Beauty: Diptyque Fragrance

I have spoken before about my deep love for beautiful perfumes and fragrances (regular readers may remember this post), but I don’t think the fact can be overstated.

I’m not sure about you, but I find something so wonderfully luxurious about the act of spritzing on a favourite smell as the final flourish when getting dressed (or, for that matter, undressed) each day. A seeminigly small act it may be, but it is, I believe, the one that most imparts the personality of the wearer upon the passerby. Few things are are as sensual and as emotionally evocative as our sense of smell. After all, we attach more feelings and memories to scents than any other sense and thus subconsciously judge strangers by how their smell makes us feel, so it is important that the fragrance you choose to make your own is one which evokes a trail of happy memories in your wake.

Needless to say, it’s important to get this right.

Constantly in pursuit of the perfect bouquet of fragrance (whether for myself or my home), I’m never one to turn down the wisdom of the experts. Diptyque is one of my favourite brands full stop (I wear their perfumes year round, and their divine scented candles are one of my favourite small luxuries for the home), so when I heard about their fragrance fitting service I leapt at the invitation.

Which is how I came to find myself perched on a stool in the charming little Diptyque boutique on Brook Street a little while back. I was meeting with Diptyque’s manager who couldn’t have been more lovely (we ever shared the same Australian-transplanted-to-England accent), and we began with a casual discussion that took in everything from my favourite colours, to the type of clothes I liked, to my favourite memories and the smells they evoked (the smell of orange blossoms in the sun in my childhood backyard, blousy garden roses and tiny violets in my mother’s garden, fresh mint and basil in an English herb garden…).

I then smelt a collection of single-note fragrances (in the form of Diptyque’s candles, each with their labels hidden so that my preference could not be influenced by my perception of the names of each one), grouped into three fragrance families (spicy, green/woody and floral). I already had a very clear idea of what scents I did and did not like, so it was reassuring to have this reaffirmed, with a few I wouldn’t have thought of myself added to the mix. In case you were wondering, I like white florals with a hint of sweetness and perhaps a fresh green undertone (but I can’t bear overpowering spicy, woody smells).

I was then taught how to layer fragrances which, for some reason (and despite already owning several Diptyque fragrances), had never occurred to me. But when you comine two different scents, they somehow elevate each other to become even more beautiful. I’ve been playing with this ever since (with seemingly endless combinations), and people are always stopping me in the street to ask what perfume I’m wearing (a wonderful boost for the ego, I tell you!).

Good combinations to try: start with a woody or a fresh green base and a layer a floral or citrus scent on top. I’ve been favouring Diptyque Neroli (orange blossom) with Olene (jasmine and narcissus and white spring florals) on top which smells heavenly for warmer days (or grey days when I’m craving sunshine) and either Eau Rose (delicate pink rose petals and fresh green notes) under Do Son (a heady tuberose and white floral), or Philosykos (fruity and woody fig tree) under L’Ombre dans L’Eau (blackcurrant leaves and Bulgarian roses) for cold days when something warm and luxurious is required.

I’d love to hear how you layer your favourite fragrances, and how you pair different scents with different seasons or occasions.

Love, Miss B xx

Diptyque offer complimentary fragrance fitting consultations (approximately 30 minutes) at all of their boutiques. I visited the little store located at 37 Brook Street, Mayfair.

Beauty: How to Build a Fragrance Wardrobe

I’m often asked the question: ‘how to I go about building a collection of fragrances?’ In short, there is no simple answer because fragrance is so deeply personal (and what is right for me will certainly not be right for everyone).

I have a great admiration for those women who are able to pull off the single signature fragrance and make it completely their own, but I’m somewhat more schizophrenic in my olfactory tastes. If, like me, you like the idea of having a wardrobe of fragrances, then this is how I go about it:

1. Embark on a fragrance treasure hunt. Whenever you pass by a department store beauty hall, beauty boutique, duty free counter or while on your travels, have a sniff of the bottles which you like the look of (this isn’t as shallow as it sounds; fragrance developers invest a huge amount in ensuring the bottle symbolises the mood of the scent inside). Try a few on a card and spray your favourite on your wrist (it will smell different as it reacts with your own ph levels).Light/summery scents, L-R: Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh, Chanel Les Exclusifs Gardenia, Margiela Untitled L’Eau, Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Stella McCartney Lily, Marc Jacobs Daisy.

2. Follow your instincts. Try and ignore the hype of million dollar marketing campaigns when choosing one to buy. The only thing that really matters is: do you smell gorgeous when you wear this fragrance? Does it complement your tastes? Also ensure you try everything a few times before you buy it. Try those you love on your skin and check it again a few days later (we react differently to scents depending on our moods and hormones, so you want one you’ll always enjoy).

