Costume National – the cutting-edge avant garde Italian Design house - has just undergone a shakeup with Founder/Creative Director Ennio Capasa leaving earlier in 2016, but to date, their exceptional perfume collection remains unsullied. Costume National fragrances to me, are a little like a sheep in wolf's clothing. Their minimalistic flacons and stark, monochromatic advertising campaigns suggest that the scents themselves should follow suit: clean, linear, unembellished. But if the truth be known, Scent Gloss is one of many perfumes in the CN portfolio that challenges this very notion.
Launched in 2004, Scent Gloss is a floral fragrance for women which feels strikingly unusual. With their olfactory pyramid heavily guarded (with the exception of musk, orchid and rose), this perfume feels like a bouquet of flowers still wrapped in cellophane! There is a wonderful natural floral feel, which butts up against a sharp, synthetic, almost plasticky accord. Perhaps as the name suggests, it also has a strange 'lip-gloss' vibe; it somehow straddles the line between cosmetics and polyethylene! This is not to say the fragrance is bad or sickening... rather – it is like a hyper realistic painting – one in which extra-fine details come into focus... even if they don't truly exist in nature.
Clean and uplifting, for women who like to wear something memorable and individual... Scent Gloss is your jam!
Who'd have imagined that tobacco would work so well in perfumes? In the past 100 years we have seen a steady decline in the numbers of those who smoke, however in the early 1900's tobacco and tobacco products were the must-have accoutrements of the day! French perfumers Molinard created Habanita in 1925 to perfume rolled cigarettes with (it was only after the smell was adored by men and women alike, that it was eventually marketed as a perfume). Ever since, the bittersweet ambery odour that raw tobacco leaves create has been celebrated in perfumery the world over. In 2007, designer Tom Ford featured it front and center in his unisex Private Blend collection as the much-loved Tobacco Vanille.
Tobacco Vanille is a spiced oriental perfume which sits in both the masculine and feminine register. The union of these two major components (tobacco - being devoutly masculine - and vanilla - being resolutely feminine) was a worldwide hit! This perfume's flight consists of tobacco leaf and warm spices, and its nucleus, a cashmere soft mantle of tobacco flower, tonka bean, vanilla and cacao... these imbue a base of woods and dried fruits to make for a scent that is deliciously rich, warm, enveloping and comforting. Ford's genius ensured the composition did not get too saccharine, which added to its mass appeal.
Tobacco Vanille, now almost 10 years after it's launch, remains one of the top selling scents in Ford's collection. It is sophisticated, persistent and alluring. Whilst perhaps the most ideal fragrance for winter, Tobacco Vanille can be appreciated by all people at pretty much any time of the year.
A scent to cuddle up to.
If there was ever a perfume that epitomised the early 20th century Dadaist movement, it would be Caron's masculine, l'Anarchiste! Dadaism celebrated anti-art and rejection of traditional norms and values, and here is where the pair intersect.... l'Anarchiste (just as the name might suggest) is a scent which challenges, baffles and surprises in true Anarchistic form!
Designed in 2000 and originally presented in a copper-coloured jerry-can inspired flacon, l'Anarchiste stood to challenge preconceived notions in perfumery just as we stepped over the threshold into a brand new millennium. It married many facets which – on paper – one might never imagine working together... however the overall effect is both surprising and shocking. A sharp opening of mint and orange blossom hint at a metallic edge, whilst bourbon vetiver, guaiac wood, cinnamon and sandalwood lend a sense of combustable warmth. A melange of 7 different musks give depth and a curious 3-dimensional quality to this fragrance. At times one senses chocolate (despite there being none in the notes) and at other times, blood. A true shape-shifter!
L'Anarchiste stays true to its name by rebuking the aquatic trends of the 1990's, and presenting by us with one of the most fascinating masculines I think I've ever smelled since. L'Anarchiste can safely be worn day or night, although at night, I find it especially compelling. Perhaps just as one might take a fleeting second look over one's shoulder at a punk rocker or goth, l'Anarchiste also turns heads for it's uniqueness and non-conforming conspicuousness. An iconic scent of the future.