Frédéric Malle x Alber Elbaz

A new collaboration between French fragrance house Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle and Israeli fashion designer Alber Elbaz has resulted in 'Superstitious'. Black, gold and sexy as hell...


ABOVE FROM LEFT: Alber Elbaz and Frédéric Malle

ABOVE FROM LEFT: Alber Elbaz and Frédéric Malle

When they hear the words ‘grand aldehydic floral’, perfume connoisseurs usually think of one scent: 'Chanel No5'. 'Superstitious' is nothing like 'Chanel No5', but it does belong to the same fragrance family. Intriguingly, it also shares something else in common with Ernest Beaux’s 1921 masterpiece: it was composed in the old-fashioned way, by a master perfumer working alone, and presented almost complete to the fashion designer for whom it was intended to await his final flourish.

The fashion designer in question is Alber Elbaz, known for helming iconic French brands Yves Saint Laurent and Lanvin, and the perfumer is the great Dominique Ropion. Fragrance impresario Frédéric Malle has long admired the former, and long worked with the latter. Seeking a way to collaborate with Elbaz on a new scent, Malle decided to show him Ropion’s creation – and it was love at first sniff. We can see why. Its light-as-air opening – those aldehydes, which lend a perfume champagne-like effervescence – is quickly succeeded by an indolic whoosh of Egyptian jasmine and Turkish rose, and fleeting impressions of peach-skin, apricot, sandalwood and musk. It finally dries down to a Turkish delight-tinged softness.

As for the name, Malle’s explanation speaks for itself: ‘In a world where life seems programmed, organised and logical, Alber sees the irrational – neglected everywhere we are and in everything we do – as essential. Beyond words, images and reason, we must let ourselves be guided by a sixth sense – by our superstitions – free from judgment and unsuppressed. We must let ourselves go. We must trust our instincts. If [Alber and I] were to create a fragrance together, we said, it would possess this mysterious element.’ 

Ropion finished his composition with Elbaz in mind and it’s a huge hit, sexy as hell and utterly addictive. The bottle’s pretty fab, too, and like the scent it’s a fusion of creative visions: Malle’s idea of a black bottle adorned with a golden eye, the symbol of superstition; the eye itself sketched out by Elbaz in a style that recalls the work of American artist Alexander Calder. 'I transformed Alber's eye from red pen on white paper to antique gold on deep black lacquer,' recalls Malle. Timeless elegance meets modern mystique...

'Superstitious' from £158 for 50ml. Available from and
Portrait of Alber Elbaz and Frédéric Malle by Brigitte Lacombe

Vilhelm Parfumerie – New scented candles and eau de parfum

New York perfume house Vilhelm Parfumerie has launched five seductively scented candles and a figgy eau de parfum to satisfy our senses this Christmas


A while ago we featured the debut collection by Vilhelm Parfumerie, in our opinion one of the most interesting niche perfume labels to emerge in the past five years. It was founded in New York by Swedish-born former model and handbag designer Jan Ahlgren, who enlisted the talents of renowned nose Jerome Epinette after commissioning him to develop a custom fragrance to scent leather goods. Now the brand has unveiled five new scented candles, each with a story behind them and packaged in the perfumery’s signature fluted yellow glass. Top of our wish list are ‘Vilhelm’s Pipe’, which combines ginger, wild honey, tobacco leaves and sandalwood and is inspired by the lingering scent of pipe smoke at Ahlgren family gatherings; and ‘Art Deco’, a crisp scent that evokes the clean-lined elevators of the Empire State Building through notes of clove buds, cassis, papyrus and vetiver.

ABOVE: 'Vilhelm's Pipe', 'Lazy Sunday', 'Art Deco' scented candles, £60 each for 300gm
ABOVE RIGHT: 'West Coast', 'Moon Carnival' scented candles, £60 each for 300gm
BELOW: 'Purple Fig' eau de parfum, £145 for 100ml

Also new this winter is a very on-trend fig scent, ‘Purple Fig’, inspired by the Cité du Figuier, a tree-lined oasis on rue Oberkampf in Paris. Recreating the woody-milky scent of figs with notes of cassis, angelica seeds, galbanum and cedarwood, it has a fresh lemon top note and a floral aspect thanks to the inclusion of cyclamen. We think it’s a hit.

Available in the UK from


Stylish scented stocking fillers never fail. We're hoping to find a few of these in ours this Christmas...


Stockholm design brand Add:Wise was launched by architect Cecilia Falk after she found she was losing her passion for creating just 'another luxurious interior'. Now she produces notebooks, jewellery and beautifully packaged food and skincare, all made using sustainable materials and methods, with part of her profits being channelled into worthwhile causes. Our favourites from the line are the delicately scented orange-blossom bath products (including a pure shea butter infused with fragrance and a heavenly bath oil), and the bath salts containing real dried flowers (the lavender is super-relaxing). An understated geometric design on the unfussy packaging gives this range an air of pure Scandinavian goodness and we all need some of that in our lives...

ABOVE: 'Orange Blossom' shea butter, SEK 140
ABOVE RIGHT: 'Orange Blossom' soap, SEK 90

ABOVE FROM LEFT: 'Natural', 'Rose and Cornflower', and 'Lavender' bath salts, SEK 185 each

Rodin 'Lavender Absolute'

The soothing scent of lavender is having a fashion-forward moment with these fragrant new oils by stylist Linda Rodin 


New York fashion stylist Linda Rodin (right) won a devoted following for her heavenly jasmine-and-neroli-Olio Lusso scented oils when they launched nearly a decade ago. We predict a similar stampede for the new ‘Lavender Absolute’ versions, for face and body, in sleek glass bottles. The scent of lavender is well known for its relaxing and sleep-inducing properties, but Rodin has dialled it up a notch by blending two different varieties, tapping into the oils at the stem as well as in the flowers themselves for a softer, richer aroma. Contained within a cocktail of jojoba, evening primrose, argan, apricot kernel and sweet almond oils, this scent is intensely restful and wonderful to use on a cold winter night.

For Christmas, Rodin has produced a limited-edition set of the oils featuring snazzy 'Holidot' polka dot packaging, reflecting her passion for collecting spot-print clothes and curios. ‘Polka dots just make me happy,’ she says. What’s inside makes us happier still.

‘Lavender Absolute’ face oil, £105 for 30ml; body oil, £80 for 120ml. Available in the UK from

The Perfumer's Story by Azzi

With the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, British perfumer Azzi Glasser's seductive scented candles in smoky glass vessels are just what we need to chase the clouds away 


Twisted Iris.jpg

When she’s not creating bespoke scents for the likes of Noomi Rapace and Johnny Depp, British perfume designer Azzi Glasser has masterminded fragrances for Agent Provocateur and Andre Balazs’ über-cool hotels. Last year she launched her own retail scent brand, The Perfumer’s Story, with the aim of offering original, artistically inspired fragrances. Now she’s expanded its offering with a range of five scented candles, all in smoky glass holders with antique apothecary-style artwork. Highlights include ‘Twisted Iris’ – dominated by powdery iris, an expensive and luxurious note rarely encountered in home fragrance – and ‘Fig Ambrette’, an unusual green-meets-amber scent. 'My fragrances are all based on character and style, so it was a natural progression to extend my collection to home,' Glasser says. 'After all, home is a reflection of your personality: enduring and intensely personal.' We couldn't agree more...

'The Perfumer's Story' scented candles, £49 for 180gm