Because sometimes all you want in life is to smell like your favourite movie star...
Truthfully, do you know what the exact mix of sun-age berries with South Indian jasmine smells like? Or what about the whiff of a little Madagascan vanilla nestled between hydroponic orchid and burnt caramel? Yeah, thought not, and neither could I. Because unless you’re actually physically sniffing a scent it’s really tough to decipher what you’d like and what you’d loathe. Whilst fancy advertising campaigns and fun bottles can sway you towards a scent that fits in with your likes and personal aesthetic, shouldn’t we be exploring new ways of delivering information about fragrance and picking our own scents?
Perfumer Azzi Glasser agrees: “You have to explain what a scent’s essence evokes – is it strong, is it modern, is it crisp? Does it remind you of anything in particular? Ingredients and notes mean nothing to a consumer – they just want to fall in love with a scent, and everything it promises.”
So with that in mind, here’s our guide to this season’s new scents, inspired by the people who we adore, the ones we want to dress up as on Halloween, the ones that we try and channel when our confidence levels dip – our favourite movie heroines.
SMELL LIKE: A FIGHTER
THE STAR: Ellen Ripley in Aliens (Sigourney Weaver, 1986)
WHY: Like Nightmare On Elm Street or the terrifying Candyman, you always remember the exact time and place you watched Alien (1979). It was such a big hit that it spawned three sequels over the next eighteen years, with a then-unknown Sigourney as its star. But her role as Ellen Ripley, a warrant officer, didn’t really develop until the second film, Aliens. During the latter she battles with a xenomorph (that’s really scary alien with fangs, by the way) all to save her surrogate daughter and is generally a butt-kicking machine.
STEAL THE SCENT: You don’t want to smell like you’ve been fighting stinky intruders from space, but you DO want to empower Ripley’s strength and kick-ass attitude when faced with scary situations. It needn’t be aliens, it could be meeting your ex’s new girlfriend or asking your boss for a well-deserved promotion.
YOUR NEW SCENT: Try Liaison De Parfum I Dare You, £105 a distinctive scent that is a little bit of a challenge to wear. That’s because it fuses strong notes like spices and citrus with very contrasting ones like oud, leather and amber. It’s exactly what you need a stressy situation – a big dose of courage, followed by a restorative drydown.
SMELL LIKE: A FREE SPIRIT
THE STAR: Penny Lane in Almost Famous (Kate Hudson, 2000)
WHY: Who doesn’t want to be Penny Lane? She gets to hook up with all the hot rock stars in their seventies heyday – but mention the word groupie to Penny Lane and she’ll really lose it. Penny knows she’s more than just a bit fluff in the music scene; she’s an inspiration to the musicians around her and she’s having the time of her life (well until she falls for guitarist Russell Hammond who breaks her heart and causes her to overdose.) There’s no party that she doesn’t start and at the end of the film Penny jets off to Morocco for a year, just because she can. Did we mention she’s still only a teenager? Darn her free-spirited ways.
STEAL THE SCENT: Are you fed up with the mundane and are yearning for something more? That’s what Penny Lane embodies – she lives for the moment and doesn’t look back. Maybe now is the time to jack it all in and go traveling after all? Were just putting that out there…
YOUR NEW SCENT: Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh Sorbet, £52. It smells youthful and flighty with strong fruit notes like pear and passion fruit. But the violet wood and musk to give it a internal strength that’s impossible to break. Just like your own free-willed spirit.
SMELL LIKE: THE ULTIMATE REBEL
THE STAR: Wednesday Adams in Adams Family Values (Christina Ricci, 1993)
WHY: Despite being a child and part of the oddest family on the block, young Wednesday is a true force of nature. When Wednesday goes to summer camp she immediately makes enemies with the most popular girl there and then she stages a coup during the annual camp play. Whatever the case, Wednesday always refuses to conform to other’s expectations and marches to her own, very distinctive beat. She’s the ultimate rebel – without any discernable cause.
STEAL THE SCENT: Good old Wednesday, she doesn’t care that she’s small, weird and an outsider. She’s cool with that and she knows that her power comes from being unique. She’s the one to embody when you’re at a party on your own or the next time you know somebody is bitching about you behind your back. What would Wednesday do? Well, we reckon she’d definitely hex them at the very least.
