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Find out more about Jo Malone's limited edition Lavenderland collection with Celine Roux, Global Head of Fragrance and master perfumers Yann Vasnier, Anne Flipo and Marie Salamagne.
Where did the inspiration for this collection come from?
Celine: For a long time we have wanted to create a fragrance collection withthree perfumers around one ingredient. Then one day we had the opportunity to make this happen! It all started in Venice during an internal team-building trip; I invited the perfumers Anne Flipo, Marie Salamagne and Yann Vasnier to speakto our global teams and run some workshops. I saw this incredible chemistrybetween them. They are all so talented and come from different fragrance houses, yet they have so many shared experiences. It was a very special moment and Ithought 'this is our dream team'. We suggested the collaboration focus on lavender as the ingredient is so British and each perfumer's creativity could flow from that.
How did the creative process develop?
Celine: At Jo Malone London, it is always a creative experience where we developand collaborate together. Lavender was the starting point for the perfumers; after that they could do what they wanted because they understand our passion for contrasts. We didn't know how it was all going to work out or how to work together given the perfumers come from different houses but we went with it!
What were your pre-conceptions of lavender before working onthis collection?
Celine: In perfumery, we mainly use French lavender. It is such a familiar, popularscent, so we wanted to explore it as a sophisticated fragrance ingredient in waysthat you might not be used to. We've taken natural English lavender and gone in three different directions with the other ingredients, to give it that Jo Malone London twist.
Tell us more about the three different twists?
Celine: Marie Salamagne's Wisteria & Lavender celebrates the floral side of lavender and the dreamy purple colours of both flowers. Yann Vasnier's SilverBirch & Lavender is a dryer, sexy, woody 'fougere' interpretation; and Anne Flipo's Lavender & Coriander brings the aromatic oriental facets into centre stage.
Did you visit any locations for inspiration?
Celine: In July 2018 we travelled together to Castle Farm in Kent to see their incredible lavender fields in full bloom, and to be shown the distillation process. It was absolutely magical and very special to experience the smell, colour and texture of English lavender for inspiration. Yann, Marie and Anne could all detect different scent facets – it was wonderful to listen to.
What was it like working with three different perfumers?
Celine: That was one of the best parts of the whole process! They have a lot incommon and they have all worked Jo Malone London individually in the past andwhen I saw them together in Venice they had great chemistry between them. Through it we've all become very close – I couldn't have created this collection with perfumers that we have never worked with. Lots of people relate to lavender on a personal level, so this collection has become a very special for me: it links myspecial relationship with the perfumers, the English elegance of lavender and the human connection to this scent that is beloved and nostalgic for so many people.
Did you encounter any challenges along the way?
Celine: The only obstacle was to make sure each perfumer had access to a great English lavender oil to work with, which needs to be sourced by their ownfragrance house. They're all from different producers around the country, sowe are supporting several harvesting farms. It feels authentic and everyone was enthusiastic. The perfumers are used to working with their own specific lavender from their fragrance company, so to ask them to use an English lavender added a complexity to their work because the tiny differences make a big impact ontheir creations.
Wisteria & Lavender
Where did the inspiration for Wisteria & Lavender begin?
Marie: After our initial conversation the ideas started to turn around in my head, but it was during our visit to the lavender fields in Kent when everything clicked. I was particularly interested in the intense purple colour of the lavender; colour inspires the way I work because I associate smells to them. So, with this incredible violet shade I knew wisteria could be a great pairing.
How did you develop the fragrance?
Marie: When wisteria blooms the flowers smell powdery, sugary and spicy butvery delicate too – they are beautiful! The scent of wisteria cannot be captured through distillation or extraction, and only recently we have been able to create a good quality note through Headspace technology, which smells very close to nature. My goal was to balance this very soft, round, warm floral note with the aromatic herbal lavender to create a romantic floral scent that is comforting, sensual and feminine. I pushed the powdery facet using some heliotrope, and I enhanced the aromatic contrast with an English lavender oil that is very fresh and green to bring luminosity to the scent.
Tell us about your relationship with wisteria?
Marie: It is a very special smell for me: I grew up with wisteria growing on my country house and I find it very addictive to look after and watch. It only appears for a few weeks in May, then it goes. Later in the summer it comes backfor a very short time, like a little gift. I wanted to keep the formula simple andnot too complicated, so that all the focus is on the delicate dainty wisteria petalsand soft lavender buds.
Celine, what was your involvement in this creation?
Celine: Marie is amazing with florals. I knew she adored wisteria and hadsuggested it for some fragrances in the past, but it never really worked. We were inspired to add wisteria to the fragrance when we saw the creative imagery for the collection – the house in the images is framed with a beautiful covering of purple wisterias, and we thought it would pair perfectly with our English lavender. The name is so good too – Wisteria & Lavender – it works rhythmically and visually, and the contrasting notes are beautiful. In the collection it's the most romantic of the three scents and an unexpected direction for lavender.
