Indeed it did: a feature on classic and new beauty products, some top perfume picks for Father's Day, and best of all, an interview with Kilian Hennessy by Susannah Frankel.
Now By Kilian is not a range with which I particularly get on. Several of the original releases seemed to share an intense, fuggy accord of some kind which triggered an instant headache. I had the same experience with Mona di Orio’s early launches, yet came to revise my view of the brand once she introduced the relatively pared down Nombres d’Or Collection. And by the same token, there are now By Kilian scents which I can enjoy like any other, which don’t seem to have this fug problem, Sweet Redemption and Love & Tears being my current favourites.
Highlights for me include Kilian Hennessy's views on the IFRA guidelines, on the state of mainstream perfumery, and on his favourite perfume eras and individual scents from the past. One of these was Dior Poison, which made my ears prick up, because I see Liaisons Dangereuses as a kind of Poison-Lite for the Noughties. Not that it is all that “lite” of course to my nose…
The reference to "lickable" in the title of this post relates to an incident involving - rather aptly - the By Kilian fragrance, Straight to Heaven. I couldn't help but be reminded of Pierre Guillaume's Coze-licking stunt at the Les Senteurs event in February... : - )
The most thought-provoking part of the interview for me concerns the issue of price points: Hennessy clearly feels that £145 is not excessive for perfumes of this quality and draws a parallel with the success of Apple: “...at one point Steve Jobs said it is not that Apple has become mass market, it’s that the market has now reached Apple’s level.”
|Apple iPhone quarterly worldwide unit sales (millions) - click on the image to enlarge|
And then at the opposite end of the scale are scents which I call “yellow limes” – ie which don’t look too promising because the packaging is ugly or cheap, and yet which turn out to be surprisingly good. You see, I am visually drawn to nicely nobbly, dark green limes in the supermarket, but I have read - and found in practice - that it is the more yellow-y looking ones that are the juiciest. (It doesn't work the other way round, mind, in case anyone is wondering, ie green lemons don't appear to be any more juicy as far as I can tell, and look less like an epitome of a lemon if they are not uniformly yellow. For where fruit and veg are concerned, I do try to buy epitomes wherever possible - you won't catch me settling for any of that mutant organic produce, unless it is overtly humorous.)
Do you think the £145 price tag for a 50ml By Kilian fragrance is justified?
If I really, really loved one of them, then maybe, but objectively speaking I am on the fence on this one, maybe even half slipping off... :- ) Though there again, that packaging would have been super expensive to make, is drop dead gorgeous, and could easily double up as a sumptuous coffin for a deceased pet of the requisite size - a hamster or a budgie, say.
Do you own any scents from the line yourself?
Not in terms of full bottles, but I am grateful for the samples I have managed to squirrel away in swaps or thanks to the generosity of sales assistants and fellow fumeheads. (I know Birgit of Olfactorias Travels owns a refill bottle of Amber Oud - her March Bottle of The Month - travel sprays of Rose Oud and Back to Black, plus Sweet Redemption in the magnificent black box version. Ogle her collection here!)
My top offendors were Liaisons Dangereuses, Love and Beyond Love - at least I think so - I have tended to avoid smelling them since.
Are you kidding? I am patiently waiting for the day when someone attempts to lick me wearing ANY fragrance. Or while not wearing any fragrance. I am ludicrously happy just to receive a compliment about my SOTD, as that is such a rare occurrence. As for how I would feel if it was someone I didn't know doing the honours...well, it would depend on the stranger, but probably not...
Now, notwithstanding the high price tag of the bottles themselves, I must say that in my experience By Kilian is pretty good about posting samples in response to ad hoc requests. Plus there has been that fantastic Facebook campaign, whereby if you liked their page you could register to be sent a full sample set of the L’Oeuvre Noire Collection – an offer which passed me by completely at the time, but which does sound like a very generous and effective way of spreading the word about their range.
And d'you know, I am going to check out that thing about green lemons not being juicier, and report back.
One last question: What is your stance on "epitome produce" - or stylish perfume packaging - and do looks really matter?
To take the perfume question, on a scale of 1-10, where one is a plain tester box and 10 a Swarowski-studded Baccarat bottle - okay, that's rather a silly example, but something pretty darn snazzy, say - I probably hover between a 3 and a 6. By Kilian would be a shade over the 6 on my scale, but don't press me to a number - decimal points may be involved!
UPDATE: I found this tip on choosing lemons from http://www.whfoods.com/:
"They should be fully yellow in color as those that have green tinges will be more acidic due to the fact that they have not fully ripened."
Photo of Kilian Hennessy from womenweb.de, photo of Poison from Ebay UK, photo of mutant lemon from Flickr CC via Meggle, graph of iPhone sales from Wikimedia Commons via Myschizobuddy, other photo my own.