A journey through the maze of perfumes at the bi-annual Elements Showcase in New York City is always inspiring, partly because you always discover top notch perfumeries that are new to the scene. This year, Elements houses the familiar niche houses like Histoires de Parfum and Bond No.9 along with new names like Lili Bermuda and Olfactive Studio.
The Showcase is mostly a venue to introduce new fragrances to industry and the press, and has launched the retail careers of some notable perfume lines.
New and Noteworthy
These are newcomers to Elements but not necessarily new to the perfume scene. All these brands use the finest quality ingredients and stand apart from the crowd in some unique way, whether it’s sourcing of ingredients, the brand’s vision, or founder’s story. Watch out for these newcomers to the U.S. fragrance scene:
An artistic reflection of Bermuda, this line (created in 1928) carries elegant glass bottles filled with perfume made from 100% local and authentic ingredients. Each creation is meticulously crafted at historic Stewart Hall under the watchful eye of perfumer Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone. Try: Coral ($95) a luminous and sensual blend of wild freesia, pink rose, refreshing ginger and clementine. Fresh Water ($60) is a unisex blend with notes of bigarade, orange, bergamot and mandarin. My favorite is the deliciously robust and unpredictable South Water ($60), another unisex blend, this time featuring coconut milk, juicy guava and sea salt.
Founder Celine Verleure has always loved art, and thus comes the Olfactive Studio offerings of perfumes inspired by individual works of art. The bottles are clear and incredibly iconic, and each perfume is a work of art. Lumiere Blanche was inspired by a white painting and has notes of warm milk and spices. You’ll find top notes of cardamom, badiane, and canelle; middle notes of iris, almond milk, and cashmere; and drydown of cedar, sandalwood, tonka bean and white musk. One of the most original fragrances I have smelled, this is most certainly unisex (as with all the perfumes in the line) and a terrific introduction to the brand. Try: The sampler if you’re unsure of what to get.
The incredible appeal of this home fragrance line is the artwork of the Italian artist Piero Fornasetti. For this line, his son Barnaba Fornesetti and his team of Milanese artists chose certain works from the graphic archive and re-interpreted them as new shapes and objects such as lacquered boxes and large votive holders. The first Fornasetti fragrance called “Otto” was created by Olivier Polge of International Flavors & Fragrances and now inspires the candles and home diffusers of the new perfume line. To buy a piece of this collection is to own an heirloom: each votive holder and Incense Box is truly a work of art, meant to be passed down through generations.
Founded in Paris in 1923 by Blanche Arvoy, this Rue de la Paix shop nearly faded into oblivion but was fiscally revived in 2006 by Francois Henin. The original fragrances—very opulent and evocative—are reproduced with authenticity, and in 2010 Henin created the company’s first multi-brand store in Paris. Jovoy became the “Embassy” for more then 60 select perfume brands. Tip: Get Ambre 1er, which is the store’s signature perfume containing notes of musk and vanilla. Also available as a candle, it is used in several luxury hotels and Parisian stores. The candles ($120 each) are presented in little theater-red hatboxes with exclusive bell jars.