Today’s fragrances must tell a story, reflect our individuality, and stir emotions – be it empowerment, comfort or sensuality.
To explore the relationship between emotion and fragrance, and understand what goes into creating the most captivating, soul-hitting scents of today, Selfridges’ beauty experts spoke to some of the greatest names in fragrance about their most evocative creations.
Let’s dive into the sensory pleasures of fragrance and the future of self-care:
LOEWE: luscious botanical garden meets apothecary
Inspired by a luscious botanical garden meets apothecary, Loewe’s new Home Scents collection is the brainchild of Creative Director, Jonathan Anderson, and in-house perfumer, Nuria Cruelles. Loewe’s new collection is made up of room sprays, diffusers and candles handmade in Spain using 100% vegetable wax housed in glazed terracotta pots that look like pieces of art.
“Smell is the sense where we best remember moments, places and people,” Cruelles told Selfridges, “just a brief sniff can transport you to different places and moments. For this, we wanted the act of lighting a candle to transport you to a botanical garden bursting with aromas.” In preparation, Cruelles visited gardens and greenhouses, as well as drawing on her own memories of nature, while experimenting with oils and extracts in the lab in order to recreate the scent of the original plant as closely as possible.
As you would expect from a greenhouse, you can find all sorts of botanical-inspired scents from Luscious Pea, Honeysuckle and Oregano, as well as a few surprises with the likes of Liquorice and Marihuana. “I was quite shocked when Jonathan proposed some of the scents, but I loved the challenge. Beetroot and Tomato Leaves are my personal favourites – they are sweet yet soft, elegant yet unexpected.”
Fragrance as Artistic Expression – MIZENSIR
Created by fragrance royalty Alberto Morillias – the man behind iconic scents such as Marc Jacobs Daisy and CK One (widely recognised as the first ‘unisex’ fragrance) – Mizensir is his very own line of fragrances, which he created with his wife in 2015.
Rather than being tasked with a particular client fragrance brief, he’s been given limitless freedom to blend some of the most exclusive perfume ingredients in modern perfumery with decades of experience to dream up personal creations, many of which he famously dedicates to those closest to him.
“I would say that, generally speaking, the perfume industry is more interesting and exciting than ever,” Morillias explains. “To be meaningful and successful, a fragrance must have a signature, bring emotion and be instantly recognisable. It’s this quest for perfection that drives me to create constantly.”
A fragrance’s origin usually starts with something intangible or abstract, such as a particular emotion that he wants to express. “I visualise it and transcribe it into ingredients,” he explains, “For Your Love, for example, started with a particular sensation that I wanted to convey – a kiss. I wanted to find that soft, musky warmth of the body with a touch of deliciousness.”
Mixed Emotions BY BYREDO
“We’re in the business of bottling up emotions,” says Founder of Byredo, Ben Gorham. It’s a sentiment that is perfectly encapsulated in the brand’s most recent launch, Byredo Mixed Emotions. Designed to reflect the tumultuous nature of our times, it’s a bold, polarising scent that perfectly distils a feeling of flux – “it’s a mix of notes that belong and somehow conflict at the same time”, says Gorham. Comprised of contrasting highs and lows – think notes of comforting maté and black tea against sharp sweet blackcurrant and violet leaves, all sat within a framework of rich birch wood – the sticky, smoky concoction leaves you wanting more.
Instead of starting with a specific ingredient or fragrance ‘family’, Gorham sees fragrance as a translation of a memory or mood. “Inspiration can come from anywhere,” Gorham explains, “my kids, memories of my childhood, reading my Dad’s travel diaries, the smell of a tree halfway up a mountain, standing in the middle of a city and soaking it all up.”
Where Wellness Meets Fragrance – VYRAO
Tapping into the growing link between fragrance and the wider wellness space comes new fragrance brand, Vyrao. Inspired by her training in Reiki and energetic medicine, founder Yasmin Sewell explains: “I wanted to create a multi-dimensional wellbeing brand that looked at not just what we eat and drink, but how we feel. The connection between our emotions and physical body is a subject I feel deeply passionate about.”
Using plant and flower remedies believed to have emotional benefits, each Vyrao fragrance evokes a specific feeling – from iris and bergamot to clear and cleanse, to orris absolute for creativity and courage. Look a little closer and you’ll see glistening Herkimer diamond (an energetically charged quartz) for a little bit of magic inside each bottle.