- 18th April
- 15th April
- 6th March
- 18th February
When someone is seeking, said Siddhartha, it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means; to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse
- 8th February
The second day at Elements was probably even better than first for me. I found myself feeling more comfortable in my own skin, which made it easier to talk to others (I finally met Raphaella Barkley from The Perfume Magazine, we’d worked together but never met in real life!)
The day started out with the Robertet hosted Ylang-Ylang workshop, moderated by Miriam Vareldzis. The panel of perfumers was impressive: Olivia Jan, Sarah Horowitz and David Moltz of D.S. & Durga (I wish I had mustered up the courage to talk to him and his beautiful wife!)
Did you know that Ylang-Ylang blooms and is cultivated year round? Did you know that the flowers have a strong yield because of their water content? I thought I knew a lot about this wonderous flower, but it just goes to show that, in the world of perfumery, you are always learning. (yay)
Olivia created an interesting fragrance using Lisylang Coeur, a fractionated version of the original essential oil. She named it Evening at Golden Eye, with accompanying ingredients of pimenta berries and vetiver. David created a very intriguing scotch inspired blend called Speyside (a man after my own heart! I’ve been super into whiskeys in the last year or so, this was very well done). Finally, Sarah crafted a lovely floral blend and called it Eau De Light - sweet, whimsical and full of depth, just like her.
Another workshop later that day discussed the concept of ‘what is niche?’ The panel focused on bringing it all back to the art of it all. Reminding us that there needs to be a certain intimacy with the product. Nicole Miller of Blackbird Apothecary reiterated the need for limited distribution to really be considered niche. But again, we were left with many questions. This seems to be an ongoing discussion that will take a while to figure out. Maybe we should just stop labelling things? All I know, is that artisans nowadays deserve recognition and if you make something yourself, focus on the art of it all, stay true to your vision, and be found in small boutiques owned by people like yourself; you are niche, you are special, you are one of a kind.
April Aromatics have some yummy natural perfumes, very zen. Love the tie-in with yoga.
Meeting Maria Candida Gentile was an absolute honour. She is humble and very creative, and her work speaks volumes, what a treat!
Juliet Stewart is such a sweetheart. She had a dream and she brought it to life! Her perfume Juliet is exquisite, very Mediterranean, floral, fresh, with a hint of exotic. And made in Italy!
Enchanted Forest created under the brand The Vagabond Prince was a definite standout. Introduced by Elena Knezhevich of Fragrantica and created by Mr. Fabuleux himself Bertrand Duchaufour. I love Cassis, so this was a thrill for me, a whole perfume designed around this one material? YES! Also, I have to admit, their set up was very eye catching and their bottle is very unique. So well done!
Shout out to Carner Barcelona, for being nominated and for their fourth place finish. I love Rima XI and Tardes is very special to me. I remember seeing them at Min New York a couple of years back and have seen their progress since.
Joya came out with a limited edition solid fragrance called Ames Soeurs which was beautifully crafted (there were only 15 of them!) Also, I can’t stop wearing Composition No. 1. The bottle design is one of the most creative things I’ve seen and I enjoy the perfume wand, I think more brands should go back to that classical way of placing perfume on oneself. I also love how the brand collaborates with all sorts of different artists (see their limited edition candle case handcrafted by London based designer Oliver Ruuger).
I finally got to smell Arquiste’s Boutonniere No. 7 and it was everything I hoped it would be. I tried it on my own skin and on one of my roommates when I got back and it was so interesting to see how it evolved differently. On me, it was a bloom of gardenia petals, on him, a lot more woody with a hint of dry greens. Loved it!
I didn’t get a chance to take many pictures because I was just too busy experiencing everything! I want to express my big thank you’s to everyone involved in Elements. I hope to return to New York and to the showcase very very soon! You have no idea what this trip did for me, I’m finally on track and very very inspired. Until next time!
- 7th February
These perfumes: musk, clove…all from the hyacinthine shadows of those tresses. You think you hear a nightingale’s song…No. It’s the voice of the Rose.
Fakhruddin Iraqi - Persian Poet
(as seen in Tommi Sooni’s sample booklet - very impressionable)
- 7th February
I have to admit, I had been eagerly awaiting my trip to New York for months. I registered for Elements as soon as registration was open. I was super excited to meet all these talented people, smell gorgeously crafted perfumes and to be in that kind of environment in general.
Elements 2013 did not disappoint!
I got there in a hurry (rushing over from Brooklyn), got my badge and was greeted by Mr. Bouchardy himself (one of the founders of the showcase and of the remarkable Joya). I walked through the scented space and went right up to the sixth floor where the rest of the showcase was happening.
The space (on both floors) was clean, spacious, beautifully designed and very sweet smelling. I had the infinite pleasure of finally meeting the always exciting Ida Meister and wonderfully welcoming Sarah Horowitz (I’ll be reviewing her perfumes as soon as I get over the flu) and my day just got better from there. I was finally meeting people I had ‘cyber-met’ - in person! It was a joy to connect to people who share the same passion. There was a great sense of camaraderie and support, which for me, was very reassuring and quite inspiring.
I found my way to Yosh Han’s booth (Hi Yosh!) and was very lucky to receive a mini-chakra reading. She gave me some wonderful advice, which I think pertains to many; to keep steady, to understand that the best way to get through something is to understand where and who you are first.
