Chem­i­cal ro­mance

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syn­thetic in­gre­di­ents have been used in per­fumes since the late 19th cen­tury, but 150 years on, most brands still bleat on about nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als, even though they rarely make up more than a tiny pro­por­tion of a given for­mula. their think­ing goes that peo­ple are scared of ‘chem­i­cals’, ig­nor­ing the fact that some nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents can be highly toxic. so let’s hear it for those brands that credit their cus­tomers with more in­tel­li­gence and cel­e­brate their syn­thetic side. comme des Garçons ar­guably led the way with odeur 53 in 1998, but since then we’ve had brands that put syn­thet­ics cen­tre stage. es­cen­tric mol­e­cules mol­e­cule 01 is a bit of mar­ket­ing ge­nius that is of­ten (wrongly) re­ferred to as the per­fume that smells of noth­ing, and sev­eral new brands have fol­lowed their lead. Zarkop­er­fume’s molécule 234.38, for ex­am­ple, con­tains ‘con­tra­dic­tory mol­e­cules that evolve into a fra­grance that’s adapted to you’, while nomen­cla­ture, founded by new york per­fumer karl Bradl and de­signer car­los quin­tero, specif­i­cally show­cases the lat­est molec­u­lar in­gre­di­ents. it’s a sim­i­lar story at paris-based aether, whose per­fumes cel­e­brate ‘syn­thetic mol­e­cules and the frenzy of chem­istry’. syn­thetic scents are clearly here to stay.

ol­fac­tory li­brary se­ries 6 syn­thetic in tar and Garage, Both £70 For 50ml, By comme des Garçons. rose al­cane eau de par­fum, £150 For 100ml, By aether; mol­e­cule 04 eau de toi­lette, £79 For 100ml, By es­cen­tric mol­e­cules, Both From har­vey ni­chols. lu­men_esce, $165 For 100ml, By nomen­cla­ture, From molécule 234.38, £85 For 100ml, By Zarkop­er­fume, From space nk. mea­sur­ing Jars, From a se­lec­tion, By serax, From Fu­ture and Found. carafes, €49 each, By david derk­sen, For tre writ­ers: emma moore, christo­pher stocks

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