Jo Malone London's Bloomsbury Set is a nod to an unconventional life

Jo Malone London's Bloomsbury Set is a nod to an unconventional life

Free spirits

Text: Meera Navlakha

In collaboration with Yann Vasnier, master perfumer, Jo Malone releases scents inspired by English intellectuals

In the 1890s, the Bloomsbury Set – a group of British philosophers, artists and writers – was amongst the most influential groups of people in England, and later on, the world. Each member was individual in their work, but were bound by their love for art, as well as their progressive ways of approaching life. Their lives, unsurprisingly, were inspirational in more ways than one. The intellectual and artistic group are now serving as the premier influence in Jo Malone London's limited edition Bloomsbury Set.

The five scents were created for Jo Malone London by master perfumer Yann Vasnier. The collection includes Blue Hyacinth, Tobacco and Mandarin, Whisky and Cedarwood, Leather and Artemisia, and Garden Lilies. Each holds either a distinctive vibrancy or simplicity... and sometimes a combination of both. Here, Celine Roux, Vice President of Global Fragrance Development, explains the inspiration and motivation behind the collection.

The Bloomsbury Set is inspired by the Bloomsbury Group. Can you tell us a bit about who they were and what inspired you about them?
Each time we do a Brit collection it’s an opportunity to celebrate British culture in a way that is not usually attempted in perfumery. The Bloomsbury Group was a set of English intellectuals – philosophers, writers, economists and artists – that included Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster. They studied together at Charleston in East Sussex; a beautiful and rambling cottage surrounded by an incredible garden. We enjoyed the idea that this group of people appeared to be very English and proper but they were in fact non-conformists and true hedonists. We liked how the ‘proper’ contrasted with the ‘promiscuous’.

As you started to work on this collection you visited Charleston, a creative haven and country home of the Bloomsbury Group. How did this inspire the fragrance creation?
The very first time I went to the house it all came alive. The colours, the textures, the smell of the paint, the light through the windows, the leather-bound books in the library – it felt frozen in time and I could imagine these intellectuals sitting there and brainstorming ideas. Everything at Charleston is painted from floor to ceiling, every table, and every lampshade. We thought it would be fun to do a collection about the different moments throughout the day. Fragrance is meant to be fun and emotional after all!

Why was Yann Vasnier chosen for this collection?
He has a way of writing fragrance formulas that’s a bit unusual and quirky — we loved that sense of fun. He’s drawn towards the more sensual, woody, spicy notes, which we thought would be a perfect fit for this collection.

This collection launches in March 2017