Fragrance Trends at the Elements Showcase

This week I attended the second edition of the Elements Showcase--a fragrance tradeshow in NYC. I was excited to see the expansion from the first show (back in November); from its single floor space, to now spanning two levels. There were lots of new and fantastic vendors ranging from fragrance to skincare. Visiting the booths and speaking to the exhibitors, I started to pick up on some distinct trends.

Wood and Natural Materials: The first trend that I see carries over from last season. The use of wood in packaging has an even stronger presence than we've seen in the past months. Everything from the lids on boxes of candles, soap and perfume to entire wooden bottles (TAY) were on display.











Profumi Del Forte took the natural materials trend to another level, creating marble lids for their fragrances


"Box of Chocolates" Packaging There was a definite thread of inspiration derived from the classic beauty and simplicity of chocolate box packaging.




Fine Art Meets Fragrance Another trend that emerged was the inclusion of fine art in the packaging on fragrance bottles and other products in this category.





Among the artist/fragrance duo's, jewelry collaborations were another strong trend popping up. Both Joya (known for its porcelain bottles) and Sage released solid perfume in beautiful amulet's. Joya teamed up with jewelry design company Vane to launch their "Shades of Dusk" collection.

In general, it seems that the fragrance and skincare industries continue to be concerned with 'natural' elements--whether or not their products are chemical-free or are made with sustainable materials. The key is to come across as being concerned about the process of the product, in the form of an eco-friendly looking package or by including an artisanal touch.

CAUS Launches The Beauty Committee

Adding its first new color committee in over 40 years, the Color Association of the United States (my place of employment!) is launching the Beauty Forecast for Spring Summer 2013.

Spearheaded by yours truly, the forecast offering goes beyond the basic color palette, incorporating custom designed fragrances, nail and lip colors to coincide with the stories for the four color trends. More to come on this later...

In the meantime, if you happen to be in the New York City area on May 17th, drop by to check it out! Hpnotiq will also be on location launching their brand new flavored drink, Harmonie - a lavender flavored alcohol that comes in a key color from the beauty palette, purple! Harmonie is still under lock and key (the official launch is set for June 1st) so come to our event to be on the inside track!

Bali Beauty

On my winter holiday to Bali this past month, I was excited to experience the smells of the island. Known for its rich Hindu culture, daily offerings of burning incense and flower petals scent the air in every corner of the smallest town.

Another fragrant Balinese tradition is the use of essential oils. There were many little shops selling all sizes of fragrance and massage oils. The most charming of them though was Made Pudji, tucked away in a little nook of the Ubud Market. This family run business set up shop in the bustling central market and has been selling their carefully distilled natural oils and high quality spices for over 10 years.

My favorites included the Champaka (floral) and tea tree oils. The tea tree had a much less aggressive odor than those sold at home (and in Australia)--very similar to lavender. All of the oils at Made Pudji are packaged in unassuming glass bottles with black plastic lids, as though they had come direct from the apothecary. Unfortunately, they don't have a website...but if you happen to make a trip to Bali, stop in at the market and load up on their beautiful products.

A Perfumer's Pad

Check out this feature on fragrance designer (and my Perfumery 101 instructor), Anne McClain's apartment (and lab) featured today on design*sponge. A lovely hideaway in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. With her very own rooftop herb garden and greenhouse, it's no wonder she was inspired to reach out to other urban farmers and develop a "Garden" scent for her line, MCMC Fragrances.

Secrets from a Beauty Diva

Today marks the birthday of my stepmother Christine, who passed away almost two years ago. She would have been turning 58 this year. Given that she was a bathroom diva (she enjoyed long relaxing baths and luxury cosmetics), I thought it appropriate to celebrate and honour her special day by featuring some of her all time favourite products.

This unisex scent, Aqua Di Parma became a staple in Christine's early 50's. This is the epitome of luxury in scent, cited on the website as "the art of haute parfumerie". The combination of fresh citrus top notes, sweet floral heart notes and spicy, woody base notes makes it the perfect fall fragrance to cozy up with.

Diorissimo by Christian Dior. Her signature fragrance for the better part of the 1990's, and possibly before. While very light and springy, the Lilly of the Valley notes make it the ultimate feminine perfume.

Dermalogica--everything! One of her most preferred cosmetic brands, she cleansed, toned and moisturized with a range of these products. Special mentions: the clarifying Daily Mircorfoliant (which I still use). Rice-based powder mixes with water to release Papain (an enzyme from papaya), Salicylic Acid (a chemical exfoliator) and rice enzymes that micro-exfoliate dead cells (or so they say). In simpler terms, little granules slowly dissolve to create a very soft scrub that does not damage or tear your skin--as some of the more grainy, vigorous scrubs do. Christine also swore by the Age Smart range, including the super rich repair cream and multivitamin power firm eye gel.

Dr. Hasuka--The Lip Care Stick. Multiple tubes lived on Ms. Mooney's bedside table, in her purse and tucked away in the kitchen. Composed of natural plant, bee's and jojoba waxes with the addition of shea butter, it's smooth, natural and scented with just a hint of essential oils. I carry one in my purse at all times.

Lush--bath bars. Every night our house would be filled with the spicy florals of Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds. This bath bar (similar concept to a bath bomb) instantly transports you to a place far beyond your bathtub. With notes of patchouli (not overpoweringly hippie) and frankincense, time travel to the Far East is instantaneous. Makes for a nice relaxing soak.

Perfumery 101

Tonight I embarked on what I hope will be the beginning of a great adventure in the world of fragrance. I have been flirting with the idea of working in this field--I've taken two casual perfume workshops to date. Tonight I took it to the next level, committing (both mentally and financially) to a five-part series titled "An Intensive Study of Raw Materials of Perfumery". Led by Grasse Institute of Perfumery educated Anne McClain (also founder of MCMC Fragances), we set up shop in a beautiful and quaint studio in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. On the agenda this evening was a basic overview of the composition of a perfume (which, I discovered, includes the top notes--the smell you detect at the first spray of a fragrance, which usually 'burns off' within the hour; the heart or mid notes--the scent that starts to peak through the top note, and lingers for a couple of hours; and the base note--the longest lingering scent you are left with hours into wearing a fragrance).

The second part of the workshop involved familiarizing our olfactory senses with citrus and spicy scents. I found myself particularly drawn to the cool, refreshing aroma of bergamot--most commonly used in Earl Grey tea as well as cardamom--often found in Masala Chai. Curiously, these two scents are both key ingredients to teas that could be considered the national beverage for countries they come from (Earl Grey from England and Masala Chai from India). I'm not sure if it's the cold weather or fond memories of travels to these two countries shaping my desires, but one thing is for sure, I can't get enough of these smooth, unexpectedly delightful scents!

Another interesting citrus we explored was dihydromercenaol. This synthetically derived composition is the powerhouse ingredient used to give those middle-school era men's colognes (Cool Water, Aqua Di Gio) their aquatic, soapy punch. Emily-- you'd definitely appreciate this one...Miyake Pour Homme smelling strip carried in wallet from 1995-97. At first I was surprised it was classified as a citrus, given its powdery, almost floral notes. But, after letting it develop, and smelling it alongside grapefruit oil, I am coming around to its home in the citrus family.

Next week we explore Fruity, Floral and Green. Stay tuned for the update!