The elegance of linen, silk and cotton inspires the new…
Fashion design mentor Susan Langdon shares her perfume thoughts and favourite fragrance picks—just in time for World Mastercard Fashion Week in Toronto.
QUESTION: What is your favourite scent memory of childhood?
SUSAN LANGDON: My first and favourite scent memory of childhood is baby powder. I loved, and still love, its fresh, sweet fragrance; it reminds me of innocence and happy times. Who doesn’t long for those days?
Q: What was the first fragrance you bought yourself and why did you buy it?
LANGDON: Wow, you’re asking me to think waaaay back, but I think it was Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. I was studying fashion at Ryerson at the time and YSL was the designer of the moment. When I wore the fragrance, I remember dreaming that one day I would visit Paris and I did!
Q: What maternal figure influenced you the most in your attitude towards perfume?
LANGDON: When I was a little girl, I used to love watching my mother get ready for work. I was entranced by the whole morning ritual: moisturizer, foundation, lipstick, stockings and of course, perfume. My mother had a wide selection of assorted perfume bottles displayed on her dresser and I would often sneak into her bedroom and smell each one. I would dab a little on each wrist as I had seen her do and then I’d decide which one I liked best. The bottles were very vintage-looking by today’s standards, but that’s what made them so interesting! Most were cut glass with ornate caps and fancy labels.
LANGDON: My favourite fragrance is Hermes Kelly Caleche. It has a vintage rose note with a hint of musk. The bottle design is exquisite with its tiny Hermes lock and leather cap and everyone tells me that this scent really suits me. Although I work in the fast-paced, ever-changing fashion industry, I’m a sentimental earth sign at heart who values tradition, quality and the finer things in life. I love Hermes but can’t afford a Kelly bag so this is my accessible luxury. Every time I put it on, I dream of one day owning a Kelly bag so maybe this wish will come true too!
Hermes Kelly Caleche, $118 (50 ml), www.nordstrom.com www.sephora.com
Q: What makes you notice a fragrance?
LANGDON: Being a visual and creative person, I’m initially drawn to an artistic bottle and fashionable packaging. I’m aware that it’s all about marketing but I really do appreciate the thought that went into the design, logo and display. Next, I’m drawn to the scent itself. I tend to prefer rose or citrus fragrances or fresh scents that remind me of the beach or ocean. I like light scents; nothing heavy or dramatic. Life is too short to be a drama queen!
Q: Do you have a favourite local fragrance?
LANGDON: You know, I’m such a “buy-local” kind of gal but I honestly can’t name a local fragrance. Isn’t that sad? I’d love to try some so please point me in the right direction.
LANGDON: I own five fragrances: Chanel No. 5, Chanel Cristalle, Hermes Jardin Sur Le Nil, Jo Malone Grapefruit and Hermes Kelly Caleche. I wear Hermes Kelly Caleche most often, followed by Hermes Jardin Sur Le Nil and Jo Malone’s Grapefruit.
Q: What do you smell like?
LANGDON: I hope I smell good (laughing)! I’ve been told so, so I hope it’s true.
Q: How do you scent your home?
LANGDON: I like light scents that don’t overtake my space so usually I stick with scented candles like Jo Malone Grapefruit. Hermes has a scented origami horse item that I’d like to try too. I have two cats so in case of emergencies, there’s always Febreze (Linen & Sky).
Q: Best smelling beauty products?
LANGDON: I use Dermalogica’s make-up primer and cleansing gel and love its fresh, clean smell. I also like and use lilac-scented Epsom salts and I adore E. Coudray Jacinthe et Rose body wash and lotion.
Q: Favourite flowers to scent your home or office?
LANGDON: I love spring flowers: hydrangea, lilacs, roses, lily of the valley—spring makes me feel happy and optimistic because nature is rejuvenating and the days are getting longer.
Q: Who is the best smelling person you’ve ever met, and what did they smell like?
LANGDON: Wow! You’ve got me on this one. I can’t think of a specific person but I would have to say that a man wearing Armani’s Acqua Di Gio smells wonderful. The scent is very fresh, clean and not overpowering.
Q: If you could bottle the scent of a favourite place/city/memory/moment what would it be and please describe the smell.
LANGDON: If I could capture a favourite moment, I’d choose Bali. The resorts are absolutely gorgeous with lush tropical flowers with wide, dark green foliage. It’s an island, so there’s always a fresh breeze off the ocean.
Q: How do you feel about signature scents? Is it freeing or limiting?
LANGDON: If someone has a signature scent, I think it’s perfectly fine. Right now, I’m going through my Hermes Kelly Caleche phase and it seems to suit me at this moment in my life. I love it and don’t feel like “me” when I wear another scent. I don’t feel limited by my decision; I’m assuming that I might switch to a different scent at some point.
Q: What piece of fragrance advice or wisdom do you want to pass on to your kids/the next generation?
LANGDON: I would say to try different designer brands to find out which ones suit you and your chemistry, and to always buy quality over quantity. A cheap fragrance smells, well, cheap and you don’t want to give that impression about yourself.
Q: How important is fragrance to your life, to your sense of style?
LANGDON: I wouldn’t feel completely dressed if I didn’t spritz on some fragrance. It makes me feel optimistic, positive and it lifts my spirits before tackling what the day has in store.
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