Monday 24 July 2023

NATURE by Contradictions in ILK

A bottle of the new Nature perfume from Contradictions in ILK
Our natural surroundings are being destroyed and disrupted by mammoth building projects and ill-thought-out renovations. It's a fact. City streets are having their trees uprooted, parks are being locked outside of “respectable” hours, and wild habitats are being constantly covered in concrete and breeze blocks. We’re in danger of forgetting that nature and architecture used to once coexist happily alongside each other, so it’s the perfect time to be reminded by the inventive Contradictions in ILK. Famous for offering us all two sides of the same coin, you're going to love their latest fragrance Nature.

Contradictions in ILK was founded in 2020 by Annabella Fasano-Leslie and Holly Hutchinson with the goal to “inspire others to use perfume to experience significant moments more deeply, to capture vivid emotions, and to help tell stories by engaging all the senses”. Annabella had always worn fragrance, but she longed to create a perfume brand that looked beyond the simple act of purchasing or gifting a bottle of scent. She wanted fragrance to resonate on a personal level, whether that be emotional or mirroring an inner cause, because marking those important moments then becomes a celebration of achievement and growth.

The unique thing about the eight fragrances that the company initially launched was that they formed four pairs, and each pair could be layered. Now this wasn’t a new concept by any means, Jo Malone London had built an empire on it, but the ILK approach was slightly different. The pairings were contradictory fragrances, so almost the polar opposites of each other, and played into that “two sides of the same coin” scenario. The company were clear that the perfumes could also all be worn on their own, but the option was there to create something semi-bespoke that had edge and originality.

The box for the new Nature perfume from Contradictions in ILK
The two latest additions to the collection are Human and Nature, and these can once again be appreciated on their own or combined to create a larger scented picture. They’re described as “celebrating the contradictions and connections between the natural world and that constructed by mankind.” Human takes as its focus a world devoid of nature, one that’s manufactured and manmade, whereas Nature looks at the flora and fauna that dares to grow in close proximity to the city. It’s this idea of “bristle to cheek”, hard meeting soft, that is fascinating. Whilst they can be worn together, Nature positively sings on its own.

The fragrance opens with a lightly sweetened citrus, almost like a sugar-topped grapefruit, and is added to by a beautifully cold sappiness. This wateriness is referred to as “morning dew” in the fragrance description, and the added cardamom and green vegetal notes make for an exciting start. The development sees magnolia and geranium then blend into a unisex floral pairing, but the additional of a peppery crushed leaf quality definitely hints at creeping ivy starting to reclaim the land. With a touch of clove and cinnamon paving the way, the final phase sees earthy vetiver and oakmoss cleverly balanced with the perfect amount of musky patchouli and tonka bean, and showcases the resinous and unignorable power of nature. If you're looking for the perfect scented companion for a long walk, then you've found it here.

Nature and Human are available from the Contradictions in ILK website at, or from Selfridges and Jovoy, priced at £165 for 50ml. [Sample provided by ILK]

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