There is something quite magical about wondering into a little alley and finding an exquisite little store filled with wondrous ‘O’bjects’ like totally unique perfumes. Ones that feel like your own secret bottles capped off in a Victorian bottle, glass that hints and shimmers back at you, its alluring scent caught within. What about a little bit of precious taffeta tied in a bow at the stopper, it shimmers and twinkles like its winking at you, letting you peek through its veiled sexuality.
You may just have walked in the Angela Flanders store in London’s Spitalfields , 4 Artillery Passage London E1 7LJ. The area feels so Dickinson it’s not surprising to fall upon such a delightful little box of a store. (it is one of two, the other being in Columbia Road flower market London). If by chance this is you then you are in luck as the brand has a wonderful heritage.
Angela’s original career was not perfume but a costume designer for television then moving into interior design. Her defining career changing moment was in 1995 when she saw the book Aromatics published by Mitchelle Beazley and so started her second life path. She had always been fascinated by the history of perfume and began to work towards creating scents from her imagination and inspiration.
Her first store was in Columbia road (with the middle of the hustle and bustle of the flower market) which was in 1982 selling creative ‘bric-a-brac and featured bowls of scented pot-puri . It was the success of her the spice -and-orange blend that got customers asking her to create fragrances. And so Angela Flanders perfume collection was born. The awards were not far behind in 2006/7, Angela Flanders Figre Noire was nominated for a FiFi Award. Then in 2010 the shop won The London Magazine‘s Great Little Shop Award and also in September 2012 her fragrance Precious One, won the Fragrance Foundation FiFi Award for Best New Independent Fragrance.
Precious One was initially created for her daughter Kate Evans’s Precious boutique and has become a bestseller with both men and women: rich, intense, a Chypre with velvety, mossy aspects and a beautifully resinous finale. Kate has now taken over the mantle at the company as sadly Angela herself passed away in 2016. She worked alongside her mother, and knows many of the formulae that her mother created but never launched, so the latest from the brand is called Taffeta.
It opens with a soft top note of hyacinth , iris and rose which straight away is like a fluffy pillowy classic french hit. The heart is of course an exploration of Taffeta with hints of smoky vetiver, calamus (an essential oil valued in the perfume and is also used as a flavour for pipe tobacco, with the root being one of the possible ingredients of absinthe). and sparkling civet in it’s base. It feels sophisticated in a classic way but with its middle and base it hits at a totally modern fragrance. It’s warming to the soul dreamy yet unexpected.
According to the brand:-
“Taffeta captures the early evening when dusk starts to fall, and we prepare to embark on an evening adventure. The elegant dry and mysterious quality of silk taffeta, which appears to change with the light, is the inspiration for this elusive and elegant perfume”.
Taffeta is the second fragrance in the Atelier Collection, a new series of perfumes inspired by a shared family history of textiles translated into perfumes.
Now if you have not been lucky enough to stumble into one of the two stores, we highly recommend you do. The brand is like the best insider brand within the industry. Known by them for exceptional fragrances. So get down to one of the two stores for a visit and a rare bit of time spent in total indulgence
Perfume shot by Jason Yates