‘If I’ve been wearing one perfume for three months, I force myself to give it up, even if I still feel like wearing it, so whenever I smell it again it will always remind me of those three months,” wrote Andy Warhol in his 1975 book The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again). “I never go back to wearing it again; it becomes part of my permanent smell collection.”
Warhol may have been onto something. For the artist, perfume was “another way to take up more space”, and in 2021 scent has taken on even more, allowing us to transport ourselves to other worlds where borders don’t exist and the only thing holding us back is imagination.
Fragrance can help us to temporarily leave our reality and imbue ourselves with new, bolder personalities. It can also help define certain moments or memories in our lives. Try on a different version of yourself this party season with one of these new iterations.
Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt cologne 50ml, $179
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Seaweed, sage, grapefruit and sea salt.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: All Black Beauden Barre wore this scent when he married Hannah Laity on Rakino Island. It’s the scent that whips off the wake of the Waiheke ferry and engulfs you in love on your way to an island wedding you’ll never forget. Androgynous and unkempt, like the best seaside days.
Loewe A Mi Aire eau de toilette, $270, from Faradays
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Bergamot, mandarin orange, tangerine, clove, tea, jasmine, rose, pepper, carnation, hinoki wood, cedar, musk and moss.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: You’re vaguely sunburnt on the Mediterranean, despite an always present crisp linen shirt and wide brimmed hat. Where in particular are you? Who knows, the endless summer days of travel are somewhat of a blur. The days are blending into endless jasmine-fringed seascapes. Eventually you will head to Italy where stylish wooden boats will whisk you to dinner. For now, the Marlborough Sounds are a gloriously apt substitute, but your heart will never stray far from Spain, home of Loewe.
Miss Dior eau de parfum 100ml, $300
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Iris, peony, lily of the valley, rose, peach, apricot, vanilla, tonka bean, musk, benzoin and sandalwood.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: For those who dream of visiting the California super-bloom, a semi-regular floral extravaganza in the Mojave Desert that evokes an Insta-inspired dream of frolicking recklessly in endless fields of flowers, a visual delight as strong as an olfactory one. You are Miss Dior campaign face Natalie Portman, mysterious yet playful; joyful. You’re playing croquet in a friend’s bee-filled backyard, or strolling Hamilton Gardens with the delirium of a lover’s hand.
Carolina Herrera Good Girl Superstar Collector’s edition eau de parfum 80ml, $226
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Cocoa, tonka, almond and coffee.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: All night parties where your makeup stays imperfectly perfect, your feet never hurt and the hangovers never kick in. This is for loud music, late nights, hoarse voices from screaming to make yourself heard over the pulsing bass; it’s for nightcaps when your ears are ringing and you need a final stop before bed.
Chanel N°5 Limited Edition eau de parfum, $307
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Aldehydes, ylang-ylang, neroli, bergamot, lemon, iris, jasmine, rose, orris root and lily of the valley.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: This iconic fragrance famously comprises 80 ingredients, meticulously blended so there is no hero, simply perfect harmony. The ultimate scent to wear when hosting incredible minds for dinner, where conversation flows as freely as Champagne, and is as intelligent and hotly debated as if you were seated among the many intellectual and creative giants who were gathered in Paris in 1921 when the first iteration of Chanel’s scent was launched. At this dinner party of your dreams all our wits work in perfect harmony, no-one is shouting each other down; as a group, we make each other better.
Ralph Lauren Ralph’s Club eau de parfum 100ml, $192
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Lavender, clary sage, Virginia cedar and vetiver.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: It’s hard to hear the name Ralph Lauren without immediately conjuring vignettes of polo and the olfactory triggers of this fragrance (some would call this a “men’s fragrance”) will take you right there. The woody, earthy tones of a leather saddle, through to the freshly dug grass evoked by clary sage; it’s glamour but musky, androgynous. You’re at an exclusive members-only club, drinking the best-quality dark spirits and reclining in luxurious leather chairs.
Gray Label and Abel Odor Nurture eau de parfum 30ml, $160
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Orange blossom, Bulgarian rose, ginger, jasmine sambac and sandalwood.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: You’re an incredible earth mother who, despite making homemade playdough dyed with beetroot and blueberry juices, wears always impeccably clean and perfectly rumpled thin white cotton dresses (the kind you can see the outline of your legs through, à la Lady Diana with her kindergarten students), that you hand wash in a bubbling brook in the woods nearby. Later that night you harvest spray-free greens from the garden that the children eat with a beatific smile. Life is a sensory overload of the blossoms on the trees your children help you prune, the bubbling brook that flows through the wood at the bottom of the garden and the play house you’ve fashioned near it, with its grassy memories.
Tiffany & Co. Rose Gold eau de parfum 50ml, $179
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Blackcurrant, blue rose accord and ambrette seed.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: Described as embodying the spirit of optimism, this fragrance evokes exotic holidays in far-flung locales. You’re staying at the Eden Rock hotel in St Barths over the New Year’s period; famous regulars are eating at the table behind you. Shoulders are bare and well-moisturised, sunglasses are oversized; the sound of crystal glasses clinking and murmured private conversations fill the air. This is the vibe to take to the Duke of Marlborough in Russell, the Oyster Inn on Waiheke, or any number of other wonderful outdoor celebratory venues in Aotearoa this summer.
Hermès Twilly Eau Ginger eau de parfum 30ml, $110
THE OFFICIAL NOTES: Peony, ginger, candied ginger and cedar.
THE MEMORIES TO BE MADE: You’re choppered into a remote woody mountain enclave in or around Queenstown, where a sumptuous spread awaits. It’s summer; the snow has melted and the sun is crisping up previously covered pine needles, leaves and wild grasses evoking scents of purity and hope. The memory also works for any of the beautiful forests around Aotearoa deserving of a picnic in displays of light and dark tree canopies, perfectly set as a reward for the intrepidness of getting there.