Which Jo Malone London fragrance would you combine with Wisteria & Lavender?
Marie: I love this paired with Peony & Blush Suede for the floralcy. The petal notes create a bouquet feeling and the combination enhances the romance for both colognes.
Silver Birch & Lavender
Tell us about your experience creating Silver Birch & Lavender?
Yann: It was a fun but very long journey for me! After discussing the concept it was a totally free creative exercise, but I went too intellectual. I started lookingat lavender references in literature such as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night'sDream. I wanted to find a contrast to quiet side of lavender so I tried boozy notes, then I went too fresh... I tried it all! Then Celine said to me: 'Yann, you're good with sexy woods – let's go down that route.' I tried a variety until we came to silver birch, which was the one: it is green and fresh with aniseed and a smooth woody finish. I added fennel and clary sage to enhance the aromatic coniferous facets. Grapefruit and mandarin add additional freshness. To keep the refined aspect of the silver birch I used the same extract of roasted oak that I used for English Oak & Hazelnut.
How did the visit to the lavender fields help your creative process?
Yann: I've never smelt lavender like that! We are all very used to working withour own lavender oils provided by our perfume houses so to smell this differentvariety was exciting. It was soft and juicy with a round peach sweetness andvelvety quality that I've never come across. It was the first time I've seen such full, generous petals too. Working with Celine is very inspiring too. She pushes us and it's very special to create something for Jo Malone London - it's unlike any other brand.
Which Jo Malone London fragrance would you combine with Silver Birch & Lavender?
Yann: I would definitely recommend it with Wild Bluebell, which brings out afloral romantic side. But for me personally I combine it with English Oak & Hazelnut. The Silver Birch & Lavender adds aromatic coniferous lightness to the roasted, dark notes.
Lavender & Coriander
Why did you choose to pair lavender with coriander?
Anne: Often you find lavender in the garden next to other aromatics; there are similarities in scents that grow very close together so they feel harmonious. Coriander, sage, mint, parsley, tarragon and verbena are all totally integrated with lavender. I chose coriander because the seed oil doesn't have the bitterness of the leaves that we usually associate with it. It is a very chic and fresh raw material that celebrates the herbaceous facets of lavender in an elegant way.
How did you develop the fragrance?
Anne: I explored all types of lavender oil – French, English and even lavandin, which is a more refreshing and stimulating variety of lavender – in all ways ofdistillation. I added a touch of sage and juniper to add complexity to the aromatic aspect. I played in the base with tonka bean to bring warmth and depth. Finally, I used a touch of aldehydes to illuminate the fragrance and give it energy.
We've met Lavender & Coriander before – what made you decide to reintroduce it?
Celine: Yes, it was actually one of the fragrances in a previous limited-edition collection called 'Herb Garden' from 2016 and it did incredibly well, so we knew our customers would love to have it back. It is a perfect way to showcase the aromatic English 'garden' character of lavender. It is familiar and invigorating, but because of the beautiful construction it doesn't smell like an aromatherapy product. Anne tweaked the formula to incorporate more English Lavender oil and keep it harmonious with the others in the collection.
Which Jo Malone London fragrance would you pair with Lavender& Coriander?
Anne: I love to combine this with our Lime Basil & Mandarin. The zesty aromatics match very well together, and the spicy coriander and basil bring strength and energy.
Lavender & Musk
There are two home products in the collection. What was the conceptbehind these?
Celine: This was actually one of the first ideas Marie and I developed. This Lavender & Musk accord worked so beautifully, and we fell in love with it, but when we tried it on the skin as a cologne it didn't work. We decided to evolve it into a home scent as a Pillow Mist and Diffuser, as an additional way to incorporate lavender into this collection.
What is the story behind this scent combination?
Marie: When I think about lavender I can smell the airy feeling of the flower. It reminds me of my childhood and how it is everywhere in your house, in every cupboard, hanging on the ceiling and folded between freshly washed sheets that have dried outside in the sun. It brings a sense of calm, reassurance and clarity to the home. I channelled those memories and combined lavender with a clear, luminous musk note to evoke the feeling and texture of fresh sheets on your skin after a shower. It speaks to everyone and it's a familiar, comforting moment.
How should you use the Pillow Mist?
Marie: Two or three sprays straight onto your pillow – so simple! When we formulated it we made sure it was light enough and not overpowering. Over the years I've used lavender oil on my sheets and pillows so to elevate that ritual into a mist form I kept that simplicity but added a touch of complexity like you would find in a perfume. Not too heavy, not too fleeting – creates anatmosphere of freshness, softness and clarity, which is very comforting.
How does the Diffuser scent work within the home?
Marie: Lavender is an aromatic scent that doesn't compete with others in the home so it's very easy to use. It's not too heavy or sticky, and brings purity and freshness to any room.