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The Fragrance Foundation UK

#ScentMemories

Nicola Moulton

I’ve always felt so intimately connected to Chanel No19 that I swear you could cut me open and find it running through my veins. But a memory that still lingers with me proved that scent can touch you on an almost-metaphysical level. On a  warm evening many summers ago, at a lovely outdoor party, an elegant older lady walked past me and in doing so left behind a gentle trail of No19. My perfume. And in that brief moment,I had this extraordinary out-of-body experience of having somehow just walked past myself. The thought that it could be her scent – or anyone else’s – felt as unfeasible to me as having someone else’s fingerprints – or the same signature. If I ever get my DNA tested, I expect to see Henri Robert’s formula for No19 as very much part of my genetic makeup.

 

Justine Southall

I have a number of scent  memories but the one below is the first significant one and formative in my relationship with perfume and scent.

This scent memory  is of my first ‘grown up’ perfume given to me by my gorgeous God Father when I was about 13. It was a bottle of Guerlain Chamade and I just fell in love with it. I loved that it was so luxurious and special, that  the rich opulent fragrance stayed with me all day ( maybe I used a little too much – I was 13 after all…..….)  that I felt so incredibly glamorous when I wore it , and last but not least that Terry my God Father clearly thought I was old enough and sophisticated enough to have it in the first place. That gift formed my desire for and love of fragrance and the transformative effect that it can have on your whole demeanour and wellbeing.

As a result I wear fragrance every day, whether I am taking the dog for a walk or going to gym ( I know it seems mad but it gives me a buzz) or going to work or out for dinner – it is like getting dressed, and if I forget to put some on for any reason I feel ‘naked’ all day……….!

 

 

Amanda Craig

The first scent I can remember is probably my mother’s, and it was made in 1927, the same year she was born. Lanvin’s Arpège is still one of the most heavenly scents ever invented, often referred to as “the fragrance of 1000 flowers”, which is entirely appropriate because my mother like myself is a passionate gardener.

Like all great scents, Arpège changes according to the skin of the person who wears it. When she first sprayed it on, it smelt awful – a bit like cat-pee (which as she loves cats too didn’t upset her) but after a short time it smelt more like the kind of soap you might find in paradise – a mixture of jasmine, lilies, sandalwood and spice. It was both intensely feminine, and elegant, and a bit mysterious, the kind of scent you’d expect to find wafting from the wings of a goddess or a beautiful queen.

It came in a round black bottle with a gold design that I gradually worked out was the figure of a woman bending over her child. I loved this, too, and although I didn’t know that the great perfumier Jeanne Lanvin had made it for her own daughter, it seemed to me to be a special message from my mother to me. As a working woman, she had to leave my little sister and myself in the care of a succession of nannies, most of whom made it clear that they hated children. I missed her dreadfully, and would creep into my parents’ bedroom to smell her silk scarves, kept in a tiny sandalwood chest of drawers, because they had her wonderful perfume on them.

To be enveloped in it was to breathe in the scent of love.

Thomas Dunckley

For the first few years of my life, my siblings and I were subjected to appalling hair cuts. I’ll put it simply: we rocked the ‘bowl cut’, so much so in fact, that my older brother and I earned the nicknames ‘Bobby Bowler’ and ‘Baby Bowler’ respectively. Good times. Our dear parents hired a family friend to cut our hair at home and she was lovely however, her one sticking point was that she wasn’t particularly good at hairdressing and my parents didn’t have the heart to seek alternative services in hairography for their ever-growing brood. Blast them!

As we got older, bowl cuts simply would not do and we berated our parents into allowing us to attend a proper hairdressers – a hairdressers I should note, that my mother had been frequenting for years. No bowl cuts for mummy, no sir. So off we went to the local hairdressers to find a hairstyle that was a little less, well, horrifying, and we were wowed by the sensory overload that was to be found there: the sound of hairdryers and chatter, and many a strange smell (I now know that one of these smells was the gloriously eggy and cat wee-redolent perming solution). It was brilliant.

Our hairdressers was a family run affair. It was decked out with electric blue leather seats, white tiles and blue-tinted mirrors. A wave of warmth greeted us as we entered and there was one particular smell that permeated the air. That smell was steamy, floral (in a very dry way) and almost aldehydic. It was a gigantic and diffusive smell that appeared with a hiss and a fizz. That smell was the legendary and distinct odour of the one and only Elnett hairspray by L’Oreal.

To me, Elnett is the smell of glamour. It is big, voluminous hair on power-dressing ’90s ladies. It’s the smell of success, whether that be in business or fabulousness, or both. It’s a smell solely associated with the process of beautifying oneself. I use Elnette on my hair to this day (the strong hold version because I got to tame ma curls) and with each spray I get a vision of stepping in to that hairdressers for the first time. It’s representative of a flourish of excitement – a door opening to a new, glamorous world where big hair is the norm, beauty is the goal and there are absolutely, and categorically no bowl cuts in sight.

Laura Goodwin

When I’m missing my mum I’ll spray Paris by YSL and it’s as if she’s in the room with me. It’s been her signature fragrance for as long as I can remember and smelling it makes me feel all safe and warm.

 

Saskia Greenhalgh

I’ve always quite liked the smell of petrol. It reminds me of when I was at the petrol station with my grandma and she accidently clicked the nozzle too early drenching 5-year-old me with it. Despite the traumatic experience the smell reminds me of spending time with her.

Luis Dos Santos

I was 12 years old and my mother came back home with a present for me, it was my first perfume, L’eau d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal. I still remember the first time I put it on my skin. Really fresh citrus notes but really comforting at the same time. That’s when my passion for perfumes started. Since that I love discovering new scents and new stories.

Ben Payne

The smell of oranges reminds me of my Dad, he often boils them to get rid of the smell of curry as he is a chef!

Paola De Rosa

Every time I smell Angel by Thierry Mugler I am 16 again and fell feminine for the very first time!

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