HOPE Stockholm Co-Founder Ann Ringstrand Launches New Brand in NYC

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Last night in Soho, the co-founder of iconic Swedish brand HOPE Stockholm, Ann Ringstrand, launched her eponymous new collection to raves. The line features three exquisite blends of scents she developed with her Paris team and gemstone jewelry which marries 60s Scandinavian style with native mala beading.

From black tourmaline to white howlite to dark red jasper, each energetically charged piece was locally sourced and hand cut into uneven beads by artisans in Brazil. The fragrances and oils are meant to compliment the jewelry, with scents designed to linger on the gemstones and keep you connected to yourself while you navigate the rigors of the modern urban world.

“The story is that I have always created designs and concepts that reflect the time we live in,” she told us. “My path has travelled through the field of fashion towards this lifestyle concept that touches our senses. During my 25 years as a designer, I have constantly lived my life in the fast lane, focusing on the future. The now has never been on my agenda. Neither have goals been described as feelings.”

But with these new projects, she explained how she is attempting to slow things down, to be more reflective and inward-looking.

“I finally came to a point where I was missing the feeling of present life,” she revealed. “I started searching for tools to support my need to be in the moment. I discovered that a fantastic way to get in contact with myself was to include my senses. My new brand actually carries both native wisdom from the world of spirituality and a design for urban life that matches my aesthetic style.”

For the opening event, she collaborated with her former Lower East Side studio mate, sculptor Maria Moyer, to create one-of-a-kind sculptures and fragrance diffusers inspired by – and made specifically for – the new brand.  All were exhibited in the showroom of their third studio partner, lighting designer Lindsey Adelman. Together they created an atmosphere that eloquently exuded the ultimate essence of Ann Ringstrand.

 

 

 

Your New Perfume Is Written in the Stars

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Choose your sign? Not really an option, but thanks to Strange Invisible Perfumes, mixing and matching your zodiac scent is both possible and encouraged.

“We all have more than one sign layered within our personality much like the layers of a perfume composition,” explains Alexandra Balahoutis, founder of the Venice Beach-based perfume house. It’s why her Zodiac scents — 12 in total – are so personal.

Though each scent in itself represents the complexities of each sign, Balahoutis knows we’re even more faceted than our signs could describe. In turn, the perfumes are all meant to be layered however the wearer wishes. For instance, if you were a Gemini with Virgo rising, the combined scents of Gemini’s gardenia and leather (already representative of the sign’s dualities) and Virgo’s notes of rose might remind you of yourself more than you imagined.

Each scent is available for $125 at siperfumes.com

A Power Couple of English Roses

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THIS is what I call a power couple. Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, two British icons, appear together for the first time for what may be the most iconic British fashion house. This campaign launches Burberry’s new fragrance: My Burberry. The “My” is due to the fact that the bottles can be custom monogrammed to further up the luxe factor.

The fragrance is said to be inspired by the smell of an English garden after the rain, so naturally, Moss and Delevingne wear Burberry trenches. Even the bottle echoes the coats with a gabardine ribbon and horn-effect cap meant to evoke the the trench fabric and the buttons, respectively.

The whole thing is so full of all I love about England that even without a monogrammed bottle of my own, I can almost smell the (English) roses.

THE BOTTLE BURBERRY

Images courtesy of Burberry

Get Educated at Saks’ New Fragrance Library

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As a recent graduate, going to the library is associated with final exams, over-caffeination, and getting the death stare for sneezing.  Not so with Saks’ new perfume library, which provides an array of 50 best-selling perfumes in a modern and beautiful library-setting.  Targeting the contemporary floor customer, the library aims to provide a curated collection of trending perfumes and the classics in a more peaceful setting than the main fragrance department.  There, you can find bespectacled “fragrance librarians” who are specifically trained to help you sort through the collection and find the perfect scent.  A beautiful combination of library-style curation and fragrance shopping, I’ll take the fragrance library over a stuffy campus one any day.

Smell Golden: Kilian Hennessy’s Fragrance Filled Jewels

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Scented jewelry from By Kilian’s Jewels of L’Oeuvre Noire collection

For Kilian Hennessy, fragrance is an accessory, like a bag or a shoe. And like a bag or a shoe, Hennessy believes you should wear your scent — visibly. It’s a dream that the executive is making a reality with the introduction of the Jewels of L’Oeuvre Noire, a capsule collection of four necklaces for women (in gold or rhodium) with special features to hold one of six By Kilian scents of choice.

The men can wear their cologne visibly, too; the Leathers of L’Oeuvre Noire come in five scents, lasting up to a year.

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The Leathers of L’Oeuvre Noire

The collections launch in By Kilian stores in New York and Moscow on Sunday, with broader availability in Bergdorf Goodman, Harrod’s, and global By Kilian stores in September.

