Thursday 15 August 2019

LOS ANGELES by Gallivant

Summer sees many people jetting off for their holidays and often means that they end up exploring a new country or city. This idea that “travel broadens the mind” is one that many perfume companies have tried to replicate with numerous travel themed fragrances, but it has often proved problematic for those that have attempted it. A person’s impression of a location is, for want of a better word, “personal” and so appealing to a wide audience can be difficult. One company that have excelled at this concept though is Gallivant and their new fragrance, Los Angeles, demonstrates the perfect balance between the impression and the reality.

When Nick Steward launched Gallivant back in 2017 it was off the back of a very successful career in the perfume industry. His list of credits include some of the biggest names in fragrance but he is still probably best known as the wonderfully intuitive Creative Director of L’Artisan Parfumeur. He wanted to pull together his wealth of experience into one brand and, when he was looking for an initial inspiration, it seemed natural to draw on his love of travel. However, these couldn’t just be another Earl Grey London or Monoi Tahitian, these needed to be evocatively original.

His first collection of four fragrances saw him journey to Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Brooklyn, and back to London but these were quickly joined by two more jaunts to Berlin and Amsterdam. The first six scents were created by Karine Chevallier and Giorgia Navarra but then for fragrance number seven, Tokyo, he called upon Nicolas Bonneville to turn his ideas into a reality. All of these perfumes presented the cities in a new light and, whilst niche, were all wonderfully wearable. For Los Angeles, his latest fragrance, he has again turned to Karine Chevallier and the results are truly spectacular.

“Los Angeles is a place which fires the imagination, an intersection of many worlds. There’s colour and drama and I wanted to capture that feeling of movement, excitement and new beginnings.” These are powerful words from Nick Steward and possibly not what you would imagine from a fragrance built around a city famous for “appearance” and “embellishment.” Karine Chevallier has reached deep into the soul of Los Angeles, walked down the many faded side streets, and created Nick’s 1980s recollections. Interestingly, they seemed to mirror mine from twenty years later and so it was with a tinge of excitement that I returned.

One of the things that I used to love about West Hollywood was the way that worlds collided and this is apparent right from the outset of Los Angeles. The aromatic eucalyptus opening puts you in mind of those freshly watered lawns but a touch of neon-esque bubblegum reminds us that we’re living on a film set. In a brave move, tuberose and narcissus are allowed to exhibit a foreboding sexuality rather than their usual overpowering floral but the smokiness from the guiacwood and cade remind us that not all of Hollywood is “roses and rainbows.” Los Angeles is a wonderful mix of side street survival and Rodeo Drive riches.

Los Angeles is available from the website at and also from Fortnum and Mason priced at £65 for 30ml. [Sample provided by Gallivant]

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