Dolce & Gabbana have launched Velvet Black Patchouli, a new woody oriental addition to the brand’s Velvet series…*
The early-2020 closing of the Barneys New York flagship store on Madison Avenue was a sad moment for me. I’ve been shopping there for fragrance and makeup for longer than I care to admit, and I have happy memories of meeting the creators of various cosmetics and perfume brands during “personal appearance” events on the beauty floor. One of those creators was Yosh Han, whose line of perfume oils was carried by Barneys and was popular amongst Makeup Alley perfumistas in the early 2000s. I remember chatting briefly with Yosh and telling her how much I liked Winter Rose, among other scents in her collection.
I always kept an eye (and a nose) on Yosh’s work and even ran into her from time to time during her recurring New York visits. I worried a little when her perfume oils started vanishing from various online retailers a year or two ago, and then I was relieved to learn that a rebranding had been in progress…
My aunt would also always tell this one anecdote: My grandmother was a fantastic cook, and she had an apron with embroidered flowers, so when I was a little, little kid, and I could barely walk, I would approach her and sniff the embroidered flowers of her apron. Everybody remembers it; there aren’t any pictures, but my aunt is still talking about it.
— Perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, quoted in This Perfumer Truly Knows What Happiness Smells Like at The Cut.
Earlier this year, Arquiste celebrated its tenth anniversary and launched Misfit, a patchouli fragrance developed by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux. And one morning soon after Misfit’s launch, I met with Arquiste founder Carlos Huber in his Manhattan apartment and we spoke in his dining room, which also serves as a non-typical and beautifully appointed meeting-space.
Once I’d had a chance to admire some of the room’s details (pieces of black jasperware, a cluster of decorative obelisks, wallpaper patterned with a fantastic scene of Indian gardens), Carlos gave me a run-through of Misfit’s notes and backstory. Our conversation drifted into a few tangents about nineteenth-century perfumery, fashion and architecture. I’ve always admired Arquiste’s poetic yet accurate use of historical narratives (I can’t think of any other perfumery whose website includes a bibliography!), and it was a treat to chat with someone whose interests overlap so much with mine.
While I’ve been trying and trying to write this review over the past month, and making little progress, I gradually realized that the memory of that visit has been haunting me. As we enter our ninth week of lockdown here in the New York City metro area, that morning now seems inconceivable…