Have you ever wanted a fragrance that feels as soft as a velvet party dress? Or one that is as sensuous as a satin lapel on an evening suit?
This season’s fashion trends have seen an abundance of gloriously textural fabrics to wear for both day and evening. Blame the creative mind of Alessandro Michele at Gucci for this, his ability to throw an embossed satin bomber jacket over a shot-velvet shirt and metallic-thread pleated skirt has inspired a rush to all things textual and sensuous.
Rather magically, this idea works beautifully for fragrance too, since the new releases from some of our favourite brands reflect this exploration of rich textures. So, you can be fashionably on-trend with both your clothes and your perfume.
Heading out to party in a sumptuously silky shirt? Then pick a fragrance that drapes and glides over you with the same fluid ease. If you are stepping out in a softly crushed velvet dress, then a perfume that compliments the luscious texture of the velvet nap is required. A metallic damask weave suit with satin lapels? You’ll be needing a shimmery fragrance that enhances your joyful aura.
Alternatively you might just enjoy playing with fragrance that feel multi-layered and delicious against your skin as we head towards the party season.
Whatever the need, here’s is our edit of the best fragrances to wear.
This delicious amber vanilla from Maison Francis Kurkdjian is one of our top fragrances of 2016. It was inspired by a night-time walk through Paris, Francis Kurkdjian’s home town, when the city lights twinkle mischeviously at the expectation of a great evening out. Grand Soir features beautifully blurred, warm resin notes of cistus labdanum, benzoin and amber, to create a fragrance base that is so sensual and textural, it almost feels like you can touch it on your skin. There’s a quiet thread of spiced tonka bean (a cross between coffee and vanilla) that hints at a bohemian soul. It’s a fine cashmere evening scarf on warm skin, a brush of soft satin lining on a jacket, or a trail of toasty richness on the inside of a fine wool evening coat left abandoned by its owner in pursuit of fun. In effect, a well dressed good time, waiting to happen.
Perfectly gender free, this would make a great gift too, should you need to impress. Everyone who we’ve trailed it with at WWP has loved it, it’s what we call a crowd-pleaser.
If there’s anyone who understands the intimate relationship between seductive clothes and fragrance, it’s Mr Ford, whose stint at the aforementioned Gucci and now with his eponymous Tom Ford line, make him one of life’s experts on the subject. His new Les Extraits Vert range from the Private Blend collection features, Vert de Bois, Vert d’Encens and Vert Boheme, all highlight the uplifting value of greeny, resiny notes. We love them all, but it’s Verte Boheme, with its softly scented trail of honeysuckle, mandarin and magnolia, anchored with gustavia wood (no ordinary wood for Mr Ford) and overlaid with an uplifting layer of green that connects with the textural depth of say, a velvet tuxedo suit.
The very faint hint of lustful patchouli, never far away in the Tom Ford range, gives it a slightly 70s feel (another decade having a fashion moment) and the smoky, smudged sexiness of the rich magnolia against the resin base makes for quite an intoxicating mix. Hold onto your diamonds if you’re venturing out with this as your invisible companion.
The Hotel Costes can be found on Rue Saint Honore, one of the chicest of Parisian streets and full of extremely stylish fashion stores (Colette is one not to miss and Chanel is just around the corner). It is a richly sensuous experience just stepping through the doors, the lighting is decadently dimmed, the curtains and walls are a deep scarlet velvet, the low and enticing couches are seductively inviting and staff seem impossibly beautiful, all wearing their uniforms as only the French can.
Not many people know the hotel has a fragrance line (the scented candles are used for atmosphere through out the hotel) which encapsulates all of these sensual characteristics. Red Eau De Toilette, by Costes is our pick for recreating the allure of all those layers of rich sensuality, it’s like a wrap of crimson velvet. The fragrance uses rosewood, musk and incense for a warm, smooth base layer, onto which a spiced gin and tonic note, with a touch of herby laurel, adds sparkle and zing, in the way a beautiful jewelled brooch might enliven an evening dinner suit. Much like the Hotel, it is a quiet seducer and keeps a low profile, you need to get close to appreciate its charms. To be worn with caution.
The fashionably well read among you will know Diana Vreeland as the ultra-chic editor who worked at both Harper’s Bazaar and US Vogue, where she was editor-in-chief. Her witty, if a little unrealistic, fashion tips for her Why Don’t You? column in Harper’s Bazaar have become fashion legend. One of our favourites being ‘Why don’t you rinse your blonde child’s hair in dead champagne to keep it gold, as they do in France?’ Why not indeed. She wore perfume enthusiastically and her sense of style has now been extended to an eponymous perfume range by her grandson Alexander (read our interview with him here).
From the rich, extrait-strength, Outrageous collection, Simply Divine is a heady floral that slips onto the skin like a cool satin wrap. Using a modern, bright tuberose note, this fragrance has a soft touch of orange blossom to lift the opening moments of the scent, through which the sensual floral eventually glows. After which the neck-nuzzling amber note provides warmth and weight, much like a heavy quality silk adds richness to the feel of a cocktail dress. We’re also fans of the EDP collection too, which offers similarly lovely scents at a lower price point.
Those who know the well priced and excellent quality range of fragrances from L’Occitane may be delighted to know that the brand has just reissued some of its popular heritage scents, as the Les Classiques de L’Occitane collection. One of our favourites is Ambre, a warm, luscious scent that hints of toasty rum and vanilla woven through an intense amber fug, an exceptionally good value fragrance for such a beautiful concoction. It also has a wonderful cedar wood dry down that conjures up fragrant skin, groomed and powdered, ready for a special night on the town.
All Images Richard Foster. Retouching by Jon Gibson Skinner