Fashion has always been a game of who-wore-it-best and what’s in or out this season. However, the industry is on a mission to make it more individual. More and more we see brands come up with ways to personalise fashion, whether it be custom knitwear from Pringle of Scotland, or customised Nike trainers all the way through to nail colours from Palette London making it your won is all the rage. Here are a few of the brands from make up via perfume to clothing that have dipped their toes in this growing trend. However, unlike our usual posts where things are presented in a general manner, I’m going to take this opportunity to share a few little secrets and personal insights into what is after all about personalising your own life…
I am a perfume addict..I kid you not, I probably go through two bottles of perfume a month, and I’m a liberal user..none of that saving for a special moment, as far as I am concerned, no woman (or man) is fully dressed without full grooming and a damn good spritz of something fragrant to set of an outfit and mood. I grew up with two parents who both liberally used good fragrance and even though they both are long gone, I cannot smell certain fragrances without thinking I am standing next to them. Not only that my mother was quite a gardener, so not only did she smell great her garden was always full of the most tempting of scents from the flora and fauna. I even used to go so far as to pick rose petals and put them in water thinking this was how perfume was made…ok, I was 5 at that time. Over the time that I have built .Cent magazine, I have been lucky enough to be able to indulge this passion (probably now more of an obsession). There is nothing quite as wonderful for me as being able to go to a launch of a new perfume and hear the ‘Nose’ talk me through the layers of fragrances that build to the final scent. It is a sophisticated art-form and one that I have been able to learn about by being part of this process, having now been to literally hundreds of launches. No, I never tire from it, may be because in my heart fragrance is the ultimate in Chic. Such an overused word I know, but my parents who were always perfectly turned out, who never had a hair out of place, always smelt sublime, so somewhere deep in my subconscious, fragrance to me is extremely comforting. Somewhat akin to a parental cuddle…In fact, when I hugged either of them I would breath deeply into them, and be wrapped on the warmth of which ever fragrance the would be wearing.
So as they are no longer with us having passed may years ago, is it really any wonder that I get so much joy from perfumes and aftershaves even? For me, fragrance is chic and it is love; the power to be emotionally transported somewhere by the slightest sniff. I will never forget going in my early 20’s going to Kew Gardens, I have no idea why three hardcore London clubbers decided that would make a good day out, but off we went. Halfway through the afternoon, we passed by a Rhododendron bush and I instantly was back in my childhood garden, 5 years old, picking the sticky flowers and sniffing them.
To give you a little idea to finish off why this matters in a world where everything is available, I must finally share one last story. Last week, it was my sister’s birthday, not a regular run of the mill, but one of these dates, big ones ending in another zero and another decade passed. What to get her, as with everyone else, she had everything she needs so it came down to what would she like? Something personal I felt. Knowing the new array of personalising now available, I choose to take a porcelain cup and saucer that had belonged to our grandmother and have a candle made into it. This was created by the amazing Rachel Vosper (see below). You will of course be pleased to know my sister loved it! I have been gifted by my parents the amazing love of perfume and a non apologetic attitude to dousing myself in the perfume to suit my mood. If you have not had that gift and may be are a little unsure, know it is never to late to start your own fragrance journey. Have a little look below at just some of the talented people and let them help you to choose a smell you wish to wear that will take you on your own scent journey.
Ex Nihilo Meaning “out of nothing”, this brand has taken their expertise on fragrance a step further, launching ‘The Art of Personalisation’. Selecting some of the most exceptional raw materials from around the world, and made by demand, Ex Nihilo gives clients a chance to create their own perfume. The whole process is done by an Ex Nihilo expert in collaboration with the client, from discussion around the raw materials, to weighing, filtering, and bottling; truly making the fragrance personal to the buyer. Each perfume in the collection can be personalised with the highest quality ingredients. This allows to sublimate the fragrance by highlighting one of the existing olfactive facet or by giving it a new creative twist.
‘I went to meet the Ex Nihlio team at the new store in Harrods London boutique, and sat with them as we went through all the fragrances, just in order to enjoy the fullness yet uniqueness of each of the scents in the brand. Cleverly, the names of each perfume is covered up so that no one can be drawn into a fragrance from the name alone, for example if you are a lover of rose, you may think you are going to love the Rose Hubris the best. However, this way you are working by smell alone, like a blind tasting allowing for no preconceptions to get in your way. After all, the scents are a perfect collision of ancient and modern that surprise the delight, the sense of smell, so why spoil the experience with pre-conceived ideas. After having perused all the perfumes, we sat and choose two that we could work with in order to create a one-off fragrance for me! We had a selection of notes that could work with my two chosen fragrances and slowly but surely we smelt every combination until I felt I had found a perfume blend that was uniquely me… The actual bottle of perfume was measured and mixed in a machine made uniquely for Ex Nihilo, a high-precision dosing machine they call the Osmologue of which there are only two currently in the world, the other being in their Paris store. I feel very ‘exclusive’ being able to liberally spray myself in what is in theory my own custom made perfume and would wholly recommend this as an excellent experience or as a wonderfully personal gift for someone special.’ Ormonde Jayne The Made to Measure service at Ormonde Jayne is a very rare and a very special opportunity to work directly with the brand on a concentrated perfume which is bottled in an exclusive 50ml perfume flagon.