YOUR SCENT IS: Something dark, rebellious and unique, just like you. Try this beautiful new scent from Sanctum Soho Black Rose, £195, which uses rose, narcissus and vanilla bean to create a scent that’s truly one of a kind. It’s both sweet and not to be trifled with.
SMELL LIKE: A ROMANTIC
THE STAR: Tracy Lord in A Philadelphia Story (Katharine Hepburn, 1940)
WHY: After getting a divorce from her first husband after a spirited, quick marriage, heiress Tracy Lord prepares to wed again. Things don’t go to plan though, and in the days before her wedding her ex husband AND a reporter covering the story for a paper arrive at her house. Naturally she falls in love with both of them, and she’s forced to choose from her past love, her present love, and her new love. But ultimately, she’s still a believer in love. And we er, love that.
STEAL THE SCENT: Whatever your romantic status, sometimes we all need a bit of a boost in the romance department – so follow Tracy’s lead and embrace your amorous side by exploring all available avenues of intrigue. YOUR SCENT IS: Not only is the bottle beautiful, but Valentino Valentina Pink, £59 combines sensual musks with cheery fruity notes like strawberries, blackberries and hint of super-lovely rose. You can’t help but feel a little saucy wearing it.
SMELL LIKE: A NEW YOU
THE STAR: Cher Horowitz in Clueless (Alicia Silverstone, 1995)
WHY: She’s rich, shallow and popular, but Cher Horowitz, the daughter of a hotshot LA lawyer is at the top of her game. She’s the most popular girl at her fancy Beverly Hills high school, has a bevy of men at her disposal and still finds time for philanthropic work (namely, taking a forlorn-looking Tai under her wing and making her popular). At the start of the film she’s all about looks, but by the end she’s realized many things – namely that her boyfriend is gay, and that her disapproving, pseudo-intellectual ex stepbrother (hottie Paul Rudd) isn’t so bad after all. In fact she may quite fancy him. Basically, what Cher learns is that it’s never too late to change your attitude – and a new scent could certainly help with that.
STEAL THE SCENT: If you’ve always played it safe with barely there pretty scents now may be the time to channel your inner Cher and opt for a fresh new perspective on scent – and life.
YOUR SCENT IS: With sweet apple blossom petal and softer osmanthus extract, Diptyque Florabellio, £58 still smells rich and fabulous, but with an air of saltiness and coffee it’s still a little surprising. Get inspired.
SMELL LIKE: A HERO
THE STAR: Aibileen Clark in The Help (Viola Davis, 2011)
WHY: Set in 1960s Mississippi, Aibileen Clark is a maid and nanny who has spent her life taking care of prominent white families. Needless to say, life hasn’t been easy for her – she lost her son in a race-related crime, which is an injustice she lives with everyday without speaking about. But when Aibileen and her friend are approached to share her stories of nannying white children by a local writer, Aibileen is the first one to speak up. And she encourages the other maids to do the same. As it turns out, they have quite a lot to say and the book turns into a best seller. Go team!
STEAL THE SCENT: Whilst the issues you face may not be quite as harsh as Aibileen’s, we could all take note of her courage in times of strife and turning a negative into a positive.
YOUR SCENT IS: Spritz something like The Beautiful Mind Series Volume 1 Intelligence and Fantasy, £95 with exciting tiare blossom, uplifting bergamot and spicy Pink pepper for when you need a little extra fight, and swagger, Aibileen-style.
SMELL LIKE: A TRAILBLAZER
THE STAR: Mulan, in er, Mulan (Disney, 1998)
WHY: Not only is Mulan one of a few non-Caucasian characters in a Disney movie, (props to her for that) she also disguises herself as a boy so she can go to war instead of her ailing father in a big middle finger to the patriarchal society she lives in. Go Mulan! Did we mention that she also has a pet dragon called Mushu? AND she falls in love along the way? Atta girl!
STEAL THE SCENT: We love that Mulan couldn’t give two hoots about letting her gender stop her doing what she wants and what is right for her family – so we’d imagine she would wear a gender-neutral scent.
YOUR SCENT IS: Try a dose of Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne, £130. Though the orange blossom, cedar and patchouli are soft and girlie, the rosemary and amber give this scent a little boyishness which is ideal for when you just want to feel like your fabulous self, and nobody else.