Character study: introducing the cast of the St Giles fragrance line
New fragrance line St Giles is a very British brand, despite its very French nose. The brain behind it, Michael Donovan, is one of the UK’s most seasoned perfume PRs, who has worked many years with the kind of brands that have defined the concept of niche fragrance, like Frederic Malle’s Edition de Parfums. Having hobnobbed with elite noses all his professional life, Donovan had the pick of the best, and chose for St Giles Bertrand Duchaufour – the perfumer behind many of the Artisan Parfumeur scents and some for Acqua de Parma and Comme des Garçons.
What imparts its Britishness is the clearly defined and communicated nature of the juice in each of the five bottles. If a French PR were to launch a scent, the communication would most likely read as though Jacques Prevert had walked into a flower garden. Not a bad thing, just quite different to the more factual and functional approach of British marketing brains.
The conceit behind Donovan’s St Giles is that each scent represents a character. You either are that person, or choose your scent according to the person you wish to be – in life or in a moment. The notes are clearly communicated, along with the effect they might bring. ‘The Writer’, for example, contains rosemary, which is said to stimulate memory. It is joined by ginger and sparkling aldehydes, clary sage and rhubarb, leather and sandalwood which when woven together in Donovan and Duchaufour’s design, has the power to summon the muse.
The fragrances are beautifully rounded and unpredictable, a virtue we need more in fragrance creation. They also cover the gamet of tastes. ‘The Writer’ is joined by the seductive ‘Actress’, the provocative ‘Mechanic’, the unusually fruity ‘Stylist’ and the empowering ‘Tycoon’. So if you want to know how a fragrance will make you feel, St Giles has answers. And expect the cast of characters to continue to grow.