creative team heidi lauth beasley . camilla fisher crouch . abigail gurney-read roberta hollis . meg hutchison . namkyeong kim . jess knowles . tonje bredeli kvamme
perfume is a veil that reveals the soul perfume is the fanfare of our individuality sounding differently to everyone who listens perfume is a signpost to our true selves – a different journey for the brave to travel
perfume is the weather of our inner world bringing life to a personal landscape
perfume is an art that shows us who we can be if we dare – an invisible portrait of who we are
perfume is discovered fully only by our lovers when we are together – naked
- quote by christopher brosius
For so long, who we are has been defined by what we are – the exterior characteristics that we project to the world being the only aspect of ourselves that people see. The superficial layers that we adopt at the whims of society’s preconceptions have masked the very essence of “you”. The core around which all else should be secondary has been lost, and as a result - we have lost our inner selves. The past has shown us that nothing triggers a revolution more than the absence of truth or identity, and so we look to the future…towards a synergy between the individual and their journey, their taste, their narrative. A future where personality overrides biology until we are left stripped of stereotypes and prejudice…naked, genuine, pure. And so we begin a journey of discovery – both of ourselves and the changing world around us. We explore the role of gaming in securing an identity – whether that identity be true or fictional. We investigate the role of perfume in dressing oneself, and it’s equally as important ability to undress oneself. We discover the barriers being broken down in the once ‘taboo’ world of transgenderism and the emergence of a third ‘sexless sex’. We realize the potential of technology in mental healthcare, and beyond. We comprehend the importance of personality in politics and the influence of music in the workplace. We embrace the rising popularity of bespoke fragrance and jewellery and the way it reflects humans’ increasing desire to be true to our own natural intuition. And we look to you and your narrative…revol-you-tionizing the world as we know it. ..
the saville row scents
dariush alavi - an interview
personality is the best policy
office music works
ode to self
the saville row scents words . meg hutchinson
While the interior of a Penhaligon’s perfume boutique in London could not be further removed from the life of a redhead named Annie and her orphaned partners in crime, the self-discipline it requires not to simply break out into the chorus of “Never fully dressed without a smile” is difficult to measure. Except, samples of intricately blended fragrances at hand - the song in this case would go something along the lines of never being fully dressed without a vial. While Penahligon’s may be one of the oldest bespoke perfumeries in the capital, its first store opened on iconic Jermyn Street - notorious jaunt of gentlemen in search of top hats and immaculately tailored suits - it is by no means the only one of its kind and, it would seem, will soon have even more competition as mainstream department stores begin to realise the enormity of the movement towards the world of niche perfumes and their endless possibilities.
According to Henry Mason, head of research and analysis at consultancy firm Trendwatching, the bespoke phenomenon “not only fits the mentality that comes with the tough economic climate but it also harnesses people’s need to escape through creativity, and the need for a sense of accomplishment. Consumers are looking for stories because the world is full of mass-produced objects that anyone can buy, so what’s interesting for a consumer is a product they can tell people about through the knowledge and experience they have gained”.
each other” and he could not have summed the cause of this blossoming trend more succinctly. Echoing his thoughts on the matter is New York based perfume ‘bad boy’ Christopher Brosius, founder of CB I hate perfume - more a laboratory than a boutique - specializing in recreating some of the most arbitrary of smells such as youth, to the smell of everyone’s favourite Sunday pastime - roast beef and gravy.
In his predictions for why bespoke has come to the forefront of purchasing perfume, Henry Mason highlights what seems to be people’s increasing nostalgia for something familiar - a tangible memory with which they can protect themselves against the inevitable uncertainties of modern life. According to the managing director of the Perfume Studio in London, one of Penhaligon’s counterparts in the industry, insight firm Mintel now recognizes bespoke fragrance as its own distinct product category.
Brosius’ work is so revolutionary, in fact, that he has been presented with four Fifi Awards by the Fragrance Foundation for his outstanding creative achievement - one of the awards was being for his having successfully recreated the smell of fresh snow. While some of these concoctions may sound a little too progressive to be appreciated on a massmarket level, it is important to remember that the longevity and value of bespoke is not as a result of the geniuses spearheading it all know no limits, but rather that they understand perfume and what it has the potential to do for an individual.
The added value of the customer experience that these perfumeries provide in contrast to the soulless and often clinical shelves of fluorescent lit department store shelving units allows the bespoke wearer to feel that they have been a part of their own journey of self discovery - tapping into their innermost emotions by recalling memories through the sense of smell. However, while the experience itself is a successful marketing ploy - the experimentation occurring within the sphere of bespoke in terms of method and make up is what will really make it appealing to the mass market.
