Candice Brathwaite: ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

Our columnist on fragrance flashbacks and the scent of the season


by Candice Brathwaite |

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches and the weather definitely gets a little cooler my mind starts to think not just about my autumn winter wardrobe but in my opinion the finishing touch, my scent of the season.

I’ve always been a massive fan of perfume. When I was a child, I would sneak sprays of Nina Ricci L’air du temps (it’s white dove embossed bottle is still one of the most beautiful designs I’ve ever encountered), Obsession by Calvin Klein and once I’d gotten a little older Poison by Dior. Whilst no one said it perfume felt like a gateway to luxury brands that where otherwise unattainable. Anytime older family members went abroad there was an unspoken rule that there would definitely be time to peruse the plentiful perfume aisles at duty free with even my Grandad demanding that no one forget his ‘green bottle of polo’ a scent he stills wears to this day.

By the time I had a little pocket money to play with celebrity perfumes were all the rage. Aside from the standard bottle of Charlie that I kept on my Just Do It school bag I was also a massive fan of Glow by JLo - whilst I had never been to Miami, I swore it have off those vibes and woe betide anyone who dared to use my Britney Spears fantasy. As time went on of course my desires for something a little more special started to arise and when I arrived at the airport to fly to Naples to begin the role of an au pair I made what was then my most grown up decision of all which was to purchase a bottle of Chanel No5. Although my nose has long since outgrown its love for those particular notes, I can’t help but keep a bottle in my collection as not only does it remind me of new beginnings but endings too as it was on that trip that I found out my father died. It was really then that I begun to respect how important perfumes are not just to communicate how we feel and perhaps want to be seen but also punctuate a moment in time.

READ MORE: The Most Noteworthy Celebrity Perfumes, Past And Present

With the explosion of social media has of course come many a perfume enthusiast or ‘scentfluencer’ if you will who in a one to three minute video not only offer historical education about specific perfumes but also their own personal take on what are the best smells currently on the market. I can’t lie, much of my recent purchases have been because scent tok has made me feel like I need to go out and try it for myself. And that’s another reason I love perfume it forces you to have a IRL experience. I have only purchased a new scent online twice and both times I was annoyed that I hadn’t made the effort to smell it before I bought it.

Now my perfume collection sits at around forty to fifty bottles. Whilst I’m in no way a scent snob, I do have an Tom Ford altar and don’t get me started on my love for the very popular Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. But with that said another one of my favourite scents are by Zara. A lot like my wardrobe, I have no shame in the high low of it all. Time has taught me that not only is perfume important to the wearer but also those who they pass by. Certain notes can cause flashbacks, nostalgia, sadness or all three. Unlike clothes you know there will always be a scent that fits. Now that’s something I will spend money on.

SHOP: Candice's Favourite Fragrances, Both Past and Present

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Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps Eau de Parfum, £78.20
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Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps Eau de Parfum, £78.20


READ MORE: 'Candice Brathwaite: 'It pains me to admit I started shaving at ten - TEN'

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