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My scents, my style

Forget one signature scent. Fragrance gurus reveal why they have a whole perfume wardrobe – and how to maximize yours

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veryone has a different relationship with fragrance. Whether it’s about picking perfumes to suit your mood, your wardrobe or even your to-do list, a person’s choice of scent reveals a lot about them. What we wear, the personal memories, the emotions it evokes… ‘It’s like a magic mood improver,’ says Josephine Fairley, co-founder of The Perfume Society.

 

‘Smell and emotion are located in the same network of brain structures, known as the limbic system,’ she adds. ‘Scientists believe that’s why smells can so instantly trigger the memory of a person or a place – something we all surely love about perfume.’ And as the culture of mindfulness has made us more attuned to our emotions, it’s no wonder the days of having just one signature scent are long gone. ‘The more we learn about fragrance, the more interested and confident in it we become, and long to explore further,’ explains Josephine. ‘And there’s no better way of doing that than experimenting with how different perfumes make you feel – about yourself and the wider world.’

 

To help you find your perfect scent, we discover how perfume plays a part in the different lifestyles and personalities of these three fragrance aficionados.

‘My perfume is connected to my moods and memories’

Anita

Anita Bhagwandas is the beauty director of Stylist Magazine and won the perfume industry’s prestigious Jasmine Award for her writing on the emotional effects of scent.

 

‘Fragrance for me is deeply connected to nostalgia and emotions. When I was a child in India, my grandad performed healing rituals using sandalwood paste, and even today it’s a smell that brings back memories of carefree, sunny days. Scents featuring sandalwood help me feel calm and cared for.

 

I also gravitate towards fragrances that suit my mood. At this time of year, I’m instantly transported to the iconic scents my mum used to wear. Powerful, confident statement-makers, such as Dior Poison, which she’d pair with a glamorous sari for a night out. That was the first time I really associated perfume with a person as a means of identifying them, so even now those scents remind me of her.

 

In my youth I was drawn to more gender-neutral fragrances, such as Tommy Girl and Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia, which didn’t feel like you were trying to be grown-up. But now that my tastes have matured, I’m all about the glamour – which is a throwback to my mum.’

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‘Scent powers me through my day’

Kathy

Kathy Phillips is the founder of beauty brand This Works, created as an antidote to the pressures of modern life. Childhood summers in the south of France led to a passion for natural fragrance and aromatherapy.

 

‘In my job, I’m constantly on the go. Whether I’m in meetings in Japan or on photo shoots in New York, I look to fragrance to help energise me. If I’m going to an event straight from work, I use one of the scents I keep in the office. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, with its energy-boosting notes of neroli and orange, is a favourite, while Clinique Aromatics Elixir is also gorgeous and very sexy – I wear just a tiny bit, on my pulse points or clothes.

 

To recharge each morning, wherever I am, I get up early and take a bath using my This Works Energy Bank Bath Oil. The products I create are all about fragrance and what smell does for you. The ylang-ylang neroli and geranium, in this bath oil keep me going while I’m rushing around. For off-duty, I like colognes, such as Dior Eau Sauvage – it’s the perfect tonic after a busy week.’

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‘Fragrance is my fashion accessory’

Navaz

Navaz Batliwalla, author and stylist, is fascinated with the visual and sensorial power of perfume. In her book, The New Garconne: How To Be A Modern Gentlewoman, she explores how our scent choices are as important as the clothes we wear.

 

‘As a visual person, I smell with my eyes and choose my scent according to what I’m wearing. I have a well-stocked “fragrance wardrobe” of around 20 bottles. My perfume journey began in the 90s, when I was seduced by the evocative Calvin Klein ad campaigns for Eternity, which was the perfect accessory to my laid-back style. Scents with more masculine notes added a frisson of sex appeal to my uniform of tuxedo trousers and boyfriend sweaters. Dior Fahrenheit is another favourite, although the idea of gendered fragrances feels a bit unfashionable now – my newest elixir of choice, Tom Ford Grey Vetiver, swings both ways in the gender department.

 

I love contrasting a gentlemanly cologne with a delicate silk blouse, or Estee Lauder’s beachy Bronze Goddess* with winter knits. I also like the sensual theatre of applying perfume, and although I know I shouldn’t be, I’m easily swayed by a beautiful, tactile bottle – such as that of Hugo Boss The Scent For Her – as much as the smell. It’s all part of the transformation.’

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FRAGRANCE KNOW-HOW

Don’t be influenced by a pretty bottle. The most important thing to consider when buying a new perfume is how it smells on your skin. Oil levels in different skin types can affect the aroma of a fragrance, so try (for a good few hours) before you buy.

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    Don’t be influenced by a pretty bottle. The most important thing to consider when buying a new perfume is how it smells on your skin. Oil levels in different skin types can affect the aroma of a fragrance, so try (for a good few hours) before you buy.

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    Fragrance is like wine: stored correctly, it will help the aroma stay fresh. Don’t keep your bottles in direct sunlight or under harsh lights, as the heat can affect the fragrance oils and change the smell.

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    Never rub your wrists together when you apply perfume – it makes the top notes fade faster, which affects the overall aroma.

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    Perfume will evaporate faster on dry skin. Help it last longer by ensuring your skin is well hydrated with a nourishing body lotion before you spritz.

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NEW SCENTS FOR YOUR STYLE

Whether it’s fashion, emotion or mood that inspires your perfume choice, here are the latest to try…

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For the mood New D&G The One, £54/5,400 points (50ml, edt). An energising floral that will set you up for a long day or act as a pick-me-up after work.

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For feeling romantic New Michael Kors Sexy Ruby, £66/6,600 points (50ml, edp). Get loved up with rose, jasmine and cashmere wood.

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For the fashionista New Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal, £63.50/6,350 points (50ml, edp), combines blood orange, patchouli and chic bottle.

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For making a statement Kenzo World, £63/6,300 points (50ml, edp). In super-cool packaging, this is a bold, intoxicating floral scent with notes of peony and jasmine.

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*Limited edition, available from June while stocks last.

Words Navaz Batliwalla. Illustration JOGBjogb.co.uk

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