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27 May

Lyn Harris Launches Perfumer H

Lyn Harris, whose fragrances stir in her memories of her grandparents’ house and garden within the Scottish Highlands, has cooked up a recent brand, Perfumer H, based on an abiding passion for such pleasing smells as fruits, flowers and baking bread.

The London perfumer pioneered using naturals at a time when the market was awash in flashy scents and novelty bottles. She founded Miller Harris, the successful area of interest fragrance house, in 2000 and left at the top of 2012 after selling her stake to NEO Investment Partners.

Now she’s back, with Perfumer H, offering three fragrance collections: a “ready-to-wear” line that follows the style seasons; a semibespoke collection offering customers the prospect to own the formula, and a completely bespoke service.

Recently, Harris, a cool bohemian with long brown hair, sat down with WWD to debate how she’s evolved since selling her company. “I’ve had two years to take a seat back and ask ‘Who am I?’ It’s an interesting phase of life,” she said. “I’m relaxed and never attempting to prove anything. Perfumer H represents who I’m as a perfumer and I feel totally free. I believe I’m ready to come back out, whereas perhaps before I hid behind Miller Harris.”

Harris is one in every of Britain’s few master perfumers, having trained at Robertet in Grasse, France. The French firm also manufactures the fragrances Harris creates in her recent 460-square-foot shop in London’s hip Marylebone neighborhood.

The perfumer’s vision for her recent brand stays fluid, and she or he has no plans to wholesale it — and even open one other store. “With Miller Harris, we were all the time going to work with the malls,” Harris said. “With Perfumer H I don’t need to follow a mold. I just need to be the rebel I’m, do what I feel is true. I need to be very precious about what I’m doing. I’m following my gut instinct.”

Harris might be best known for her natural scents, corresponding to Citron Citron (2000) and L’Air de Rien (2006), which she originally created for Jane Birkin. Over time, she’s also created scents for firms including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and Marks & Spencer, and for clients including Amanda Harlech and Manolo Blahnik. She worked with jeweler Solange Azagury-Partridge on her two scents: Stoned, a fragrance spiked with diamond dust, and Cosmic, a chypre with stardust.

Harris said Perfumer H derives partially from her work creating bespoke fragrances. “My private clients have helped me to evolve, when it comes to service and uniqueness. You might be highly tested by them, and there’s an limitless quest for perfection,” she said, adding that she wanted every fragrance by Perfumer H to be something she would wear herself.

The five seasonal fragrances embrace the fundamental fragrance families. For fall, there’s Cologne, a citrus scent with Haitian vetiver and a kiss of asparagus; Rose, a floral with rose absolute, carrot seed and sweet musk; Velvet, a wood family chypre with oak moss, patchouli and frankincense; Leather, a fern with cardamom seed, oak moss and lavender, and Heliotrope, a scent with orange flower, vanilla absolute and sweet musk.

Prices range from 175 kilos, or $273 at current exchange, to 1,500 kilos, or $2,344, for the entire formula, and Harris plans to update that collection, which is for men and ladies, twice a yr.

The semibespoke Laboratory Editions encompasses a series of rose scents that might be bought by the bottle and made up personally for the client or the formula might be purchased outright. Prices start at 250 kilos, or $390, and rise to 2,000 kilos, or $3,125, for a whole formula. The bespoke service starts at 15,000 kilos, or $23,443.

Harris feels strongly in regards to the evolution of the fragrance business since she began working 20 years ago. “After we first began, area of interest was about creating something small and delightful — with no compromise,” she said. “Today it’s exploded, and everybody desires to be a part of this arena, construct their businesses up fast and sell them. There’s a whole lot of sameness on the market. It’s way more a marketing thing, and it really makes me sad.”

On the flip side, Harris said the massive brands have turn into more “area of interest” of their considering. “I absolutely think we’ve inspired the larger brands, and that makes me joyful,” said Harris, pointing to fragrances by Chanel, Dior and Giorgio Armani’s Privé collection.

“The large boys are really getting it right, and it’s been inspired by the smaller brands. We gave them a little bit of a kick up the underside.”

Those that have worked with Harris say she has an unusual gift for distilling parts of the natural world right into a bottle. “She’s an alchemist. She’s got an encyclopedic mind relating to smells,” said Azagury-Partridge. “I really like sitting with Lyn in her lab. She picks things off the shelf and she or he knows what they smell like on their very own — and together. It’s quite magical.”

Kristina Blahnik, chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik, recalled her own experience, when she and her uncle tapped Harris to create limited-edition candles for the shoe designer’s pop-up at Liberty in 2011. The resulting scent was Bourgeon de Rose, based around Manolo’s love of roses. “There was an actual honesty to Lyn’s process,” Blahnik said. “Lyn is capable of construct a fragrance around narratives, concepts and individuals. Her fragrances all have a way of heritage, an Englishness about them.”

Perfumer H’s apothecary-style glass bottles are all hand-blown by Michael Ruh, whose gentle, organic designs partly inspired Harris to begin the brand new brand. The brand’s handmade gray flannel carrier bags were created by graphic designer Frith Kerr. “I couldn’t go to China for a bag, I needed to make it myself,” said Harris, adding that personalization is so vital to her. “Do it properly and beautifully and really give the client something special.”

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