I'm sure many beauty bloggers out there have wondered what they'd create if they could create a beauty product of their own.. I've had the time anyway, and I've gotten lost in day dreams about brushes quite a lot myself! But fate decided to throw me in the deep end for my first go at beauty creativity (as we all know, perfume and scents are not my strong points, down there with science and hair styles), and I got to have a shot at making a fragrance to learn more about the brand and the composition of perfumes with Fragonard, a perfumerie from the south of France.
At the workshop we were taught about various things, including top notes (which make the majority of the formula), middle notes and base notes. The top being the ones you smell first which are usually quite citrussy, the middle being the dominant one that lingers over time, and the base that ties it all together. Since we were making a citrussy scent, we used notes of oranges, citrons, bergamot, mandarin, neroli, petit grain, verbene, rosemary and lavender. The ones that I put extras of were the bergamot, neroli and lavender to give a bit of a orange yet floral and herby tones as well. The end result? I quite like it if I say so myself! Fei from Peonies and Lillies was there too, and she took more of a lemony route, with lots of verbene and citron.
We also learnt about how scents differ from where they've been sourced - a neroli scent from Tunisia can apparently be very different from a scent from elsewhere! And did you know that on the first day of perfume school, you have to be able to identify over 500 scents? With a memory and nose like mine, that's probably not the best career path for me..
After the workshop, I strolled around their stand, sniffing away (my scent senses were thoroughly knackered by the end of it). And I have to say, I have never found a perfume line that I liked all the smells of! All the perfumes are so inoffensive, traditional yet creative, and they're all very feminine and floral in different ways. I can only guess that the nature and landscape of the south of France played a heavy part in inspiring a lot of these floral and natural scents, as I filled my lungs with the Mediterranean French countryside and dreamed of a holiday there soon!
The packaging of the products are all so pretty as well. They vary so much with different lines, but all of them are incredibly French and very arty indeed. I tend to skip perfumes when I go to the M&S Beauty Halls, but Fragonard, alongside Chantal Tomas, another French lingerie-designer-turned-perfumer, has become some of my "not to miss" brands for M&S Beauty Halls! For those of you on the lookout, their bestsellers are Belle de Nuit, Diamant and most of all, Soleil, while Fleur d'Oranger is also a popular one in Britain.
The Feminine Eau de Toilette Collection
The Naturelles Collection
To me, Fragonard seems like the perfect French perfumerie. It's a family business created in 1926 in Grasse by Eugene Fuchs, of whose great granddaughters currently run the company. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Agnes, and her and the other CEO Francoise, maintain the various aspects of the company today, including the perfume school and their museum.
I have to say the artistic capacity of the company is phenomenal. The designs of the bottles, the illustrations of the boxes, and the photography in their magazines are truly inspiring and gorgeous. It really makes me miss France! Again, the scents and the art really capture the beauty of the landscape, and it just makes me long to bask in their sun, green and flowers and stroll around the clay-coloured towns of the region!
Speaking of the range, there are 5 collections - the Feminine EDT Collection (6 scents, £26/100ml each), the Men's EDT Collection (4 scents, £26/100ml each), the Eau de Parfum Collection (2 scents, £32/50ml each), the Eau de Toilette in Organdie Bag Collection (4 scents, £36/200ml each) and the Naturelles Collection (8 scents, £22.50/100ml for 7, and one box of perfumed tissues, which is £8 for 20 sachets). My favourite was definitely the Feminine EDT Collection!
One of the little gift sets that Fragonard makes - they're great for stocking fillers!
Fragonard also makes soaps and bath products.
It was such a fun experience, and I feel like I've found a really nice perfume range that I can count on finding something I like if I ever feel like sporting a new scent (or make myself feel bad that I'm not in France!). I think everyone I've seen since then have got a whiff of my perfume, and I'm definitely not sick of flaunting my latest creation just yet! I came home to tell one of my friends who was familiar with and adores Fragonard, and had visited their factories in the south of France before. The factory attracts thousands of visitors a year, so if you're interested in seeing what a perfume factory is like, it's a great place to go! I, for one, would love a visit if I'm ever in the area!
You can get Fragonard products from M&S Beauty Halls or their website. From the 29th of November to the 2nd of December, beauty products from M&S are 20% off! Be sure to check out other faves like Australian Native Botanicals, Diego dalla Palma and NUXE.
What are your favourite perfume notes?
Any favourite perfumes? :)
*This was a press event and workshop.