(courtesy of Yosh Han)
Now onto the perfumes: Tommi Sooni was a big hit with me. I had been on their website, which was beautiful. I was very impressed with their perfumes because they were classic and well-crafted. They stood out because the packaging was well-designed and they didn’t have too much frou-frou, simple and refined. The sample pack given to me by the creative director Steven Broadhurst was gorgeous - I really enjoyed Eau de Tommi Sooni II (I can’t explain how much I love florientals). This had a hint of Dune for me, which is a good thing. I love how the Australian Daphne flower is incorporated here. Aussie represent! Also, Tarantella is sublime; complex, full of depth and filled with some extraordinary raw materials. (aldehydes, orange blossom, frangipani, Anatolian rose, sandalwood, among many others).
I finally got a chance to smell Olfactive Studio’s collection, and I was taken away by the perfect connection between the photographs and the perfumes. Lumière Blanche is so well done. It almost has that same hot/cold effect JCE’s L’Eau d’Hiver has, which is a remarkable feat. I can’t give this collection enough credit in a small paragraph, so please go check them out.
I finally got to meet Anne McClain (and her lovely sister) of MCMC Fragrances, who had graduated from the Grasse Institute of Perfumery a year before I did. What a pleasure! We shared some of our experiences living in France and some of our perfumes. I loved her collection, all inspired by her memories, of people, of places…you could smell the love! Phoenix was a personal favourite.
Shout out to Ulrich Lang, also one of the founders of the showcase, who was super gracious and had a smile on his face the whole two days! Thank you for creating such a well-crafted lightscape! It is a great departure from the dihydromyrcenol filled men’s fragrances. This is light, cushiony and refreshing.
Also, Barb Stegemann of The 7 Virtues, is an amazing woman. I instantly recognized her because her collection is available at The Bay, here in Canada. Her story is so inspiring. She even gave me an autographed book and told me to remember one thing: “It’s not about perfection, it’s about excellence, so go for it!” Referring here to my collection (I’ve been working on it for a long time, and I think it’s time I share it with the world…soon soon!) - Make Perfume not War!
I think there are too many things to mention, so I’ll just dive right into the end of the evening. The Fragrance Foundation named the winner of the best ‘Indie Fragrance’ where By Kilian’s Amber Oud won. I love the idea of introducing this category….let’s go more indie next time!
Stay tuned for highlights from Day 2.
- 6th February
I finally got the chance to see Chandler Burr’s scent exhibition at the MAD. While there are a whole bunch of people who have blogged about this experience and have their opinions (good and bad), mine was a short learning experience filled with absolute gratitude. Why? Well, because this was the first time I had every seen anything like this and while the perfumes were nothing new to me, I appreciated the thought that went into creating a scented space such as this.
I went with my darling Ashley, who had been kind enough to host my entire stay in New York (thanks babe, you’re the best!)
As soon as the elevator doors opened, the blend of all scents hit us in the face and we looked at each other and smiled. As if we both had been struck by some beautiful force, giving us chills, instant gratification, and a whole lot of excitement.
The Star Wars-esque introduction text on the ground was appealing and a good way to start the exhibition. Twelve perfumes - from Jicky to Untitled…I wish there was more!
The scent-diffusion technology was interesting; some guy came up to us at one point claiming he had “a great nose for these things” and practically said that none of the perfumes ‘smelled the same’. Even though we didn’t disagree, it is important to point out that because these perfumes were not in liquid form (and specifically formulated for this kind of diffusion technique), of course they smell different! It’s all about the delivery.
Another way to smell the perfumes was available: by placing smelling strips in clear vats, all in a row on a long transparent table.
The silica scent-infused balls would shoot out each scent in intervals. While I thought the look of it all was a little strange (butt hole pods anyone?), I loved the ‘sound of breathing’ that was produced as a result. I found it to be quite meditative.
Also, I would go back there any day just to see the wonderfully talented Sophia Grojsman’s creative process. I thought it was a great idea and it left me craving more! Trésor is one of my all time favourite perfumes, can you believe it was made over 20 years ago?
All in all, a great start to what I like to believe is a new direction for perfumery. Making it more accessible to the public is a way to shed light onto the industry. Yes, the perfumes are all commercial. Yes, they are best-sellers…but how many exhibitions have you seen about scent and the world of perfume? This paves the way for more. For the future development of interactive scent installations, for acceptance of the art of perfumery, for niche perfumers to showcase their independent works in a new fashion etc…
And let’s give credit where credit is due, it is still interesting to see Burr’s train of thought here. He constructed an olfactive evolutionary narrative for anyone and everyone. So it’s just the beginning people!
I’m totally kicking myself for not being able to see the Art & Scent exhibition at the Dillon Gallery, if you get a chance to see it, go for it! You know it’s going to be good when Christophe Laudamiel is behind it!
- 5th February
- 24th January
Asked by: lilydee
I’m glad you’re looking to pursue perfumery!
Long story short, I found the Grasse Institute of Perfumery and applied. It was a process of a few months. I applied, then waited, then got lucky enough to sit down to an interview with Clement Gavarry! And the rest, as they say is history!
- 23rd January
The painter learns to see, the pianist learns to listen, I learned to smell. But it’s a question of the brain, not of the nose, and you learn it simply by experience. Everyone can smell everything I can smell, but they don’t know how to understand it, distinguish elements, or how to speak about it. That’s why I’m a perfumer. I would say it took ten years to know, twenty to master.
- 16th January
- 8th January
- 31st December
- 11th December
When people ask me how I come up with a formula for a new perfume, I’m not sure I know myself. It’s like a wild bird that sings only when nobody’s watching. In a way, perfumery is like other creative processes, such as writing or painting, where you might have a theme or know what colours you’re going to use, but where there’s still that element of magic and it just comes out of you. Sure, creating a fragrance involves equations and formulas…but at its heart it’s an emotional process, evoking all sorts of things.A Life in the Day: Daniela Andrier, the UK Times Online.