When asked by a member of the audience whether he believed people chose what perfume to wear as a way to reflect one’s personality, Dariush Aluvi answered that “people wear perfume because to them, it is like jewellery - a part of what they use to present the best aspects of themselves to the world and they will change their perfume to best suit whatever situation they find themselves in” - ending with a some advice in the form of a quote by authoress Margaret Atwood: “the question you should ask yourself every morning is not ‘what perfume shall I wear today’, but rather ‘who am I going to be today”.
An evening dedicated to schooling the audience in the art of “noseology”, and more specifically the difference between niche and mainstream products, was recently held at the Gorilla Perfumes store in Shoreditch. Organised by the cosmetics giant Lush, it was an indication in itself that the demand for tailor-made “fragrance individuality” is becoming evident even in the more mainstream market. A market which had, until now, been satisfying its customers with generic carbon copies made desirable through celebrity endorsement and brand-name influence (think Charlize Theron for Dior’s J’adore).
This quote evocatively highlights perfume’s most redeeming feature, the ability to strip away everything that can be seen with the naked eye, instead allowing its wearer to project their core personality - their temperament, innermost desires and fears, likes and dislikes, their past and where they dream of being one day - through the most primal of senses... smell. It allows its wearer to disregard the surfacelevel features such as gender, age, occupation, social standing and religion to become the most pure and honest form of themselves - a rare novelty in an age of discrimination, subdued conformity and an economic climate which makes it difficult not to long for the naiveté of youth or a time that has long since passed.
As the guest speaker for the night, author of the book “Le Snob: Perfume” and the highly regarded blog “Persolaise”, Dariush Aluvi argued that “we are all a little sick and tired of smelling exactly the same as
dariush alavi ...is a fragrance reviewer and author of ‘le snob” interview . roberta hollis
Qwhat made you become a fragrance reviewer?
I went to university, trained as a teacher - did several years of working as a teacher... it was only maybe about five years ago or so that my wife said to me ‘how come you don’t write about perfume?’ And I never had, I used to write fiction. And suddenly there was a penny drop, sometimes you need the outsider don’t you to somehow state the obvious. At first I tried to convince myself that I was going to do it as a research project for another work of fiction, and then I thought I had to have some kind of structure and the only way you’re going to discipline yourself is if you do a blog, because then you can pretend you have this audience and you have to write to millions of people so you have to get your content out otherwise these people are going to be annoyed with you. So I started the blog, almost three years ago thinking that I’d be lucky if maybe my wife and my mother read it. But then I started getting a response, don’t ask me how these things happen, I don’t know I guess a few things fell into place at the right time.
Qwhat is ‘le snob’ about?
The book is made up of mini reviews, so what I consider are the best fragrances out there at the moment – so this is divided first into niche and mainstream and then into masculines, feminines and unisex. In the introductory chapters there’s sort of basics about what perfume appreciation actually entails, and I think personally it basically entails what you want it to entail. And at the end you’ve got a glossary, you’ve got a list of shops in the back that I recommend. There are little chapters on bespoke perfume and hunting for limited additions and how to wear perfumes and things like that.
Qwhat makes a fragrance expert?
I’m a firm believer that some people do not have superior noses, maybe some people just think about what they’re smelling more than others and so maybe they want to have a greater awareness of what they’re smelling. And if some people don’t want to have that awareness that’s fine. I’m not particularly sensitive for instance to light, my wife is on the other hand – if it’s a grey day, she’s near enough suicidal. Where as I aren’t particularly effected, I like it if it’s sunny, but it doesn’t really effect me that much. But for instance, when we went shopping they were out of Persil washing powder and for the last three weeks I’ve been going mad saying can you please go back to the Persil!? And she’s saying what, why? But there’s just something about the amount of musks in the air they use that’s driving me insane, so you know I don’t think I’ve got a better nose. I think we’ve all pretty much got the same noses but maybe some of us are more receptive to smells than others.
