25 May 2009


Wide-eyed and innocent I walked slap-bang into the middle of the London fashion scene that eventful January day in 1990. I had landed myself a plum job, had a rather dashing brand spanking new boyfriend to go with it, and would remain there (with the job) for more or less 7 years (the boyfriend has lasted longer, he's still here). How fantastic that felt, my own office, my own little department, even my own clothing allowance... oh baby, it couldn't get any better than that, surely? They were formative years, I was so young and impressionable and when anyone said "Jump!" I would reply without blinking "How high?". Never anything wrong with my work ethic, I can tell you (thank you, dad). So yes, fashion darling. The 90's, Katharine Hamnett - KH. She was a force of nature. She inspired me so much with her British, rather posh background and her solid as hell environmental beliefs (the first designer of them all to champion and fight for organic cotton and ban the use of PVC in her collections). The lady who in 1984 went to 10 Downing Street to meet Maggie Thatcher wearing one of her infamous t-shirts bearing the slogan "58% DON'T WANT PERSHING" (note the leggings - SUCH a good look - we've come full-circle once again). The woman really is mythical and hugely interesting so I urge you to leaf through her website and find out more about her work today.
By now you'll be asking: "And what does any of this have to do with the picture above or Diptyque?" Everything actually. Katharine was the one who introduced me (and everyone else in the studio, I'm sure) to the wonder that is a Diptyque candle. One of her personal favourites was 'Baies' if my memory serves me well. They were as much part of her style as her John Smedley jumpers and her black shiny skinny trousers. Over the years, my own absolute favourite has become "Tubereuse". Once I had been promoted a few levels and was able to attend the glamour that is Paris fashion week, a stop at the shop on the Boulevard Saint Germain was always on the agenda, no matter what. The excuse tended to be "Well, Katharine needs one so I simply HAVE TO go!". Now of course you can buy the candles and scents in select department stores and other exclusive boutiques, but there's nothing like visiting the charming shop in all it's old Parisian glory. I still love the packaging (the paper bag is simply wonderful and another fine example of how right you can get it when you use the perfect font). These candles really are in a league of their own, you can't just call them a 'scented' or even 'perfumed' candle - whether lit or not, their scent wraps you in a state of bliss while looking drop dead gorgeous just stood on your dresser - I defy any other candle to look and smell this good. I am totally biased of course; as I'm sure you'll know, scent is one of those senses that plays havoc with your memory. Nothing takes you back 20 years with quite such force, emotion and ease as a familiar smell (although Dr Who does a pretty good job too, I'm told). So leave me here, reminiscing and smelling my little treasure which was brought to me by my very kind angel and roving ambassador (merci encore, ma chère).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

must have one! cindy :)

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