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.
Multi-sensory exhibition featuring ten extraordinary perfumes and their pioneering creators, who have radically changed our perceptions of fragrance over the last 20 years.
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.
The ten perfumes and perfumers are:
DANIELA ANDRIER – PURPLE RAIN (2015)
A sumptuous re-working of traditional iris perfumes
MARK BUXTON – COMME DES GARÇONS 2 (1999)
An ultra-modern, ink-inspired fragrance
BERTRAND DUCHAUFOUR – INCENSE: AVIGNON (2002)
An olfactory portrait of French Catholic mass
OLIVIA GIACOBETTI – EN PASSANT (2000)
A fresh, floral fragrance with a twist
LYN HARRIS – CHARCOAL (2016)
A familiar, yet unexpected, natural fragrance
ANTOINE LIE – SÉCRETIONS MAGNIFIQUES (2007)
The scent of sexual pleasure
DAVID S. MOLTZ – EL COSMICO (2015)
A sensory exploration of the Texan Desert
GEZA SCHOEN – MOLECULE 01 (2007)
The skill of science meets the art of perfume
ANDY TAUER – L’AIR DU DESERT MAROCAIN (2005)
A fragrance inspired by the scents of the Saharan Desert
KILLIAN WELLS – DARK RIDE (2015)
A thrilling scent simulation of a water theme-park
'Smell is a way of understanding that nothing is lost.'
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.
During Perfume, our functioning perfume laboratory will profile the science, skills, ingredients and tools involved in the perfume industry. An extensive events programme and exclusive exhibition tours will be announced shortly, including opportunities to work with professional perfumers to concoct your own scent.
Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent
In association with
With additional support from