Boxed Scent

By Jo Phillips

Maybe known to you but maybe not, there is a long history of leather and perfume being very good bedfellows.  From the royal courts of Europe comes the tradition of scenting leather to hide its heinous smell.  The pairing of these two crafts now sees a new chapter with exclusive scent brand, Creed, adding a unique leather Explorer Collection of luxury accessories developed in collaboration with Olivier Creed and inspired by years of heritage and craftsmanship to their story. A celebration of history, craft and scent. Find out more in Boxed Scent by Creed.

Here in Boxed Scent, we explore a little of the history of where scent and leather first come together. Initially seen in perfumed gloves in the royal houses across Europe. Scented gloves quite simply came about because tanning of leather was a rather ugly smelling business.  In order to create the finest of skins, the tanning process includes actually using animal excrement to the process.  This of course meant the leather did not exactly smell sweet.

The fashion for women to wear leather gloves in courts across Europe was expensive and luxurious yet one that didn’t exactly ‘glow’ delightfully.  It was supposedly an enterprising 16th-century Italian marquis, Muzio Frangipane, who first thought to infuse the gloves with scent to mask the putrid natural post tannery smell. He is credited with inventing an almond-based fragrance to hide the strong. Not only were perfumed gloves borne but also frangipane cream used in patisserie. 

Interestingly gloves could be scented with different perfumes and so gloves could be changed multiple times in a day and fragrances used at the time included things like perfumed oils infused, cloves, cinnamon, sandalwood, and ambergris the red jasmine flower, often supplemented with rose, and musk.

This fashion (but something that seems almost like a necessity) was keenly observed across the royal courts of Europe with people like Catherine de Medici, (1519 – 1589), wife of the French King Henry II, being amongst the most fashionable of the time, to adopt it.

Remembered as a powerful political player at the French court rather than being known for her fashion sense she was oft-applauded for her experimentation with fashion. An early adopter of new beauty rituals she was noted for being the first to don high heels in France on her wedding day, and it was her that chiefly introduced the famed perfumed gloves to the French court.

Interestingly, she was also accused of poisoning another woman in the court via scented gloves too.  Although these were only rumours they persisted, and the poisoned gloves became the weapon depicted in Alexandre Dumas’ novel, La Reine Margot (1845).

In the UK, in 1760, a pair of scented leather gloves were delivered to King George III by a new London tailoring company. Founded by James Henry Creed in the same year as the young King’s accession, the House of Creed started its journey as an exquisite tailor based in Mayfair, London.

The House went forward to create some of the finest garments and fragrances for the discerning and the discriminating for over 260 years, shifting from its tailoring heritage into one of the world’s leading niche perfume houses.

Relocating from London to Paris in 1854, at the request of Napoleon III and his Empress, Eugénie, because they were appointed by this dynamic ‘duo’ to become the official supplier to the royal household.

It was here in their  Paris headquarters, that Creed built on their legacy scents for men and women and over the centuries, the family have produced over 200 perfumes from father to son through seven generations.

The craft of fragrance creation is very much at the heart of the brand and they talk of the age-old infusion technique they use (abandoned by so many as very costly) as “Millesime”.  The word comes from the world of wine, translating from the French to mean ‘a great vintage’. In the wine industry, vintage wine refers to a particular year and place from which the quality of the wine was superb. Here the crafts of the two traditions are interchangeable through this description.  Add in the craft of leather and this new story comes alive.

This year, and not done since 1760, the House of Creed introduces a collection of exclusive leather products, developed closely with Master Perfumer, Olivier Creed,  named the Leather Explorer Collection.

The collection comprises three trunks, two perfume sleeves and two candleholders.  All have been hand-crafted using the finest Italian burgundy leather completed with a beautiful royal grey suede interior.

Inspired by his father’s oceanic travels, Olivier Creed looked to the design of the trunks that boarded the Empress of Canada from Vancouver to Kobe to develop this unique collection. After seeing photographs of his father next to the stacked trunks and delicate vanity cases, Olivier knew this would be the perfect way to store some of Creed’s most treasured fragrances with exquisite objets d’art. A repeat pattern that is reminiscent of the elegant styling of the time is prominent as these exquisite hand-crafted Italian leather accessories become the perfect travelling companion.

Available in three formats, these trunks were created using the exclusive monogrammed Creed leather with polished brass hardware on the lock and feet. An exquisite brass branded plaque on the inside completes these incredible objects d’art and the interior bottle fixture is removable, transforming luxury gifting into beautiful accessories.

The first of the three trunks fit two 100ml fragrances, the second is designed to fit three 75ml Royale Exclusive bottles and the third, an ode to travel, fits two 250ml from the Heritage and Royale Exclusives collection, including a Creed leather travel-friendly atomiser.

The beautifully crafted candles are available in three formats 220g, 650g and 1680g, in the delicate scents of Birmanie Oud and Vanisia. Inspired by Olivier Creed’s travels around the globe, they are presented in a brand-new glass vessel and dressed in burgundy leather for the medium and large size formats.

A sublime leather perfume sleeve completes the collection and is the perfect travel companion for a 100ml fragrance or best-selling female fragrance, Aventus for Her (75ml) adding an extra special thought to seasonal gifting.

Craftsmanship in all its forms is present here in this heritage yet modern collection.  Each container travelling with it the history not just of perfumed leather but the stories and history of the family of the house and the very DNA of the creed brand.

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