Chandler Burr's The Art of Scent exhibition (and more...)
Perfume-lovers, prepare to be tantalised. First off, with a really brilliant exhibition about perfume, curated by fragrance critic and author Chandler Burr - the downside being you'll have to haul (long-haul?) yourself to New York to see it, unless some savvy soul in the UK decides to import the installation. But still, we thought we'd share Jo's experiences of this unique show, which she recently saw while on a flying visit to the Big Apple.
'There have been previous few exhibitions on the subject of scent, but as you'd expect from the former Perfume Critic of The New York Times, this is pretty special. At various locations along a specially sculpted wall, you position your nostrils and 'whoosh'! A burst of the chosen fragrance hits your scent receptors. (Here, Jicky - one of ten quintessential fragrances chosen for the exhibit by Chandler Burr, which also include Clinique Aromatics Elixir, Chanel No. 5, Estée Lauder Pleasures, Angel, L'Eau d'Issey and (less predictably) Prada Amber and Osmanthe Yunnan, by the in-house perfumer at Hermes, Jean-Claude Ellena.
Because all logos are removed, you can concentrate on the smell - not the branding. And it is, therefore, a real eye-opener. (As well as a nostril-opener...)
In a separate room, meanwhile, you can vote on which phrases most conjure up certain fragrances - and also experience the different incarnations of Trésor, as perfumer Sofia Grojsmanworked to perfect it for Lancôme. I absolutely loved the whole experience - and it truly is an experience,' says Jo.
Very well worth a visit if you happen to be within sniffing distance of the Big Apple.
The Art of Scent is at the Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 -www.madmuseum.org
And if Paris is a little more accessible...? There's another scented exhibit that we'd like to draw your attention to: the glorious show of Jacques-Emile Blanche paintings at the Fondation Pierre Bergé, in Paris.
The scent connection is that specifically for the show, gifted perfumer Francis Kurkdjian created a perfume using only the natural ingredients available at the time Blanche was painting, which suffuses the room with notes of amber, Brazilian rosewood and Moroccan jasmine. (As Francis told Jo: 'It was one of the biggest challenges of my career. I couldn't wait to get back to my palette of synthetic notes...!')
The candles, nonetheless, are divine (and 25 euros at the Fondation's petite shop).