On a beautiful sunny Monday, a few weeks ago, I headed to the Arts Club in Mayfair for an afternoon tea hosted by The Harmonist, a new fragrance house.
I was intrigued because I have always been a one-perfume kinda girl. In fact, I can chart my life by the perfumes I have worn and when, and there have only been four. My longest perfume love, Tiffany, lasted 21 years and I would still be wearing it if Tiffany & Co had not discontinued it.
Smell, to me, is the most evocative sense. I want a perfume to make me feel feminine and glamorous, enhance my self confidence, but above all reflect my character in some way – a lot of pressure on that beautiful bottle and its’ contents, I know. But because I place stock in that intangible connection I make with a fragrance, I was interested to find out more about the Harmonist.
The Harmonist perfumes are based on the five Chinese elements of Feng Shui – Fire, Water, Wood, Earth and Metal. Each element has been used as the inspiration to create two fragrances, one representing the Yin energy (the feminine energy, the softness in us all,) and one the Yang (the masculine energy, the strength in us). That is not to say the Yin perfumes are only for women and the Yang for men. All ten fragrances are unisex.
Founder Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva was drawn to the philosophy of Feng Shui and wanted to create a fragrance range that was based on harmony and the perfect balance of Yin and Yang. And perfumer Guillaume Flavigny was charged with bringing the concept to life. During his career, Flavigny has created fragrances for brands like Armani Privé and Tom Ford, to name a few, so his experience speaks for itself.
The Harmonist perfumes are said to channel energy and focus into designated areas of life by manifesting status, wisdom, socializing, creativity, prosperity and seduction depending on what your constitutional element is, and which perfume you choose.
With the environment at the forefront of business these days, The Harmonist also uses recyclable materials at every possible stage, from its perfume bottles and deluxe packaging to its vegetal wax candles. All of The Harmonist’s bottles are refillable, and each is made with an opaque glass that protects the vitality of its precious perfumes.
Over the course of the afternoon, all the guests discovered their constitutional element, which is worked out by your date, place and time of birth. I am Yang Water – so I set about finding the perfume I connected with the most.
My favourite, hands down, was Hypnotising Fire, one of the Yin fragrances. For me, it was instantly intoxicating and whilst I went back to some of the other fragrances, nothing came close to Hypnotising Fire for me.
It turns out my choice balances me well, the Yin balancing my Yang energy and the fire is said to enhance prosperity in my life, which sounds pretty good to me.
With her range, Karimova-Tillyaeva has created something really rather unusual – a broad range of fragrances that work, in my opinion, on a deeper, almost spiritual level and call to mind the element encapsulated in each fragrance rather vividly.
A thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable afternoon – I didn’t think I would walk away with a perfume I would want to wear every day, but I did….
If you would like to check The Harmonist range out, it is exclusively available at Harrods In London, and Barneys in New York. And if you do, let me know what you liked and why….
PS: in case you didn’t know Karimova-Tillyaeva is an Uzbek diplomat and philanthropist. She is the daughter of Islam Karimov, the former president of Uzbekistan who died in 2016 after a 27-year reign marked by human-rights abuses. Today, Karimova-Tillyaeva serves as Uzbekistan’s permanent delegate to UNESCO and runs several charities based in her home country