I was pleasantly surprised the other day when my phone rang and I assumed it was my obsessive, stalky boyfriend, I mean the Honda dealership which won't stop calling me, and it wasn't! It was my splendid friend Ksenia. Ksenia is one of those amazing girls you meet in college who you can't believe actually exists. I first encountered her freshman year in a class on Russia and I found myself impressed by her endless troves of knowledge on the subject matter. I dropped the class and finally met her Junior year, in a class called "The Avant Garde" with the amazing Boris Groys, could anything be more appropriate for two Russian majors who adore Anthropolgie, Breton stripes and Kandinsky? Clearly, we bonded. Ksenia continues to impress me with perfectly popped collar-ed trench coats, her fabulous lifestyle (an adorable British boyfriend is part of the package) and consistently thriving career and education.

Ksenia and I at one of her legendary soirees a few years ago

I've gotten off topic. Ksenia invited me to the Elements Showcase, which basically tried to cut away all the visual distractions of traditional showcases and conventions and highlight the main star-- scent, fragrance and perfume. Elements Showcase attempted to display fragrance industry product lines in a "more focused and artistically driven format." Did they accomplish this goal? They certainly, certainly did. The vendors were amazing and diverse- but I'll get to that in a moment. When you walked into the space, 6th floor at the Skylight West, it was clear what the afternoon was all about: beautiful, interesting and many, many, many scents.

It was like an art gallery of fragrance. The elevator doors opened up to a pristine, open and modern space. There was almost an ascetic feeling to the event, and the religion was perfume.

So here we are, at the fragrances. You'd think spending hours at an event where you do nothing but smell, smell, smell and then discuss scents and then smell some more would be 1. Boring, 2. Exhausting, 3. Headache inducing. And I am here to tell you it was none of those things. Every vendor was different and happy to explain their product to me. I didn't get to every vendor, but no two were even close to being the same. I floated from table to table hearing about the companies unique inspirations, methods and missions.

I visited Woodley and Bunny, a salon and apothecary in Brooklyn, where I learned all about
  • Sachajaun hair products, the Ocean Mist Systems are supposed to be very, very good for curly hair- like mine,
  • RGB nail polish, polish free of harmful chemicals (yes!)
  • and W3LL People cosmetics: Hippie Tested, Diva Approved. Do I need to say more?
I enjoyed the beautiful infusions ("ambiance perfumes") and candles of Anthousa, a small company all the way from Seattle. Their packaging and presentation would make great gifts without assuming too much (buying someone perfume is a big life change, buying them a home scent seems somehow less offensive).

The clear and present scent of rose water from Duchess Marden not only invigorate the skin, but lift your mood, and inspire your nose. Yes, they inspire your nose-- a clear, clean and beautiful scent can do just that!

Margot Elena presented me with the two very divergent parts of my personality: the Lollia line is everything Olivia and I want Lovely to be-- with scents like "Breath," "Tranquil" and "Milk Blossom" and packaging which makes me want to put on a sundress and have a picnic. On the other hand there is the Tokyo-Milk line with scents which are more masculine, edgier and darker, like me with my bangles and all black. The packaging is irreverent and a little strange, a skull and bones graces the "Dead Sexy" scent, a skeleton key the "Tainted Love" bottle and a squid for "Excess."

MCMC Fragrance is just the kind of company Olivia and I like to find. Anne, the companies founder and formulator, believes every memory has a scent and attempts to capture her memories in bottles-- to great success. Not only do I adore the perfumes created in her Brooklyn studio, but her packaging is very organic, simple and elegant.

The gorgeous mid eastern inspired scents of Nejma-- the scents are based on the seven daughters of Nejma and Vizir of Arabian tale. Each sister, each scent is vastly different, some are tender and sweet, some are spicy and beautiful. It is universally impossible to choose your favorite. Poor Sabine, when she asked me which scents I wanted to try I think I mentioned all of them. I couldn't decide!

I had walked past Bond No. 9 just about 500 million and 1 times (I used to live across the street) and never knew about their really fascinating mission: each scent represents a neighborhood of New York City. And I need to tell you that they are totally kicking that missions butt. I felt like an idiot when I smelled the Washington Square Park Scent and looked up smiling saying "It smells like Washington Square park would as a perfume!" (Um, duh Jenny.) The kind women at the table smiled and looked at me sadly. What a great gift for a new New Yorker, or a moving New Yorker. Or a true West sider or a Park Avenue Princess.

Sage Jewelry creates scents inspired by jewels. Honestly, I don't know what to say beyond that- is that not one of the coolest missions you've ever heard? Wouldn't that be a great gift? Match their birth stone to a perfume, or buy someone an onyx piece and the onyx scent. It just brings another level of depth to gift giving. Also, I adore their jewelry.

Joya offers perfumes in porcelaine hand made bottles with 14 carat gold dipped wands. It is a truly unique and beautiful presentation. Their candles come in the same style of hand made porcelaine, smell delicious and can certainly be used again and again once the candle has burned away (it would be a great planter for a pretty plant!).

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the good press, girl! I am so glad you were able to pop by, so last minute. It really meant a lot! Glad you had fun and got to know some of my favorite brands. See you at the next Elements Showcase in August!!! x