Friday 25 February 2011

    Distilling the divine, indefinable Ms. Guinness.

    Daphne Guinness creates her  signature scent with Comme des Garcons.

    Daphne Eau de Parfum

    A sexy, sultry scent made for a goddess.

    Her eponymous fragrance is the two-and-a-half years of mingling her favorite aromas to find that one perfect aromatic essence. It was produced by Comme des Garçons at the invitation of Adrian Joffe, under the eye (and nose) of parfumer Antoine Lie.

    “For me, [scent] is time travel. It takes you away from the everyday and you are transported to something in your past. It’s a very mysterious thing. It’s magic.”

    Apothecary Shop, c.1920s

    Scent recipe: Taking smells from Guinness’s favorite places on earth, Daphne has a top note of incense, a heart of tuberose and a base note of oud (the resin from an extremely rare Southeast Asian tree). She was granted unprecedented access to the famous Givaudan lab to collaborate on Daphne, adding notes of saffron, Florentine iris, bitter Italian orange, and Madagascar vanilla, a process she describes as “getting to play with the philharmonic orchestra.”

    Her personal blend of incense, tuberose, and oud triggers potent memories. The tuberose and cedar, she says, take her back to her mother’s garden in Cadaques, Spain; the incense sparks visions of High Church rituals during childhood; the oud speaks to her sense of adventure.

    The principal note of tuberose, a night-blooming perennial flower native to Mexico, reminds her of her mother, who passed away in 2005, and the flower market in Spain she visited every summer.

    “We always used to have these huge vats of them (tuberose), and they would just fill the house with scent all summer long. I would collect them and put them all on greaseproof paper with a kind of gel, and then you leave it for a few days. Then you’d scrape off the gel and have a sort of essence…they’re not beautiful in the peony sense of the word, but the smell is unlike anything else. I love it.”

    Since childhood, Guinness has combined essential oils with an alcohol base to make her own perfume.

    “I used to do it with pressed flowers. I know it sounds bizarre, but that’s the kind of person I am.”

    “Fragrance takes you on a journey of time,” she explains.

    “You can walk down the street and pass someone and get taken back 20 years. It’s very Proustian that way.”

    When asked how important fragrance is to her style, Guinness replied, “Huge. Huge. It’s a ritual…”

    Who can wear it: Definitely not a wallflower scent, rich, heady Daphne is surprisingly accessible and addictive. Fashionistas, arty types and scent connoisseurs who want heads to turn in their fragrant wake should definitely check this out.

    With a limited run of 4,000 bottles, Daphne comes in a red velvet pouch in a box that feels like it’s made of linen cardboard and is textured white on the outside but satin black on the inside. The bottle is of thick glass in an elegant but modern shape. “Daphne” is etched into its belly.

    THE LAUNCH ~ Sipping margaritas whilst watching Daphne’s beautifully shot 3-D film Mnemosyne (the Greek goddess of memory), for a moment guests were transported into her magical world at Dover Street Market in London who hosted a party to launch the perfume.

    “I wanted to make something beautiful to go with the fragrance that has a life of its own,”

    she says of the video, a Web-released “anti-ad” that doesn’t have a single logo or bottle in it.



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