Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent

Somerset House, Strand, London

Picture of Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent

Event location:
Somerset House, Strand
When:Event passed!
It was on
Wed 21st Jun 2017 to
Sat 17th Jun 2017

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Where:Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Map:Map & Nearby
Times:Mon, Tues, Sat & Sun: 10.00 - 18.00 Weds, Thurs & Fri: 11.00 - 20.00
Admission:Full price: £11
Concessions: £9

About the event

Multi-sensory exhibition featuring ten extraordinary perfumes and their pioneering creators, who have radically changed our perceptions of fragrance over the last 20 years.

Discover a vibrant new perfume scene, the contemporary cult perfumes shaking up scent culture and the unseen works of art worn on our skin. Contemporary perfume provocateurs are dispensing with traditional high gloss communication concepts, gender boundaries and conventional notions of good taste.

From the self-taught to the classically trained, the exhibition explores perfumers reworking their palette of ingredients to construct original and outrageous signatures which assault all of the senses. Seeking out visceral, surprising and sometimes unsavoury smells such as smoke and sweat, they evoke unexpected places or moments, rather than simply trying to mask our own odours. No longer anonymous figures working behind the scenes for big brands; the selected perfumers have opened up and are celebrating their craft with a global online community of fumeheads. Providing insights into processes, engaging in discussions and even taking inspiration from customers, they have offered a much more accessible approach to perfumery that’s unlike anything seen before.

Perfume explores the work of perfumers at the forefront, propelling perfume into more daring olfactory and creative directions, challenging classic definitions of scent and reshaping the mainstream market.

You'll be taken on an olfactory journey through a series of rooms designed to reflect the inspirations of the scents, from a sandy desert to the Scottish Highlands, a Catholic confessional to a lover’s boudoir. Each room will include visual, auditory and tactile references to the identity and influences of the perfumer to guide you on your olfactory journey.

The exhibition also includes an overview of 20th-century perfumery, with an introductory installation including ten trailblazing scents of the time – one for each decade of the 20th century. It will start with L’Origan de Coty (1905) – a hallmark perfume, now out of circulation, that will be specially recreated by Coty for the exhibition – and end with ck one (1994), the original gender-neutral fragrance of western perfume culture that led the ‘clean’ scent trend.

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