Images courtesy of By Kilian

Get a Whiff of Alexander Wang’s First Balenciaga Perfume

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Anna Ewers styled by Vanessa Traina Snow and shot by Steven Klein. Photo courtesy of Balenciaga.

Alexander Wang previewed his first fragrance for Balenciaga during the resort preview on Thursday. B Balenciaga is at once fresh and woody, with notes of lily of the valley, violet green leaves, edamame, and cedar and cashmeran wood. “I’ve always been attracted to scents with strong green notes, and we also added a darker woody flair to it,” Wang told WWD.

The bottle is reminiscent of the marble flooring in Cristobal Balenciaga’s original Paris salon, also calling to mind the marble patterns Wang incorporated into his first collection for the house. Architectural, the bottle also represents well his designs for the house.

B joins two other current Balenciaga fragrances; Florabotanica and Rosabotanica, on sale come October at Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and select Sephora locations.

Sexy and the Sexless: Frédéric Malle on New Stores and New Scents

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Frédéric Malle in his new West Village store

“If you don’t like your boyfriend, you go” thwack, a smack Frédéric Malle mimes with a block of aluminum foam, a material that makes up the walls in Malle’s new store. For such an elegant man, he’s awfully feisty. The opening of the Frédéric Malle Greenwich Avenue store marks the first time this aluminum foam has been used in the United States. It’s a futuristic material; very light, but rigid. The foam, mixed with the walnut wood on the semi-circle display sculpture creates a very simple, Zen, unique space.
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Never mind that he’s built a collection of intoxicating fragrances so luxurious and thoughtful, or that he has essentially created a publishing house for perfume, working with top perfumers to build his brand’s library — scent may be the most important thing about Frédéric Malle, but architecture follows right on top of its heels.

Malle’s first shop opened in Paris 14 years ago on June 6; his second in New York, (another is on Madison Avenue,) a West Village location, opens again on the same date, this Friday. “I’m very superstitious,” he explains.

Nestled on Greenwich Avenue, the shop contains its own uniquely warm and modern world. Step through the complex-seeming door, and it’s as if only that space exists.

“God is in the details with these things, and you have to work with god. I work with gods here,” he says, gesturing to the perfumes on display, “So I’ve got to work with gods of architecture… My idea was to put a drawer of modernity done as one piece within the building, and designed by a great architect that would do everything.”

That great architect is Steven Holl. Holl spends his mornings painting watercolors of future projects, and for Malle’s, the idea that fragrance “feeds two parts of the brain” tied both to memory and imagery, inspired Holl’s watercolors of two semi-circles not exactly parallel to one another, a motif rendered on the floor, the wall, the door, and in the secret garden out back.

stevenhollfredericmalleA Steven Holl watercolor from the Frédéric Malle project

Holl mainly had his way; Malle’s only requirements in the shop were the inclusion of portraits of the perfumers who’ve created fragrances for Frédéric Malle, they hang above the cabinet where the refrigerated cabinet where fragrances are stored, (requirement two,) and the smelling columns that Malle invented himself.

Holl also brought in Hervé Descottes, the best lighting designer in the world, according to Malle, who lights projects and buildings for Frank Gehry. Thee lighting is still being finalized when I’m there, but the system is in place for the design to change throughout the day, depending on the light outside.

The salespeople at Frédéric Malle aren’t the kind who stand idly by as customers blindly spray perfumes in the air — you can forget blotters, too. “You won’t have the faintest idea what you will be smelling of” that way, says Malle. Customers at Frédéric Malle experience scent through one of the perfumer/publisher’s own creations, a sort of booth ventilation system built specially into the walls, made of glass cylinders that a fragrance is sprayed into. Poke your head in and as Malle says, “sense the aura.” Try it on for size, make sure it fits. There are three of these cylinders in Malle’s new shop. This after a quick analysis and recommendation based on a customer’s mannerisms, volume control, and even his or her style of hair.

Your appearance and personality may dictate a preference for perfume, who you are will have something to do with what you say through choice of scent.

“Very fresh, citrus fragrances are sexless. And they convey an idea of being clean. And so it’s like a deluxe extension of toiletry. A shower that lasts forever. Or as long as possible,” says Malle.

The anti sexless option then might be the woodier scents.

“This sort of oak musk/patchouli, woody fragrance, of even Orientals based on amber and vanilla… all of these smell of a woman’s skin, and are basically shouting ‘I smell like that when I’m naked.’ It’s sort of that. That’s what a fragrance is about when you think of it… These are very sexual.”

And they work well on both men and women.

Land somewhere in the middle and you wind up with a floral fragrance, which Malle prescribes exclusively for women.

