Sunday, June 23, 2013

Melbourne Fragrance Shopping. Service and Style.

I was recently in Melbourne for a short holiday, and I penciled in an entire day to visit two fragrance destinations I was very excited to see. (Well, I say "see" but what I really mean is splash some cash and get my hands on some very hard to obtain treasures.)

Like many members of the fragrance community over time I have started to depend on buying fragrances online, partly for price but also for convenience and the ability to enlarge the range of available fragrances above and beyond the local department store. Which is understandable, but ignores the fact that the art of shopping for fragrance can be an enormous pleasure in itself. I also believe in supporting local retailers, and frankly if we don't use them we are likely to lose them.

So on a grey, cold and rainy early winter day in Melbourne I set out on a fragrance hunting safari.

Peony Haute Perfumery
I arrived early to Peony Haute Perfumery so I explored the lovely village area of Auburn Rd, Hawthorn where it is located and had breakfast in a nearby cafe. Stepping into Peony from the cold and rain, I found myself in a beautiful little jewel box of a store. The interior is mainly black and white, with white walls and elegant gloss black or mirrored fixtures, and a few taupe or beige accents. The net result is light and bright, elegant, and vintage in feel without being stuffy. The neutral palette also lets the products be the star.

Oh lordy, and what products they are!

Amouage, Creed and Keiko Mecheri fragrances display
Shortly after I walked in the door, the owner Jill introduced herself and let me know that she'd be happy to help if I needed it. I was on a mission to bag myself a bottle of "Cuir Velours" by Naomi Goodsir, so once Jill pointed me in the right direction I had an awestruck wander around.

Fornasetti candles, room fragrance and accessories
I actually found myself getting a little overwhelmed. Amazing brands I had never heard of, and fragrances I had wanted to try for ages were everywhere. I had set myself a budget, so the bottle of "Cuir Velors" was going to have to be my limit. For this trip anyway. Given the cash I would have bought the entire Fornasetti candle range, just for starters.

Fragrances, candles and body products on display
Jill was absolutely lovely to talk to, and so knowledgeable. We did some spritzing and sampling, chatted about fragrances and the industry, and before I left Jill gave me a substantial number of samples to take with me to try and enjoy.

Cire Trudon candles and room fragrance
What a fantastic experience. Great service. Amazing products. I think I was probably in the store for about an hour, and had an absolute ball. It was almost a bonus that at the end of it all I had a lovely bag full of treats.

I would be so broke if I lived in Melbourne.

Fleurage Perfume Atelier
My second destination was Fleurage Perfume Atelier in South Melbourne. Fleurage are different and unique, in that they make all their own fragrances from natural extraits and essential oils. All the fragrances are parfum or eau de parfum strength.

The bespoke fragrance ingredients and other displays at Fleurage
The welcome at Fleurage was just as warm and friendly as at Peony. The owner and perfumer Emma was on hand to help me find a fragrance, which was (as I had suspected from reading about the fragrances on the website) the lovely spicy, incense, fougere "Mabon". While she was wrapping the beautifully presented bottle, we had a nice long chat about fragrance and the business.

Fragrance display at Fleurage
The store itself is quite discrete from the street, with an elegant art deco styled interior of grey and black, with some original timber pieces. While we were chatting Emma explained that over the years her business model has changed slightly, with an increase in bespoke fragrances, consulting to the industry, and classes now making up a large part of the business. Consequently Fleurage in it's current location is as much showroom and workshop as retail store.

So, there you have it. Two fantastic shopping experiences, made all the better by owners who were passionate about their businesses and the industry, and happy to chat to a fellow 'fume-head. In the process I shelled out over $350-, not a small sum, but I had a brilliant day and have two bottles of amazing fragrances to provide long lasting enjoyment.

Thanks to Jill and Emma for the great friendly and knowledgeable service.

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