Usually fragrances are available in perfume, eau de parfume, eau de toilette, or cologne form. The main differentiating factor of these is the concentration of aromatic compounds in a solvent, i.e. how much fragrance is in the formula’s composition. The more actual perfume concentrate contained, the longer the scent will last on skin. Hence, the price difference between Perfume, Eau De Perfum Eau de Toilette. Perfume, is the most concentrated formulation, and is usually the most expensive. It contains 15-30% aromatic compounds. At Ormonde Jayne, the Made to Measure service allows for up to 50% concentration. This is all hand-poured at the London Studio and sent to the client boxed and named.
‘One of the true joys about this experience is working with Linda, the lady behind the Ormonde Jayne brand. Linda is a wonderful advocate for delicate yet intense fragrance, but best of all, is one of the most eloquent and able, of the crop of independent perfume makers. Someone that can explain the process in a way that all can understand, engage and get excited.
My experience was a totally joyous afternoon, weirdly enough on my birthday. I went with my boyfriend (works in the music world so he’s not used to this type of thing) to visit Linda in the small elegant shop in the Royal Arcade just off London’s exclusive Bond Street. Here, she captivated both myself and him talking us through this bespoke service and also we just hung out chatting fragrance. I, as earlier mentioned, am an addict, so this was my idea of heaven. And what about my poor boyfriend you say? Wow, he had the best time, he found Linda to be utterly engaging and he walked away understanding something of the art of perfume. He also now says his favourite fragrance is one of hers!’
If for one moment you thought that my love of perfume was limited to items to spray on myself, you were so wrong. It totally extends to room fragrance, whether this be via candles or room diffusers. If I want to smell delightful, then I want my home to do so too. And if you are looking for something really bespoke in the world of truly elegant and luxury candles, then go no further than Rachel Vosper. You will find the hottest name in candles at the moment, in her boutique store in Belgravia London where she sells a beautiful selection of candles in utterly desirable scents.
‘Want to go one step? How about doing a course with her on the basic of making candles and make your very own one to burn at home? Lovely, and yes of course I did it, but one of the most amazing parts of this was being able to bring my own vessel to pour the candle into. I chose a porcelain tea cup which I needed her reassurance would work. It did and looked exquisite and smelt even better with a ‘green scent’ as the chosen fragrance. The very personal nature enabled me to gift this to my sister who was unbelievable touched by something so unique. I also got to spend a few hours being guided in this art-form by the wonderful artist that is Rachel Vosper’
Rachel also offers a unique refill service where you are able to replenish your chosen vessel with your favourite fragrance. This means a personalised gift can keep on going and going and going.
Jo Loves Yes, Jo as in Jo Malone, who wasn’t able to walk away from the fragrance business after she sold her eponymous label, but started a new one (and I think I’m obsessed!) Her newish boutique and brand Jo loves offers the wonderful opportunity to decide what fragrances go in to make your own candle. Its called the shot Candle. This is because the Shot Candle is made of two parts; one is the base fragrance and one shot fragrance. First, select your base (which involves lots of sniffing). Next, choose a shot that is different from your base fragrance. Your 2nd shot is then placed securely into the base of the fist shot so that it becomes one creation a bespoke Candle. And if that was not enough, there is also a Fragrance Tapas bar in the store, so if you like the idea either for yourself or a friend, contact them about the experiences that they have on offer. ‘Yes, I went and I did! I was able to have a touch of Jo’s magical power in my own hands by choosing which two fragrances would go best together.’
And lastly and most extraordinarily of all, fancy making your own nail polish? Yes, really! Now you can not just custom-make you can even have made colours bespoke to something specific…meet Palette London.
Here you will find the most wonderful selection of colours you could possibly want to choose from already made including metallics and even glitter finishes alongside post nail painting rose-scented top coats!
However, the most wonderful part is making your own colours. Buy the set of base colours (red, white, blue, yellow, black) and go about mixing your own specific colours to match your mood or chosen outfit. The sets come with empty bottles and pipettes and basically any colour is achievable. We made a little film to show you how. Oh and we also got to play lots when we made the film, my favourite was the army green created which you can see in the film. Bets of all for an addict like me (yes it extends to all forms of make up too) is that I am never short when I need that specific colour to match my outfit and of course perfume of the day.
PaintPaletteFullVideo from .Cent Magazine. However, if you feel like all this making your own is becoming too much, Palette London offer a rather clever bespoke version. Send them the exact colour you want via a swatch of fabric or paper and then are guaranteed to match it exactly. So if that elusive chartreuse is alluding you, just contact them and get Palette London’s bespoke service to do all the hard work for you.