THE FILE Loves: Fragrance Edition

Welcome back to THE FILE Loves: a team round-up of the most memorable products to have graced our cabinets, caddies, and clutches of late. From skincare to makeup finds, these are the products we just can’t shake. Of the good many products we trial, these are the lucky few we’re proud to announce our unwavering commitment to, from rooftops, via love letters, and, most importantly, to you. This time around, we’ve set our sights on all the fragrances, new and old, that have kept our wrists and chests company over the years.

  • Diptyque Do Son

    Upon first spritzing this fancy, floral mist across practically every inch of visible skin I could find, I underwent what I’d describe as being a mental and physical transformation very much akin to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. As glimmers of tuberose and African orange flower danced through the inner chambers of my nostrils, I felt my chin elevate and my shoulders unfold. I felt my eyes beam open like I was seeing for the first time. I felt my voice projecting out of my larynx with a new-found clarity and confidence as I declared my love for the smell before me.
    Some find it hard to commit to human relationships, but I find it hard to commit to perfumes. Although, Diptyque’s Do Son has me thinking that she might just be the one. —Magdalene Shapter, Editorial Assistant

  • 1

    Tom Ford Café Rose

    I have never related to anything as much as I relate to the girls on Instagram who clean, cull, and organise their shelves every second day of the week. Call me a borderline clean freak or call me your new best friend—I will come to your house and be the Trinny and Susannah (both of them) you always wanted to have in your life, but for your medicine cabinet. Either you’ll recoil at my enthusiasm and stop reading, or (if you too sit in this camp of Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners) you will understand my genuine happiness when I was asked to organise the beauty cupboard at Vogue Australia when I was an intern there. I’d been reading product reviews like it was my religion for a few months prior, and this was an opportunity to see everything I had read about in the flesh. I remember sitting on my knees wearing these Prada shoes I’d just bought and them creasing so much but I didn’t even care because of how much fun I was having. The point of this story (there is one) is that I unpacked two of what were then Tom Ford’s new candles—the first was Café Rose, and the other I can’t remember because I was so obsessed with the former. It smelled like sex and sophistication and I wished I’d had it burning in my room throughout my teenage breakups to make me feel powerful. Even more desperately did I want the Eau de Parfum, which retailed then (and now) for a plump $340. Flash forward to now, and I have the candle and the EDP in front of me, in my home. To keep. Forever. And I feel as good as I knew I would when I finally had it on my shelf. —Betsy Greaves, Site Producer

  • 2

    Byredo Bal D'Afrique

    Hi, pals! Today marks the end of Fragrance Week—time to pour a drop of perfume out for your homie. Despite feeling like a literal scent princess constantly surrounded by the most glorious smells known to woman, I’ll admit (with trepidation) I’m a teensy bit glad it’s over. While it’s been fun passing bottles of perfume around the office like you might bottles of wine on a Friday afternoon, constantly gulping scented air up your nostrils has a similar effect on your brain as sniffing glue (I assume). Headaches aside, the end of Frag Week (as it’s known around here) also means a return to my dearest scents. I’ve missed you guys. My first love letter today goes out to Byredo’s Bal D’Afrique. But first, a quick detour: our angel contributor, Rose Howard, made us swoon this week with her poetic tales of scent and seduction, and we felt many feelings when our favourite ladies went deep on their best fragrance memories. Now, it’s time to touch on the darker side of scent’s transportive powers. Do you remember earlier this year when I boldly declared that Tom Ford’s Black Orchid was my soulmate, bound to me for life? Well, in tragic news, we’ve since parted ways. When I applied it ahead of a party this week, my mind took me on a savage journey through time and space to the haunting period when my ex-boyfriend and I broke up. It didn’t recall a singular memory, or even a group, but rather spoke with painstaking precision to the way I felt during that time. Hyperbole aside, I was hit with most overwhelming tide of anxiety I’ve felt since we broke up—a far more visceral sadness than masochistically scrolling through old happy photos of us together has ever produced. A shame, since Black Orchid was one of the most perfectly matched scents to my olfactory aura. Or was, until Byredo came along. To me, Bal D’Afrique smells like new beginnings. More literally, it smells citrusy, fresh, and oh-so-crisp upon first spritzing, and dries down to give a satisfyingly amber-like and woody aftertaste. As all good perfumes should, it just smells like me. Bal D’Afrique makes me excited for summer, and its zest is matched only by my gusto for life when I wear it. Can’t wait to spend the next chapter by your side, mon amour! —Madeleine Woon, Associate Editor

