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Get Wet!

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Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino

(the best ad campaign of the summer)

Tom Ford revives the classic concept of Eau de Cologne, by definition a highly diluted blend of citruses, Mediterranean herbs, and jasmine, which originated in Cologne, Germany in 1709.  Neroli Portofino is flush with Tunisian neroli, Sicilian lemon, mandarin, bergamot, and orange blossom water.  Its dominant citrus-floral character is balanced with a classic herbs-de-Provence blend of thyme, rosemary, and lavender, and wrapped in a sheer and warming veil of woods, ambers, and musks.  Lovely for the season – and, apparently – good enough to bathe in…

Enjoy!

Portofino, Italy

 
 

Indulgent eco-glamping

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by

via theglassmagazine.com
 

Holidays designed to enjoy England’s scenic countryside have moved far beyond a desolate muddy camping ground with communal cold showers. Glass put ‘glamping’ and ‘green’ together and found that ‘sustainable’ and ‘luxury’ go hand in hand. Designed to reduce our carbon footprint, Glass also found that these country escapes made fine candidates for the future of modern, sustainable living.
Read the rest of this article @ Glass Magazine »

 

IDOLE de Lubin

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There it stands, looming, a great and terrifying presence.  An idol from Africa, a voodoo priest, bewitching and talismanic.

To smell IDOLE is to wake up in a strange and exotic place.  The air is thick with saffron, pepper and rich spices, smoldering over a sultry, magnetic blend of incense and ashes.  Sticky resins bleed their intoxicating tears… bark burned in effigy to protect a powerful and mysterious god.

You want to explore, but are afraid.  The dizzying fumes of island rhum and smoky incense leave you drunk on all the magic of the unknown.  But brave enough to go forth.

“From the shores of East Africa to the Sunda islands, from Zanzibar to Macassar, on the maritime spice routes, for centuries, nomadic people have set out, all sails to the wind, to face the storms…this bottle is the sail of a felucca, full with the swift sea breeze, taking away a wooden idol by night, the symbol of a nomadic people.” – Serge Mansau, Bottle Designer

“Set the jungle on fire with a woody liqueur rich in scorching spices, as sweet as sugar cane, and as warm as leather.” – Olivia Giacobetti, Perfumer

Olivia Giacobetti, as she did with Dzing! for L’Artisan Parfumeur, creates a three-dimensional scentscape with the vision and imagination for depth of an architect.  From it’s spice-heavy top to its dark, intriguing base of leather, sandalwood and resins (suggesting cistus labdanum, benzoin, amber and myrrh), this fragrance will have you transfixed, powerless, and under its spell.

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Undeniably, one of the best parts of IDOLE is its packaging.  Shaped as a felucca sail, its glass hollowed out by the warm winds of the East, the bottle is topped with an impression of a classic African mask.  Striking, severe, and all the while exquisite, IDOLE is truly one of a kind – a real piece of art.

Noire et Blanche, Man Ray, 1926
 

Head of a Woman, Pablo Picasso, 1907

 
 

Light Blue

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On paper, Light Blue is one of the last fragrances I would expect to like.  With a taste for dark, spicy orientals and an affinity for niche brands, a bright, sunny citrusy blockbuster from Dolce and Gabbana is something I would typically brush off as ‘not my thing’.

Consequently, I am shocked and delighted to admit that I absolutely love this fragrance.  Nothing pleases me more than being surprised by my own taste, and expanding my palate to this new dimension feels like an exotic vacation from all of the ambers, spices, resins and rich woods to which I am magnetically attracted.

Light Blue sparkles, or better yet, glistens with the effervescent edge of Sicilian lemon and green apple notes.  The brilliance of the fragrance though, and what captures my attention, is the perfect balance of the wetness of these notes with the drying facet of amber and musk.  The scent glides seamlessly, fearlessly, across this tightrope – the horizon where the sun hits the water.  Warm, dry, and encompassing, yet dewy, splashy, and vibrant.  And just as the sun collides with the water’s surface refracting light in infinite pixels, the molecules in Light Blue’s formula – in some beautiful, magical chemical harmony – do just the same thing: produce light, create energy.

