I was rocking as I tripped into the new exhibition, The Perfume Diaries at Harrods last Thursday night. Talk about scene change. Way In stages thumping, DJ set. Move to: scent, champagne, canapés and string quartet. This, ladies and gents was the deliciously sumptuous launch evening for a show worth seeing.
A few petit, highlights were: Feasting my eyes on the divine, Dior dress, which inspired Miss Dior (well, its New Look shape, but I like the idea). Here it is – desperately beautiful and, incidentally, rather of the moment, with autumn’s New Look revival.
How Chanel No 5’s scent bottles have altered, subtly through the decades. The original (1921) was a fine, oblong shape with a minute stopper. To my eye it looks modern – if I were ever to do a scent, I’d probably put it in this. Click through here to see a few sketches à la Emma (the © is a joke, sort of).
Spotting a rather large soap-on-a-rope. How 70s. How, open-neck, medallion-decked Denim man. At a scent exhibition you ask? Mmm. Well. It’s by Aramis, the first line of beauty products (beyond the Trumper-style grooming booty) for men, launched in the ‘70s – and they also do scent. And it too, feels new again (style guru, Tom Ford does a soap-on-a-rope). I like soap-on-a-rope.
But here’s the thing. This show takes you through the history and evolution of scent, decade by decade, in a really captivating way. Each decade, encased in its own spacious cubicle, displays a collection of original bottles, documents, recipes, things of interest. There’s on-screen info, interactive stuff, testers. It presents scent within its wider cultural and historical context without being sniffy or stuffy or precious.
Honestly, if you’re passing, pop up to the 4th floor, make your way through the Way In funk-meisters and check it out. It’s free but hurry, it’s only on till October 2nd.