Having the world’s worst cold which has totally eroded all sense of taste and smell is probably not the best thing to be suffering with when you attend a night dedicated to perfume. But, unfortunately, that was exactly what I was suffering from when I went to the beautiful Harvey Nichols store in Birmingham’s Mailbox to enjoy The Art of Scent. Not being able to actually enjoy the fragrances did not mean I didn’t enjoy the night, it was a fascinating insight into the world of perfume, and, with the Q&A session with Alice Lavenat, there was a real opportunity to learn all about the life of a perfumer.
Throughout the store there were special treatments, treats and offers that made this a perfect night for a pamper and an early bit of Christmas shopping. To encourage people to download the Harvey Nichols Rewards App, there were complimentary and very pretty floral headdresses and garlands available from the Style Concierge. I didn’t get one myself, but the lovely Ting and Emily showed these off to perfection, as you can see from the photograph below.
As previously mentioned, I was feeling pretty dreadful, and left earlier than I would usually, but that was not before I attended a masterclass in perfume from the award-winning French perfumer Alice Lavenat, hosted in collaboration with The Perfume Society. Alice was the winner of Young Perfumer of the Year in 2014, and her perfume, Le Parfum D’Alice was created by Nejma and is now on sale at Harvey Nichols.
Alice talked about her influences and favourite fragrances (Prada and Narcisco Rodriguez), along with describing how she chooses the base and top notes for her own fragrances. She also gave advice on how you can choose a new fragrance for yourself, you shouldn’t buy a new perfume straight away, but should first get a sample that you allow to dry on a card. If you still like the fragrance after it has settled for some time, then you should spray it on yourself, and then allow it to dry and mix with your natural body scents. If you still like it once it has dried, this might just be the one for you.
It was so interesting to hear Alice’s passion for perfumes and scents, her explanation of fragrances that seem to enter the room before you do, or the more intimate ones that people can only smell when they get up close. Le Parfum D’ Alice itself is stunning, a warm fragrance with blackcurrent and pink pepper mixing beautifully with Turkish Rose. This might just be my next signature fragrance.
*With thanks to Lisa Piddington and Harvey Nichols for the invitation.