There is something super nostalgic about the sweet and tart green apple notes here.  Growing up in the 90s, this was an extremely popular smell for young girls, present in lip glosses, shower gels, body splashes and sparkly lotions from the likes of The Limited Too, Bath and Body Works, Bonne Belle and Delia*s.  I even had a green apple scented nail polish – which at the time was an olfactory revelation – imagine: scented nail polish!  So, at least to me, the smell of green apple instantly springs me back to those summers when I was 11 or 12.  It’s an impossibly young, joyful, carefree scent association – one that Light Blue carries gracefully into a sophisticated young adulthood with the sexy, but still naive bouquet of white rose, jasmine, cedar and bamboo.

Light Blue was created by perfumer Olivier Cresp in 2001.  Mario Testino shot the ad campaign, resulting in one of those rare occasions where the olfactory impression of the fragrance is transposed with a precision that is nearly synaesthetic.  In wearing it, I am transported – almost wistfully – to years ago in Capri… salt water drying on my skin, soaking in all the charm and spirit of an Italian summer.

 
 

The Scent of Prayer

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The lama sighed and shrank into himself, a dingy, shapeless mass. In the pauses of their talk they could hear the low droning – ‘Om mane pudme hum! Om mane pudme hum!’ – and the thick click of the wooden rosary beads.

-Kim, Rudyard Kipling

These prayer beads are called Japa Mala. They are commonly made of sandalwood, the most precious fragrant wood of the east, sacred to Buddhists and Hindus in Tibet, Nepal, India, China and Bhutan.

The scent of sandalwood is arresting.  Sweet, smooth, buttery and velveteen, the aroma itself is an aura.  Holy by nature, blonde in color, sandalwood glows on the skin like a halo of peace, calm and sanctity.

The most spiritually evocative scent in Indian culture, sandalwood is burned in devotion, inhaled as a grounding force in meditation, used in the construction of temples and crafting of icons.  If you go to a holy site in India, the air is always saturated with the scent of sandalwood and ash…

Sandalwood finds richness in its purity – a contradiction of sorts that makes the wood proudly unique.  Simple, though possessing depth.  Bare, yet complex.  Quiet, but strong.

…not unlike the monks who repeat their mantras while passing each bead through their fingers, consuming the touch and scent of the sacred wood.

There is a magic to this scent, and it seems to whisper that there might be something more.

Kim was conscious that beyond the circle of light the room was full of things that smelt like all the temples of all the East.  A whiff of musk, a puff of sandalwood, and a breath of sickly Jessamine-oil caught his opened nostrils.

“I am here,” said Kim at last, speaking in the vernacular: the smells made him forget that he was to be a Sahib.

-Kim, Rudyard Kipling

 
 

Andy Warhol – Space

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Andy Warhol, ‘Perfume Bottles’ (Halston Campaign), 1979
 

“Another way to take up more space is with perfume. I really love wearing perfume.”

-Andy Warhol

It’s funny to think about perfume as ‘taking up space,’ but it really does.  Scent, of course, can infiltrate space faster than anything solid – the benefit of being gaseous – it can permeate and conquer.

Warhol always had a strong presence wherever he was, but did so without ever talking a whole lot.  Being more of an observer, scent seems like the perfect way to make a silent – but resonant –  impression.

I think if Warhol were alive now, he might incorporate scent into his art.  He was always playing with the concept of space, like in the 1965 Edie Sedgwick film “Outer and Inner Space,” and with the silver Mylar balloon installations at The Factory.  They can now be seen at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, though I actually experienced the idea at a Warhol exhibit in Stockholm a few years ago.  A science-y friend of mine related the aimlessly ambient, floating balloons to molecules, which I think is a pretty spot-on analogy for the perfume-minded.  As an installation, the cloud room is pretty unique as the room is totally devoid of boundaries.  The balloons move with air currents and by people walking around – they don’t have any qualms about hitting you in the face or sticking to your sweater.  Scent is like this in many ways.

“When I look at things, I always see the space they occupy. I always want the space to reappear, to make a comeback, because it’s lost space when there’s something in it.”

-Andy Warhol