3. Make it special. We attach more memories to scent than any other sense. Make fragrance-buying a special occasion; do it in a place you love, when you’re in a good mood, or when you’re on a particularly wonderful holiday so that you always associate their smell with good feelings. It may sound silly, but it really works!Warm/wintery scents, L-R: Diptyqye L’Ombre dans L’eau, Stella McCartney Stella (limited edition print bottle), Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (limited edition bottle), Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs, Chanel Les Exclusifs Gardenia, Stella McCartney Stella (limited edition print bottle).

4. Match your moods. I prefer to have several different scents to call upon, depending on the season, my mood, the time of day, and the occasion. By way of example: for the first days of Spring, I want something light, pretty and floral which echoes the optimism that rings in the air at this time of year (Margiela’s Untitled or Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau so Fresh have been on rotation the past few weeks); warm summer days to be spent lazing on the grassy banks of the River Cam call for something sweet and fresh (Annick Goutal Petite Cherie, Marc Jacobs Daisy); and for winter or evenings, only something warm and comforting will do (Stella McCartney Stella or Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau). When I’m in the office, I call on clean, sophisticated scents (Marc Jacobs original or Stella McCartney Lily fit this bill), and when I’m feeling nostalgic or sad, I’ll seek solace in a precious spritz from the bottle of my Mother’s Jean Peal Gaultier (which was her fragrance signature and which to me always smells chic and pretty and like her warm hugs).

5. Find your signature. Even once you’ve built a collection you adore, there is something to be said for finding your failsafe favourite; your ‘signature scent’ if you will. This will be the one you reach for time and time again (in any number of situations), and which triggers an immediate sensory response whenever you spray it on. In case you’re wondering, mine is Marc Jacobs’ original scent; I distinctly remember the first time I sprayed it on, for I instantly (even irrationally) felt like a better, more appealing version of myself. The first day I tried it was a wonderful day filled with happy moments, and it’s accompanied me on so many glorious holidays, travels and special occasions ever since that it is now bound up with feelings of happiness and loveliness and fills me with a flicker of joy whenever I wear it.

I don’t know about you, but I think every woman should find a scent that makes them feel like a knockout version of themselves!Do you have a wardrobe of perfumes? I’d love to know what your favourites are!

Love, Miss B xx

Chanel Beauté

My mother used to always say to me “good things come in small packages”. And how right she was.

For while few of us can afford an entire wardrobe filled with Chanel couture, luxury brand beauty is something we can all buy into (because what’s £17 for the cult nail polish of the season, compared to £3000 for the bag, after all). It’s democratic luxury, if you will.

Regular readers will know that my love of Chanel knows no bounds – I’ve bought the Chanel 2.55 bag twice (after one dreaded theft), several pairs of beloved shoes, a few vintage blouses, and god only knows how many Chanel brooches (my biggest weakness), and my fascination with the brand’s history is ongoing. But even I – Chanel fangirl that I am – had rarely delved into the Chanel beauty cabinet (nail polish aside – I’d already taken to buying several of these a year for their sheer perfectness). With the purchase of several lipsticks at the start of Spring that had begun to change, but after meeting Lisa Eldridge (she of the flawless face, incredible Vogue beauty editorials, and super clever video tutorials) at the Chanel head offices on Bond St recently, my love for Chanel beauté is now in full force.

To begin with, their dedicated beauty website Chanel Confidential is genius – fun, interactive, and with Lisa’s brilliant ‘how to’ video tutorials showing you how to use all the colours from the seasonal ranges like a pro. There’s also the fact that the textures and pigments are of the exact quality one would expect from a luxury brand (ie. flawless). But perhaps more importantly, it’s Peter Philips’ cunning ability as Creative Director to know exactly which colours we’ll want to wear each season, before we even know ourselves (see the Cult of the Chanel Nailpolish – complete with 8 week waitlists for those tiny £17 bottles each season, and the launch of a hundred impostors – for evidence).

And the colour we’ll all be wearing on our nails for Summer according to the Gospel of Peter Philips? Why, Chanel Mimosa, naturellement. I love that it’s the colour of buttercups, bumblebee’s fur coats and zesty lemon curd tarts. I’ve been wearing it for several weeks now, and one peek at my sunshine yellow nails makes me instantly smile. Oh Chanel, you know me too well.

And so my mother was entirely right; when a bag filled to the brim with those glossy little black and white boxes from Chanel then arrived on my doorstep (thank you, Chanel!), it was a good thing indeed. One swipe of pink lipstick, two spritzes of the divine Gardenia les Exclusifs parfum (I’ve been spraying it every time I passed the Chanel counter in Selfridges for years because I loved it so much), and three coats of Mimosa and just like that, thoughts of an otherwise awful day suddenly melted away. Such is the power of the Chanel Gods to put a smile on a girl’s face…

How do you feel about luxury beauty? What are your ‘good things in small packages’, guaranteed to put a smile on your face?

Love, Miss B xx

The S/S ’11 Collection Les Fleurs D’Ete De Chanel (including Mimosa le Vernis) launches May 20 in UK stores.