Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Seeing Scents

So I recently changed my perfume. I had been wearing Coco Mademoiselle for the last year and it was nearly done so I switched to Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue. It's a bit fresher and younger and it's the kind of smell you can settle into easily. It comes on a little strong at first but relaxes quickly. Remind you of anyone?

The evolution of scent, of your personal scent, is actually something I find very interesting. Whenever someone asks "if you had to lose one of your senses which would you lose?" everyone almost always answers with smell. I can easily understand why but I do think your sense of smell is a greatly underrated asset. Smells can instantly evoke memories and feelings better than, I would say, photographs.

Freshly cut grass. Salty sea air. Your mamas cooking. They're cliches but there are reasons why these scents come up time and again as favourites. For me, freshly cut grass reminds me of being 7 and playing out in the field behind my house during the summer holidays until dusk. Sea air reminds me of family holidays and jumping the waves with my brother and sister. Mamas cooking, well, that one is pretty self explanatory. All of these scents, universally, transport you to a time when you remember feeling happy.

Sometimes guys walk past me in the street and as I catch a little of their scent I instantly remember a past lover. A specific date or occasion and, usually, how elated I felt at the time. It almost never fails to make me smile. Late nights, big conversations, feeling excited and light headed and like everything in the world is big and you are a part of it. All teenage boyfriends smelt like Lynx or, if they were a bit classy, Hugo Boss. Every man north of York and a DJ I used to date wear Issey Miyake. A fairly chubby photographer I knew for a while ironically wore Dior Sport.

My own scent history is, I guess, similar to most women my age. As a child I always smelt of earth as I spent hours digging up the garden searching for bits of pottery (sorry Ma). Then, when I went to secondary school, it suddenly seemed like the biggest deal to wear scented deodorant and blue eye shadow and thongs from Tammy Girl. So I spent a good few years channeling the bad end of Superdrug. After that, at about 16, it was all about which celebrity perfume you were wearing. My personal preference was for J-Lo Summer Glow which I still feel an affection for. It's ridiculously sweet and smells like a pina-colada, all coconuts and mangos. At university an ex-boyfriend bought me Armani Code one Christmas and it's still one of the sexiest scents I can think of.

One day I want to make a trip down to Grasse and  √ąze, the home of perfume. I can't imagine a greater luxury than having your own personal scent made for you. I read an interview with Daphne Guinness once and it's been in my head ever since. The novel Perfume by Patrick Suskind, set in the region, tells about a perfumer who goes to brutal lengths trying to bottle the scents that he loves. Oscar de la Renta has just launched a collection of 6 perfumes created from the memories he has of different homes around the world.

Smell can create visions, characters, emotions. Take note of this sense. Just stop and take time to smell the roses.

by Bean

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A way for two best friends to share the things that inspire them across a vast expanse of water