery, indiscriminate floral with green highlights. If you had to pin the floral down it would be a freesia-violet hybrid, with a hint of jasmine loitering in the background. The dry down is earthy vetiver with a teaspoon of musk. Artfully bohemian.
Can you imagine my excitement when I heard that Haeckels Made Of Margate were going to do a collaboration with my favourite shoe brand Grenson? Well here’s a little insider info for you, TWR played a small part in the proceedings, by highlighting the innovative fragrance brand to the Grenson design team when they were first researching the idea. Just call us influential…oh yeah.
The two scents are both glorious, but my favourite is Elizabeth Street, inspired by the geography around the Grenson store in New York, where the scent of florists, coffee shops, aromatics from the Mexican restaurant and general urban-ness have been layered over shoe leather and wood notes. It starts spiced-lime fresh, but warms quickly to a smooth leathery smudge. City cool at its scented best.
I went to an excellent Patchouli event by the Perfume Society recently, held in a small art gallery in Portobello Road which was celebrating the art of the 60s artist Larry Smart. There was much nostalgic talk of how patchouli became popular alongside the wholefood revolution, because its warm, grounded scent appealed to the earth-loving principles of the hippy generation. That it also masked the smell of other herby substances was purely coincidental. We inhaled a number of patchouli scents, my favourite of which was Etro’s spiced, almost chocolatey Patchouly, which by happy coincidence I won a bottle of on the night. It is a grown up hippy scent; smartly dressed on the outside, dreamer and card-carrying Biba-devotee on the inside.
I want to dispel the (IMHO) daft idea that summer is best for citrus and floral scents. I don’t disagree that a spritz of out-of-the-shower cologne freshness has appeal, and if it does then Carthusia Io is the way to go. But so too does the dark coolness of church interiors, the type you visit on European holidays, the interiors of which are often deliciously flagstone-chilled. Throw in some incense fumes and frankincense then layer on a rose-patchouli note and you’ve got Eau Sacrée, an intriguingly dark and atmospheric scent. On warm skin this is an intoxicating delight. A lean-in scent.
What are you all wearing currently?