What makes a fragrance masculine or feminine? Q
I don’t think there is that division, that was imposed by the publishers because they felt that would be some kind of way in to people. So the way that we settled on is it masculine, is it feminine, is it unisex – is purely on how its marketed. Although there are some for instance the fragrance, A Portrait of a Lady by Frederic Malle – its got lady in the name but that’s in the book as unisex because as far as im concerned that’s a completely unisex perfume. No I really don’t think that it can be gendered, its completely cultural… I will wear both masculine and feminine and I’ve yet to have somebody come up to me and say “ooh you smell a bit fragrant.” But maybe they’re just not wanting to say anything…
Do you think a fragrance can represent personality? Q
There are some people who wear it maybe consciously because they’re conscious of the persona they’re going to project. Its part of what they use to present a certain aspect of themself to the world. Was it Margret Aptwood I think, who said ‘everyday in the morning when youre deciding what to wear the question youre actually asking is, who am I going to be today?’
Do you think fragrance is an important factor of attraction? You see I get really annoyed by this, you know the whole thing when people say that women wear makeup because they want to attract men. I think no, probably women wear makeup because they just want to wear it and there’s plenty of women who don’t wear makeup and they might want to attract men too. And it annoys me when people say that people wear perfume to try and pull.
What do you think is better; synthetics or natural scents? They’re just different materials as far as I’m concerned, you can smell lots of things that you think smell very natural but they can be composed of lots of synthetics and maybe that’s a sign of a good perfume. And also if you have something that is 100% natural they’re not that good either; they tend to be quite heavy, quite murky and they don’t seem to last that long. I don’t want to smell something that smells like a load of chemicals, but I want the perfumer to convince me that what I smell isn’t a load of chemicals, even if it is. And anyway chemists would tell us that all synthetics are natural anyway.
What trends are there in fragrance at the moment? I would say if there is a trend there defiantly seems to be a trend towards, in the same way as with food and with soaps and luxury products, there seems to be a trend of wanting something that is made in an artesian way by a person. So something that is perhaps handmade with an authentic, more natural feel.
Is there a movement towards bespoke perfume?
You could argue that all perfumes were bespoke maybe 300 years ago because all perfumes were maybe tweaked, from some sort of original formula to suit the customer or they were made for some sort of wealthy customer who could afford them. What we would call modern perfumery we’ve only really had for 20 or 30 years, perfumes that use a combination of natural materials and synthetic, that’s only been around since the end of the 19th century. And perfume that you can go into a shop you know, with the packaging on shelves in a department store has only been around about nineteen years. We could say bespoke is the original and maybe people now are just revisiting it.
pictures . rory dcs abby gurney read
personality is the best policy words . abigail In the beginning, there was the word. The word was, manifesto. Long before the days of televised debate and leafleting, these core policies were regarded as the go-to nutritional value on a candidate’s political packaging; irrespective of whether they stemmed from a heuristic or altruistic intention. However, as Britain progresses towards a more liberal society - where limitations and distractions of gender and age will become increasingly ambiguous - this emphasis might be prone to change. As personality takes precedence, First-Past-The-Post may be rendered as nothing more than a glorified popularity contest. Derived from the Latin “manifestus”, meaning ‘obvious’, a manifesto is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as a ‘public declaration of policy and aims, especially one issued before an election by a political party or candidate’. Widely considered to be the conception of the current British Political System, the election of Sir Robert Walpole in 1721 heralded an age in which a political candidate’s manifesto, would represent an integral mechanism in their campaign for Prime Ministerial Office. The rudimentary seeds of Socialism and Capitalism were formed at the bass-manifesto level of the first political Parties; both still acting as an umbrella differentiation between the prominent two. Recent findings by Monocle reiterate the continued longevity of the manifesto, with 87.5% of surveyed participants deeming policies to have a greater influence on their current voting behaviour, than personality. Despite this seemingly assured majority, the continuing influence of political policies as voting determinants is less than certain. Although the swing is currently in their favour, a contradictory forecast in the same survey showed that 75% of participants thought that personality would have an overriding importance in future elections.
This increasing gravitas is anything but a modern phenomenon. Seemingly since time immemorial, renowned Politicians have cited the maxim, “Honesty is the best policy”; emphasising the constant requirement for an accountable personality. This necessary relationship between people and personality is intrinsic to the fundamental characteristics of being human. Animals are naturally drawn to those who appeal to them, therefore it surely follows that there has to be an element of personality-bias where humans are concerned.
