It’s vogueish to escape into fantasy when you can’t escape in reality. The new word around perfume houses is “transportive”. Perfumes can release you from shutdown and take you places now physically off-limits,
A new Armani/Privé scent, Cyprès Pantelleria, launches in May conjuring up the wind blowing through the cypress trees on the Mediterranean island between Sicily and Tunisia.
Memo Paris (£215) is a brand centered on travel. Each perfume is part of an aromatic atlas, offering virtual tourism. From Marfa in Texas to the heart of Paris. Irishman John and Andalusian-Parisian Clara Molloy have drawn on their travels for their transportive portfolio. Available are Irish Leather, Luxor, Granada, and Kedu (Java) as well as Lalibela hair perfume and body cream. Tamarindo evokes a trip to Costa Rica and Inla Burma. The latest addition is Sintra (Portugal) by Philippe Paparella.
All the scents are about a desire for travels to far-off places and encounters, now suspended because of the pandemic.
“Les Échappées” is a collection of six mooring points. “Cuirs Nomades” explores the leather note through six emblematic destinations, from Africa to Italy.” Graines Vagabondes” sows the scent of natural seeds like sesame. “Art Land” pays tribute to mysterious territories transformed by the artistic hand of humankind.If you prefer Morocco to the Irish countryside there is Aesop Marrakesh Intense by Barnabe Fillion. The Atlas Mountain of north Algeria? Louis Vuitton Ombre Nomade. Scandinavia? Heia by Skandinavisk.
Further afield? Australia? Walk around Byron Bay and waterfalls of New South Wales with Dimitri weber’s Goldfield and Banks Bohemia Lime which evokes “the place where Australia first meets the sun”.
India? Etro Udapur or D.S, Durga Radio Bombay. A wander through ha Greek fig orchard then it has to be Diptyque Philsykos. Nick Stewart’s London-based Gallivant Bukhara by Ralf Schwieger whisks you off to Uzbekistan. Gallivant “fragrances for urban explorers” also offers you the much-missed and longed-for smells of Tel Aviv, Istanbul. Amsterdam and Brooklyn.
France is, of course, well represented by L’Occitane and others as is Italy by the likes of Acqua di Parma Blu Mediterranean, Arancia di Capri , Tom Ford Costa Azzurra and Ermenegildo Zegna Mediterranean Neroli – an olfactory Vespa ride down the Malfi coast! Zegna also does Madras and guaiac wood-forward Shanghai.
Perfume provides a way out of self-isolation and a reconnection with the outside world. The creations of perfumers like former forester and industrial designer Joshua Smith of Canada’s scent studio Libertine Fragrances help us appreciate the world around us to which we have been temporarily denied physical access. Smells evoke the outside world and unlock us from lockdown. Nature-nuanced fragrances help us get out and about again. And travel again.
Miss Layla of Frum considers patchouli her “smell of safety and comfort” because of its associations with mosquitoes and the Bayous Podunk. Likewise, Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic, and Banana Boat sunscreen bring back happy times living on the Colorado River in Arizona. Her perfumes help to re-experience places. They are “memories in a bottle”. Fragrance triggers memories.
Apparently, it’s all about conceptual rather than functional fragrance. Synesthesia, cognitive pathways and being connected to good moods and places, and re-living experiences through our noses. Functional fragrances are formulated to boost or improve mood or physical wellbeing have been gaining under Covid-19. Fragrances have taken a more emotive direction, providing both a means of escape and connection. The scent acts like your favorite playlist. Perfumers have become travel agents.
Proenza Schouler takes you to Arizona and Louis Vuitton around the world in twenty-two scents. Jacques Cavallier Belletrud took the helm of Louis Vuitton’s perfume division in 2012. His latest creation is ‘California Dream’. He has also created Coeur Battant. Egypt’s Shubra Blula’s fields are home to the world’s finest jasmine grandiflorum Moorea Island in Tahiti, French Polynesia is re-called aromatically by Contre Moi with vanilla blended with orange flower, rose, and magnolia.
Nathalie Vinciguerra’s Anima Vinci taps into the same power of sentimentality, nostalgia, dream, and perhaps frustration, providing comfort scents to remind us of happier times and places. And giving us all a long-needed and well-deserved holiday. Travel is in the air again. The world is at your fingertips and in the palm of your hand. Via a 1.7oz eau de toilette spray.