From wet concrete to baby powder, the latest additions to the fragrance markets are tapping an altogether more playful spirit.
Byredo has introduced a fragrance called Elevator Music, created in partnership with Virgil Abloh, the newly appointed Louis Vuitton menswear director. Elevator Music is described as subtle yet captivating: “we wanted the scent to play a background to life,” Abloh told Vogue.com. Byredo has also collaborated with Dutch photographers Inez & Vinoodh to create 1996, a fragrance inspired by that year and part of the general current affection for the 1990s.
Anya Hindmarch’s latest scented candle line takes a similarly witty tone. It includes Toothpaste, a fresh scent with spearmint, grapefruit rind and rhubarb stalk. Washing Powder was inspired by clean, sundried laundry, with notes of violet, cucumber and pine needles, while Lip Balm features notes of cherry, jasmine and musk. The range also features Coffee, Sun Lotion and Baby Powder scents.
Perfumer Lyn Harris collaborated with Hindmarch on the range. “These are everyday smells that are part of our lives, but my task was to make them smell sophisticated as well as capturing Anya’s humor,” she told Vogue.com. Sun Lotion, inspired by family summers, combines Italian bergamot and vanilla, and Baby Powder includes violet leaf from France to evoke “happy memories of new babies.”
Brooklyn-based fragrance brand DS & Durga takes a similarly whimsical tack with Concrete After Lightning, Portable Fireplace, Tomb of the Eagles and ‘85 Diesel. The brand also collaborated with Levi’s this year to create a fragrance inspired by a Levi’s leather jacket worn by Albert Einstein.
Others are less evocative and whimsical, and more provocative—see Tom Ford’s F*cking Fabulous.
What’s clear is that the ultra-serious, intellectualised approach to fragrance appreciation which has driven the boutique fragrance market for the past few years is moving on to something more free-spirited and fun. This new wave of fragrances is less about storytelling, provenance or transparency—all major trends of late. Instead, they focus on a state of mind and a mood that goes beyond literal references to specific fragrance notes. They also take a high-low approach. Hindmarch’s Toothpaste and Baby Powder, for example, draw on memory and on nostalgia for the everyday scents of yesteryear.
For more on scent and experiences read our latest SXSW 2018: Key trends.
Main image: Courtesy of D.S. & Durga. Photography by Scottie Cameron