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quinta-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2015

The Ladies and Gentlemen of Deco London

by: Jodi Battershell

As we previously announced, a brand new house has debuted in the UK which channels the spirit and scents of the 1920s: Deco London. Launching a collection of six eaux de parfum—three for men and three for women—all housed in Art Deco-inspired packaging, Deco London celebrates the Bright Young Things of the London social scene in the Roaring 20s. With fragrance notes that echo the classic scents of this vibrant decade, sprinkled with modern touches throughout, this collection is sure to delight the bright young things of the 21st century, too. I recently had the opportunity to sample all six, and while it's tempting to play matchmaker amongst these dashing gentlemen and beautiful ladies, such matters of the heart are best left to the individual. Instead, I'll give my impressions of the scents and the fragrant "characters" they embody to help you choose your new fragrant companions.
Lawrence is the dashing gentleman in my social circle who is always on my guest list (and I hope I'm always on his!) but with whom I don't really connect on a personal level. He always knows the right people and the right things to say. He's polite, well-dressed and possesses a firm handshake, but he is always a bit cool, detached and reserved. The fragrance is an icy green fougère, with a pronounced herbal/lavender opening that smells clean and soapy. The floral notes in the heart continue the cool aspect of the scent. Given time, there's a warmth beneath the surface, but it requires patience to discern. If you enjoy classic European men's lavender scents like Caron Pour un Homme, Lawrence may be right up your alley.
All three of the Deco London's men's scents have a vintage tone but Quentin feels the most "classic" to me. (Your mileage may vary.) The reason: the moss in the base. That wonderful mossiness is combined with other timeless masculine notes like patchouli, sandalwood and leather. Quentin could easily have been worn by my dad and maybe even my grandfathers, and had it been produced that long ago, no doubt it would be an enduring classic still in production today. Tastes in fabrics and colors change with time and the seasons, but a man in a well-tailored suit never goes out of style. Quentin is that man in fragrant form and is perfect for such men, or those who aspire to be such men.   

And last but not least, we have Ernest, my favorite gentleman of the group. Ernest strikes me as the kind of guy who would give big bear hugs and sweep ladies off their feet, literally and figuratively. Ernest is a warm, effusive fragrance that felt like an old friend from first sniff. It's the sweetest scent of the trio, but not overly so—more like a lingering note of fine tobacco or brandy on a man's leather jacket. Amber and vanilla do the heavy lifting in this soft oriental blend of citrus, woody notes, leather and even a few floral nuances—all of which you won't notice until Ernest has wrapped you in those sexy, well-muscled arms he conceals beneath shirt sleeves. 
(Since these three scents were designed with men in mind, I sought a second/masculine opinion from Mr. NLS. He enjoyed all three and his top choice was Quentin. He enjoys old-timey scents and he, too, credits the moss.)
As with so many things in history—women voting, women wearing trousers, women entering the business and professional realms—the women of Deco London move towards the modern age a few paces ahead of the men.
Loretta is the classic girl of the group. She may admire the "bob" hairstyles of the flappers, but she'd never commit to the chop herself, preferring her romantic tendrils stay long enough to be secured by a pretty ribbon. She keeps current with modern fashions, but ensures her dresses are always in soft and feminine pastel hues. It's fitting, then, that her fragrance is a classically feminine floral bouquet—orange blossom, jasmine and rose, giving a nod to the "modern" trendy chypre fragrances of her day with patchouli and moss notes. Not overly sweet, with an emphasis on the floral notes, Loretta will appeal to fans of contemporary floral chypres like Balenciaga Paris and Coco Mademoiselle.

If Loretta is a spray of pink roses in a white porcelain vase, Millicent is a big honking white flower tucked into a flapper's headband. How you'll feel about our girl Millicent depends on how you feel about honeyed white floral scents like Alien or Elie Saab. To me, these fragrances are loud, fun and sexy, so I picture Millicent as a flapper in a fringed dress, dancing the Charleston and sipping gin, or stealing away for an afternoon with one of the gentlemen in this group, in his new roadster, wrapped in a raccoon coat and with an elegant cloche protecting her freshly-Marcelled hair. Always up for a party and willing to try anything once, Millicent is the sexy, daring, "look-at-me! look-at-me!" gal in our group.
Not to be outdone, however, is Constance.
Think Louise Brooks. Theda Bara as Cleopatra. Josephine Baker. Constance is the chic, mysterious femme fatale of our fine group. With kohl-rimmed eyes, a sexy red pout, and a turban, just because. Though her wardrobe consists mainly of black dresses and evening wear, she's the first of the group to emulate Coco Chanel and wear trousers. You're certain you'll see her on the silver screen someday. She trails a spicy oriental cloud of fragrance wherever she goes, whenever she goes. Constance is the scent of just such a woman, by turns spicy, floral, powdery sweet, with an elegant woody drydown. It brings to mind a long-discontinued favorite, Todd Oldham, along with its more recent cousin Prada. Its amber/oriental vibe (though amber is not listed as a note) perfectly suits evening wear or any occasion where you wish to cast a sexy and mysterious aura.
Deco London Founder and Creative Director Sophia Fannon-Howell
Whichever Deco London companion you choose, you can be assured of high-quality fragrance components with distinct notes, moderate sillage (sprayed lightly, all are suitable for day and office) and excellent longevity of 7-8 hours. I commend Deco London Founder and Creative Director Sophia Fannon-Howell for creating a set of inspired and beautifully-designed fragrances that conjure a specific time and place but are sure to have broad appeal. Deco London fragrances are available on the official website in the UK and exclusively at Indigo Perfumery in the United States. Both venues offer samples for purchase.
Thank you to Deco London and Indigo Perfumery for the opportunity to try all six scents.
All images: Deco London.

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