  • 3

    Editions de Parfums by Frédéric Malle French Lover

    The first moment I smelled French Lover, I was taken back to my 5-year-old self, standing in my grandmother’s impeccably curated wardrobe, cuddling into her fur coats that smelled of her perfumes and colognes; woody and leathery, almost timeless 1950s masculine fragrances she used to love—unusual for a woman to wear at that time. Evelyn Joyce, her name was, and she was so outrageously graceful and delicate—a tiny woman with strong opinions and an innate sense of style. She dressed only for herself. I loved to listen to her, to be around her, and I would spend hours in amongst her clothes and jewellery. She was an outsider in many ways—she didn’t care so much for what other people were doing or saying, and when I would visit her home in the city, we would go for tea and she would wear her beautiful fur coats that always smelled of her perfume. We would walk into the tea rooms and everyone would watch us. They would watch her, curious about where she came from. She carried a bit of mystery wherever she went, and always looked like she didn’t quite belong—in her fur coats, her Prada dresses, her dark oval sunglasses—like somehow this beautiful Italian actress had found herself in the wrong place, a long way from home, and didn’t quite speak the same language as the other women. But she and I were kindred spirits. We understood each other, we had our own language, and I adored her. Much like the fragrances Evelyn used to wear, French Lover is a little bit mysterious; it’s woody, smokey, incense-based, and earthy, but it’s also bold and masculine. It’s rich, sophisticated, and sexy, and the woman who wears it isn’t afraid to be who she is. It will forever hold a place in my heart. —Carlie Fowler, Founder & Editor

  • 4

    Chanel Gabrielle Chanel

    It’s become evident to me that I’ve got a predilection for tuberose. This is certainly not a bad thing, but means my aforementioned declaration of commitment to Do Son may be thrown into jeopardy by none other than Chanel’s new Gabrielle Chanel fragrance. Before anything else is said, let it be known that I do not like Chanel No. 5. Yep—there it is. I don’t like it. Sorry if I’ve offended you. I know it’s classic and iconic and a global bestseller, but it simply doesn’t agree with my nose. I was surprised, then, when an enthusiastic department store attendee sprayed Gabrielle Chanel at (at, not on) me, and was even more surprised when I discovered that I loved it. In a zero-to-one-hundred turn of events, it’s now sitting on my bedside table. I’m putting my feelings of infatuation down to the arresting concoction of tuberose, jasmine, and ylang-ylang that sweetly serenades my nostrils and uproots my devotion to scent monogamy all at once. —Magdalene Shapter, Editorial Assistant

  • 5

    Ylang-Ylang Oil

    If I do wear fragrance, I wear it sparingly, and often because I have a memory attached to it or because I want to smell certain notes to feel a certain way. I wear them on my clothes more than I do my skin, because I like to use natural ingredients that I know my skin will appreciate. I love to wear pure ylang-ylang—it’s a spicy floral and smells different on every skin type. It’s known as the flower of love, which, if my man’s reaction when I wear it is anything to go by, I can totally attest to. —Carlie Fowler, Founder & Editor

  • 6

    Serge Lutens L'Eau de Paille

    My other ride or die (ROD) is Serge Lutens’ L’Eau De Paille. Since I word vomited all over my Byredo review, I’ll keep this one short and sweet. For the aesthetic-conscious among us, L’Eau de Paille will do wonders for your vanity cabinet, being futuristic and minimalistic all at once. Like my other ROD, this scent is a massive departure from the dark, rich Tom Ford’s of my yesteryear. It is a light snack for the nostrils, with frankincense and vetiver coming together in a beautiful, aromatic display of love. Ily2. —Madeleine Woon, Associate Editor

  • 7

    Chanel Gardénia

    Let me first say that I’ve had Gardénia on my shelf for close to two years now, and there’s still a quarter of it left. Of course, this is not because I don’t like it, but rather because it lasts forever, in all its 200ml glory. It’s funny—the day I was given it I’d actually told my boyfriend that Beige was my new favourite, all after having carted him around department stores everywhere so I could spray myself with Gardénia and make him tell me how good I smelled. I knew something was wrong when his face dropped—it was Christmas Day, and you just don’t make sad faces like that on Christmas Day. He went upstairs and came back with a recognisable black and white bag, and I knew what I’d done. A special present, meant for later. It’s one of those bottles you know you’ll keep long after you’ve used up its contents, as is expected from Chanel. It’s liquid summertime—a white floral scent that errs on the side of musk and reminds me of late nights and later mornings. —Betsy Greaves, Site Producer

  • 8

    Rodin Olio Lusso Lavender Absolute Luxury Body Oil

    The moment I first spoke to Linda Rodin, I felt a sisterhood. A commonality in the way we looked at the world. A kindred spirit. Our 15-minute scheduled phone call turned into an hour, and I felt I was talking to a girlfriend from many lives past. Linda’s style is always what people talk about most (and for good reason), but it’s her true essence, who she really is, that’s on display when you smell her fragrances and wear her products. She is gentle, sensitive, sophisticated, complex, and thoughtful—thoughtful about people, thoughtful about the world—and, most of all, she has an honesty and kindness that reminds you of what true beauty actually looks like. Her Lavender Absolute Luxury Body Oil contains all of those qualities, and when you wear it, you get a sense of the woman Linda is. It’s in no way your average lavender fragrance—nothing average ever comes from Linda Rodin. It’s completely unique, contemporary, complex, and sophisticated—it’s lavender’s cooler sister. With exotic stems sourced from Bulgaria and containing arnica, calendula, and many more oils that are great for the skin, it’s a daily ritual that’s not a luxury anymore—it’s an essential. —Carlie Fowler, Founder & Editor

  • Neo-Seul

    Halloween by J. del Pozo will always be my favorite ♡