Food and nature inspire the fragrance shopping habits of fashion…
DEBORAH FULSANG speaks to leading Montreal-based fashion stylist Annie Horth, who has long worked with Celine Dion and directed many editorial and advertising campaigns, about her love of perfume.
QUESTION: Perfume-wise, what was your first love?
HORTH: The perfume story that came to my mind is about my favourite aunt Anita, who was very chic. When I was about 8 years old she offered me my first perfume, Cabochard de Grès—does it still exist?—as it was her perfume and I loved it. It was like—you know these really classic smells? Flowery-rosy? Like an old-times smell?
My aunt was chic because she was dressing up to work at Blue Bonnets, a raceway for horse racing, where she was taking bets in the private salon, from big shots like Omar Sharif who always wanted her, Mrs. Anita Blake, to take his bets. I dreamed when she was explaining [to] me how elegant and classy he was. And I remember her wearing skirt suits in taupe ultrasuede—that colour has always had so much appeal for me.
And on my first trip to Paris 25 years ago, I had found this amazing scent from Ventilo: [it was] a glass bottle inserted in a beautifully rounded shaped wooden bottle—I wore it like two years and they stopped making it. I still regret it!
It was the most wonderful scent, a sensual but refined scent. I’d say a mix of Santal, soft patchouli, and incense maybe—very oriental. A little similar or in the same family as Portrait of A Lady from Frederic Malle, which is one of my favourite 25 perfumes sitting in my bathroom!
I still have the empty bottles. The Ventilo perfume, that smell, made me fall head over heels with Paris.
And it was only sold there, so I had to ask anyone I knew who was going to bring me back a bottle, which always made me so happy. Until they stopped producing it.
I called the store so many times—like for a full year—to ask if they had a balance of bottles I could purchase.
I’m obsessed with perfumes. And I never talk about it; you gave me a chance to!
PHOTO: RICHARD BERNARDIN. AN EXCERPT OF THIS INTERVIEW FIRST APPEARED AT HOLT RENFREW MUSE.
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