The Scent of Summer

Fragrance expert and international communciations manager for French fragrance house Beauté Prestige International, Danny Ventura, deciphers the art of wearing fragrance once the temperature rises.

Should we change the way we think about wearing fragrance over the summer months?

 When wearing your fragrance in the summer versus the winter, follow the same rule you would when getting dressed: less is more. Since fragrance is activated by heat, and the weather is warmer, fragrance tends to linger more on skin than it would in the cooler months.

In the summer, we tend to wear less clothing leaving more of our skin exposed to the sun. Fragrance does contain alcohol, as well as some ingredients that could potentially leave a discoloration or irritation if it comes in direct contact with the sun’s rays. Playing it safe and applying a scent only where your skin is protected from getting direct exposure to sunshine is a wise choice.

Is it best to follow fragrance rules and switch out your favourite winter scent for lighter zesty and fresh notes?

If you find a scent that you love, you should wear it; fragrance is created to be enjoyed no matter what the season. Most fragrances have alternative strengths that you can choose depending on the occasion. An eau de parfum has more concentration of scent – 17 to 22%, than an EDT, which is generally 12 to 16%. In most cases not only is the EDT version of your fragrance softer, but also it can smell slightly different. The advantage of this is you may actually have slightly different versions of your scent that you can enjoy throughout the year, without having to change fragrances.

What is the best way to apply scent in summer?

Most people wear a fragrance so that they can enjoy the scent all day long. A few sprays or dabs here and there and off they go, only to realize that it’s worn off half way thru the day. Putting some thought into how and where to apply a fragrance will make all the difference.

Applying a fragrance low on the body, allows the scent to rise naturally with our body heat. As it does, the scent will envelop you and those you choose to get close enough to enjoy it as well.

If you want to experiment with wearing bold scents over summer, what notes come to life in the heat?

Fragrances in the oriental family have a greater presence on skin. These scents are particularly powerful in the warmer summer months because the warm air and humidity carry the scent molecule further.

Some wonderfully exotic notes to consider are vanilla, sandalwood, spices such as cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, and leather and musk notes. These scents can become even more intoxicating on skin depending how they are combined in relation to other notes. Some fragrances use these notes combined with fresh citrus top notes to reveal a scent that starts out fresh, and ends up sensual and sexy.

Designer Profile: Gray’s Way

Being touted as the next big thing in New Zealand fashion would probably go to most 23-year-olds’ heads, but Lucilla Gray isn’t most 23-year-olds. The Wellington-based British-born designer has already achieved what many young designers only dream of: Gray debuted her label at London Fashion Week 2015 and has been called the Kiwi designer to watch. Ever- modest, Gray seems unperturbed: “I guess there’s always a little bit of pressure, but when you’re working you don’t really think about that – you get lost in designing,” she says.

Immersing herself in “making stuff” is something Gray has been doing since she was a child, so it’s with conviction that she says she always knew she’d end up working in a creative field. “It was really quite natural for me,” she says. Although designing seems to be second-nature, Gray still sees fashion as a dynamic process. “It’s creative – like self-expression,” she says. “It’s quite hands-on and experimental.” Gray’s clear creative vision and focus might explain why she was determined to launch her namesake label so early in her career. Most designers spend years honing their art under the watchful tutelage of established designers. Gray spent just eight weeks as a design intern at Kate Sylvester. She’s quick to admit she’s always been preoccupied with establishing her own aesthetic. “I’ve always had a strong opinion when it comes to my work,” she says. “Everything started falling into place quite quickly. I had stylists asking to borrow pieces from my graduate collection before I’d handed it in for marking.” Gray’s success only gathered momentum from there. In 2014, she was invited to show as part of an emerging designers exhibition at Amsterdam Fashion Week. While there, a London-based agency invited her to be part of their showroom at London Fashion Week.

Despite her international success, Gray says showing her Japanese-inspired collection at this year’s New Zealand Fashion Week was a career highlight. The collection featured all the elements Gray is known for: structured silhouettes, clean lines and a distinct print. While it’s probably a given Gray’s signature style will be present in her future collections, she laughs when asked if she’s got her next collection planned. “Not at all! I try not to think about it too much straight after the last one.”