Blog post by Gwen
When superstar British milliner Stephen Jones and Rei Kawakubo, founder of avant-garde fashion line Comme des Garçons, met serendipitously at Anchorage Airport in 1986, I don’t think either of them knew that one day they would collaborate on the creation of one of my favourite violet fragrances: Stephen Jones Millinery. In all fairness, I didn’t see it coming either, but some twenty-plus years later, Comme des Garçons launched Stephen Jones Millinery for Fashion Week London in 2008. My bottle is from 2011.
Jones rose from London’s “ex-punk” scene in the late 70s. He was a member of the Blitz Kids – a group of young, flamboyant creative artists and designers who wanted to produce something new and fresh. For Stephen Jones, it led to designing hats from delicate fascinators to towering feather crowns to sculptural headpieces, from unexpected materials that ranged from whimsical to refined.
By 1980, he was the go-to designer of headline-making hats and everyone from rock stars to royalty sought him out. Over the years, his partnerships with the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo, John Galliano, Christian Dior and Thom Browne produced some of the fashion world's most iconic works of art. Today Jones is considered one of fashion’s most enduring and eminent designers. His contribution to fashion is singular and extraordinary, winning him an OBE in 2010.
I'm not much of a hat person; I’m more of a perfume person, so in the interest of “getting to the point,”…let’s talk about Stephen Jones Millinery.
It opens with a shock of intense violet and cold aldehydes. The violet is soft, powdery and sweet; it smells like those little French violet candies to my nose. As the aldehydes fade, it’s replaced with a spicy warmth from a note of clove that brings forward the smell of bright, floral carnation and opulent, sensuous rose. As they bloom, lush jasmine joins the carnation and rose; it smells sweet and fresh. Violet appears again but is more pronounced; its powdery aspect is bolstered by heliotrope. On me, there is also the smell of something smouldering or burning. It comes from Guaiac wood, giving the fragrance interest and depth as a curl of smoke swirls around the flowers – the perfect foil for their powderiness. At the base amber adds warmth and sweetness alongside earthy, woody vetiver. Black cumin is warm and animalic, harmonizing the amber and floral notes,
The drydown is floral, elegant and romantic.
The marketing blurb for Stephen Jones Millinery describes it as “Strong & beautiful. Whimsical & strange.” To me, that perfectly describes the violet in this fragrance and it's the reason I love it.
Check out Stephen Jones Millinery in our Shop.