Looking for a new fragrance?
Perhaps a seductive cocktail of blood, sweat, semen, breast milk and saliva all wrapped up in a simple perfume bottle will be your perfect choice!
Last week I attended an exhibition at Somerset House in London –
‘Perfume – A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent’.
Believe it or not there is actually a fragrance combining these bodily fluids – Secretions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d’Orange, which I had the pleasure (or not!) of experiencing.
As a Training Manager for the Beauty Hall at Selfridges and National Training Manager for L’Occitane I regularly ran fragrance workshops and master classes. I love everything about fragrance and it’s a big part of my work as a Holistic Therapist. Which is why I booked a ticket for this exhibition.
‘Perfume – A Sensory Journey’ looks at how perfume is changing and stretches the boundaries of what we think about fragrance. It’s not just blood or sweat that is going up in the popularity stakes either – dust, hot tarmac, fog (!) are part of a new bunch of ingredients that are making their way into these new century fragrances. Nowadays we want more from our perfumes, to be challenged, to be told a story or to be taken on a journey. This exhibition illustrates the new synthetic ingredients being used (those made in a laboratory) and a brand new generation of perfumers who are breaking away from the mainstream fragrance industry.
The exhibition is an multi-sensory olfactory journey through some of the most influential perfumes of the last twenty years. There are ten different fragrances in ten different rooms. Each one is presented in its own unique way and you are invited to experience it and note down your thoughts. I must say I was a bit dubious when I was confronted with crumpled up sheets on a bed. I knew what I was about to smell may not be a bed of roses. Little did I know it was ‘Secretions Magnifiques!’ Although at the time I didn’t know this. What a whiff!! Not something I want to be dabbing behind my ears before a night out!!
After smelling each fragrance it is revealed what perfume you have encountered. It was a real eyeopener. At the end of the exhibition I attended a fragrance mini master class where two dedicated perfumers demonstrated what goes into constructing a fragrance.
More than any other fragrance – Secretions Magnifiques really made me question what people want from a fragrance and how the fragrance industry is changing. The rise of the internet has allowed budding perfumers (or artists) to work without the boundaries there once was, getting access to new ingredients and formulations. It’s this, coupled with a more informed audience using websites and blogs dedicated to perfume, that have propelled these niche fragrances into the market .
Exciting times, but I think I’ll stick with my faithful fragrances for now.
This exhibition is still on at Somerset House until this Saturday 23rd September 2017 £11a ticket.