Thursday 26 January 2017

The Jo Malone Philosophy

With many companies now opting for more than one "range" within their catalogue it can become confusing just what the differences are. Along with the ever-present "exclusive" collection that each seem to include, fans are bombarded with flanker after flanker; a sport version, an intense version, even that troublesome Eau Fraiche. One company that has taken a different direction in the way that they offer their products to the public is Jo Malone London. Now under the control of Estée Lauder, just what makes their approach so different and why have millions fallen under their spell?

When Jo Malone blended Nutmeg & Ginger back in 1990 she surely had no idea that she had laid the foundations for a truly global company. It was the follow up fragrance that would really make her name however, Lime Basil & Mandarin in 1991. It took her friends, colleagues, customers, everyone by storm and secured her reputation even before she had a store. A boutique finally followed in 1994 and then Estée Lauder acquired the company in 1999. The sale to the American giant is well documented and Jo stayed on as Creative Director until 2006, when she decided to sell her remaining shares in the company.

So what exactly makes Jo Malone London different from any of the other fragrance houses out there? Well, they have always had an emphasis on the “simplicity” of the perfumes and the ability to combine the various fragrances. The company says that the formulas for their fragrances are very short in order to let each ingredient take the spotlight during its development on the skin. It’s this simplicity that allows the scents to be combined in a more successful way than other perfumes because there are fewer ingredients to clash with each other. I am not saying that other companies fragrances can’t be combined; I’m just saying that the success rate seems to be higher with Jo Malone.

A consultant once described their classic range as being “shot with light” and I remember thinking that it was a perfect description. The fragrances are built around an effervescent, bright, airy structure with the focus being on the head and heart notes. Yes, you have a base in there but it is kept carefully away from the main body of the scent. Their Cologne Intense range is the exact opposite. This collection, whilst still being recognisable as Jo Malone London, draws more heavily on the heart and base notes. Richer blending, more resinous ingredients, deeper woods, it all combines to create a more sensuous quality. The two collections are often referred to as “day and night” fragrances, but it really is just personal taste as to which style you prefer to wear.

The company is careful never to veer too far away from their tried and tested philosophy of surprising the customer with an unexpected ingredient, for example using cardamon or basil adds interest but is never allowed to dominate. Jo Malone London have a new collection launching at the end of February called The Bloomsbury Set which takes the famous group of writers, thinkers, economists and painters as its inspiration. It promises to be very true to the style of the company but, just like the group themselves, will also defy convention.

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