“Why would politicians spend so much time telling us about themselves if personality politics wasn’t getting so important?” asks Antony Little, former Conservative Leader of Norwich, and Parliamentary Candidate, “The private lives of our politicians are laid bare; from Margaret Beckett’s caravanning holidays to Eric Pickle’s curry diet, it seems that all aspects of their lives are up for grabs. I was door- knocking when the TV debates were first broadcast in the UK in 2010, and what was interesting is that the Nick Clegg surge definitely happened... that surge was based upon Clegg’s perceived personality; very few people mentioned specific policies or ideas that he put forward.” The difference between the future, and the situation as it currently stands, is that the delicate balance between policy and personality may be replaced by an all-dominating emphasis on the latter. Potential reasons for this transferral were suggested by each of our survey’s respondents; the majority of whom attributed the evolution to an increasing fascination in celebrity culture, as well as a growing reliance on social media. The implications of this common consensus are numerous. The transformation of electoral campaigns to a wholly online format, has the potential to completely alter the demographic of voter; potentially alienating some and accommodating others, as Councillor Little acknowledges, “You may not want to speak to a candidate at 6pm when the dinner is on and the kids are screaming, but come 9pm, the wine glass is out and the laptop is open then it is a different story.” Furthermore, a singular emphasis on personality has the capacity to produce a British Government comprised of media icons; a cabinet of celebrities without the ‘A-List’ tag-line. In 2007, Brian Wheeler, a politic correspondent for the BBC, inferred this of the then-incumbent Prime Minister, Tony Blair. Asides from making direct reference to the landslide majority with which Blair triumphed, his article also attributed it to Blair’s charismatic personality as opposed to his policy-making; alluding, “His specific policies were modest in scope, but his rhetoric was dizzying... He deployed all of his charm and charisma on TV chat shows, showing himself to be a natural in front of the cameras, in contrast to the more stilted Major.” In the fifteen years that have passed since Blair’s victory to Prime Minister, the explosion in social media, and therefore the increased opportunity to “deploy charisma”, has irreversibly changed the landscape on which election campaigns are run. As progress begets progress, it follows that this momentum will continue in the years to come. On a national level, the leader of a political party has always been the charismatic front man; the cover by which to judge the book. It is unsurprising therefore, that personalities such as Tony Blair’s have appealed to the public. So little is made visible of role of the Executive to the general populace, that the only quantifiable factor is the character of its leader. In Britain’s majoritarian First-Past-The-Post voting system however, should this fascination with personality transcend to a local level, the future of a political manifesto could be in jeopardy...
David Cameron, n/a (2011) www.frontiersla.com
do you think a political candidateâ€™s personality will become more important to voters in future years?
yes 75% no 12.5% it will stay the same 12.5%
which is more important to you in a political candidate: personality or policies?
personality 12.5% policies 67.5%
do you think that trends in politics are directly linked to trends in society?
yes 62.5% no 37.5%
survey . abigail gurney read 2013
ode to self words . abigail
i am not the deepening lines: not the number of roads i have walked
i am not an impaired vision, or the people with which i had talked
witness the glow of the inner being; the soul that existed before
for gender nor age cannot stifle the spirit, that will be silent no more.
words . tonje
man working, n/a (2011) www.menshealth.co.uk
Today it is more and more important to enhance self-realisation, and to perform better in less time, with less effort. Here, we look into musicology, and how that in the future might help shape office spaces for a better environment for those in it. Musicology, or music psychology has been a branch under psychology for about a hundred years. There are many different areas of music psychology â€“ the biggest area looks at the behavior and experience of music performance, but the past few years there has been a rise in research of the area that deals with the behavior and experience of music listening. What first might spring to mind here is how music is sometimes used in
therapy, in treatment for neurological disorders such as Alzheimerâ€™s, amnesia, depression and epilepsy, with very positive effects on patients. The idea of applying music in different situations to gain a certain effect is not entirely new, however a more conscious use of certain music, and that more specifically in office spaces to better performances of employees is on the rise, and is something for managing directors of larger office spaces to especially be on the lookout for. Looking at office environments is particularly interesting as they are so common; most employees have computers and can therefore listen to their own self-selected music. It is also
office music works
interesting given that most employees report high levels of stress at work that music can be a stressreducing and relaxing factor. So how can this be applied in a more controlled setting, for everyone to be comfortable with? Dr. Daniel Müllensiefen, a senior lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths College, recently did a study in association with the advertising company DDB where they tested office workers in a controlled environment where they tested them in cognitive tests, whilst listening to music in their preferred genre, music in a genre they didn’t like, and also in silence. “The results came back very clear; and showed that people would achieve the
best test results if they were in a room that played their favorite genre of music.” Dr. Müllensiefen tells us that even though the test subjects didn’t know the songs, as long as they were familiar with the genre, this would heighten their arousal levels and bias them positively to work on the set tasks.
scent spaces images . meg hutchison