Red Flower recently entered the field of perfumery with natural fragrances called Champa, Ambrette, and Guaiac, three certified organic blends of oils distilled and extracted from natural ingredients. This small Manhattan-based company was originally best known for its lushly scented candles, which were created to evoke specific flowers, fruits, and trees in their natural settings (no vanilla-sugar desserts or Christmas potpourri here!) and are uncannily true to their models. The candles are now accompanied by shower gels, lotions, haircare, and playful ball-shaped soaps in the same scents. Red Flower also offers two lines of therapeutic body treatments inspired by the legendary bath rituals of Turkey and Japan (with a third series to be introduced in 2009).
The close connection between fragrance, emotion, and individual history is a running theme for Red Flower: the text on a candle box reminds us, “Everything that is memory matters. True indulgence is personal and takes a lifetime.” Appropriately, the design of the Red Flower boutique suggests a scrapbook of the senses. Some of the shelving is handcrafted from reclaimed fragments of furniture and architectural molding, on which the company’s products mingle with old pieces of china, children’s toys, and a defunct slide projector. In the center of the floor, frosted glass panels are embedded with rosebuds and cardamom seeds, incense sticks, dominoes, and a scattering of pearly seashells.
Not to be missed: An old-fashioned, generously sized sink, where (with the assistance of the friendly sales staff) you can try the soaps, washes, and lotions for yourself.
Details: 13 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-966-5301; website.
Nearby: Le Labo (233 Elizabeth St.), Whole Body at Whole Foods (95 East Houston St. at the Bowery). Take a break at French pastry shop Ceci-Cela (55 Spring St.).
— report and first image filed by Jessica M; second image via Red Flower website.
See also: Perfume Shopping in New York City