“A white flower, a gardenia, will never work on a man. Unless you want to make a point that you smell like a woman,” he says.

A man maybe shouldn’t wear florals, but a masculine scent on a woman is another story.

“As much as you wear big Rolexes, men’s clothes, which is a way to say, ‘I have a boyfriend,’ or ‘I am so pretty that I can wear men’s clothes.’ It’s a sort of neo-Chanel type of gesture.”

Back to the architecture… The garden in the back features a fountain inspired by Carlo Scarpa and designed by Holl. Malle has created the garden as a treat for himself; it’s not for customers, though if you hang out in the shop enough, you may be lucky enough to receive an invitation for prosecco in the garden. Bonne chance.

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Frédéric Malle and his Scarpa-inspired fountain

Frédéric Malle’s West Village store opens Friday, June 6 and is located at 94 Greenwich Avenue, New York.

Bright, Shimmering Beauty Hope

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Officially, it’s spring. The weather has yet to catch up (though the sun is shining today) but we’re ready, you know? Enough of the doldrums, the winter blues, and seasonal affective disorder. It’s time to shed the shadows (metaphorically and otherwise) and step into the light! Floral fragrances, dewy skin, and hot colors abound.

Byredo — Flowerhead — First things first, we need to get the mood right. And seriously, sometimes nothing helps more than a good whiff of something fantastic. Enter Byredo’s latest fragrance, Flowerhead. Riffing on the major floral power invested in Indian weddings, this is a rich scent with an overwhelming sense of exotic flowers — the kind of thing we like to be overpowered and intoxicated by. It’s hot. It might help keep us warm enough until actual summer, when real flowers can mingle with our eau de parfum.

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Coast to Coast — Skin Illuminating Cleansing Water — Next up — that glow. The one that you can only get a few different ways… And also with proper skincare. Step one? Eradicating any sign of dull, dark, sad times. Coast to Coast’s cleanser is tops for this. A no-rinse formula with sweet orange, it purifies our skin, gets rid of makeup, all without wasting a drop of water. (Great in the instance that you should you find yourself in a desert, on the go, or in the company of green enthusiasts.)

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Caudalie — Eau de Raisin — And aprés-cleansing? Hydrate yourself back to healthy with the help of Caudalie’s mist. After cleansing, after moisturizing, heck, even after makeup. Mist away, pretty kids.

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MAKE UP FOR EVER — HD Blush in 210 — And then there’s makeup, something we’ll need less of when the mercury rises. One of the products sure to make the cut? A super lightweight cream blush. Though it’s a new color, you’ve seen this before, flushing the cheeks of Mad Men‘s gorgeous Christina Hendricks. And if it works for her…

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Tom Ford — Lip Color Sheer — Sheer is sexy, and it’s new this season for Tom Ford Beauty. Warmer temps mean lighter layers, and the guy who does sex better than anyone has us feeling the need to pare down — but in the right ways. Sheer, shimmering colors will undoubtedly be stunning against the backdrop of a perfect, glowing tan. Soon, soon. Our fave? Pink Dune, a sexy, pink-y buff that will be perfectly matched to our nails…

Tom Ford — Nail Lacquer in Incandescent — Molten, vast, sunlit beaches come to mind. Swipe this on and languor poolside, or at the very least, stare down at your fingernails as you type and imagine doing just that. Spring is just the beginning of the hot fun to come, after all. Might as well get ourselves acquainted.

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Main image: photograph by Guy Bourdin

Getting Tipsy at the Fragrance Counter: The Glenlivet-Inspired Cologne

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The first time I drank an overly tall glass of Fernet, I felt most certainly that I would be permanently scented something like Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather (they are remarkably similar to one another in smell and both have the effect of making you feel stately, grand, and quite cozy.) As the green liquid grew smaller in my glass, I found it easier to imagine a cohesively Fernet-scented life. How wonderful would it be if your signature drink and scent were the same? You could probably get away with more inappropriately early daytime drinking. Not saying you would. But you could.

Apparently I’m not the only one dreaming of the life most blotto: an artisanal fragrance house in Brooklyn called D.S. & Durga has partnered with The Glenlivet, a single malt Scotch whisky better known for its drinkability than scenting. But we all take a moment to savor those spicy aromatics before taking a sip, and now there exists HYLNDS Spirit of the Glen, a prairie-switchgrass, smelted iron, and sherry cask-scented unisex fragrance reminiscent of The Glenlivet 18 year old whisky. Not to mention the bottle is beautiful. I’m a sucker for clean packaging.

“Fragrance and whisky are both transporting liquids, their aromatic cues conjure up memories, dreams, and images in your mind,” says David Moltz, D.S. & Durga’s perfumer. Yes, dreams, dreams of perpetual Fernet or Glenlivet envelopment, apparently.