It is so subjective to pick out a mere 10 perfume Instagrammers to follow. However, I am starting 2019 as I mean to go on – sharing perfume serendipity and giving a shout-out to just some of my favourite, most informative, eye-catching, provocative, reliable and beautiful Instagram accounts covering fragrance. Love or hate Facebook, which my teen son says is ‘so yesterday’, you will certainly not avoid its counterpart platform Instagram with its daily eye candy if you are at all interested in the beauty industry. It makes for some quick-flick fun and uplifting browsing while waiting for the coffee to brews or evening meal cooks end of the day.
This is my 2019 edit of top perfume Instragrammers I dip into regularly and seek out, even if I happen to miss their daily post or story in my feed. One or two are pro bloggers and have featured in my top 15 perfume blogs list. The others are a very mixed bag, covering industry professionals and perfumers such as Lynn Harris and Sonia Constant, as well as indie perfumers like Kamila Aubre along with known and new fragrance critics.
Not all have uniform, wall-to-wall drop-dead gorgeous posts but that’s not my criterion. Let’s face it, that takes incredible curation, editing and creation – and time. And while perfect flat lays attract, I do choose an account to follow on the basis of its verbiage too. All are honest voices in this confusing world of perfumery and all have a lot to say on the subject, from penetrating reviews to those doing a deep dive into issues like sustainability and the world of botanicals to those covering the nth degree on how to work with perfumery materials (here’s looking at and thanking Christophe Laudemiel and Kamila Aubre).
I hope you enjoy my edit of top perfume Instagrammers and that I prompt you to seek out some new faces to follow. Instagram is here to stay and few of us in the beauty industry can afford to ignore it. These folks are worth following if only to admire their consistently brilliant use of this social platform in an industry that uses visuals to evoke the invisible.
Parfums Clandestins’ Edit 2019: Top Perfume Instagrammers
Eye Candy Perfume Instagrammers:
Sonia Constant is one of the leading lights as a senior perfumer at Givuadin, where she trained. Her creations include some of the most feted works of perfumery in recent years, and include those for names such as Viktor & Rolf, Narciso Rodriguez, Valention, Escada, and way more. She also is artistic director at her own perfume label Ella K. Perfumes, Paris. In fact, it’s Ella K that caught my attention first for its dreamy monochrome and golden, honey-beige hues of immaculately curated travel cum perfume inspiration. Few of us can ever hope to be so ‘on brand’ as Ella K’s account.
Both her Instagram homes speak volumes about her perfume philosophy. To quote: “J’ai toujours vu mon travail de Nez comme une manière de parler à l’inconscient des autres, j’attise leur curiosité, je les invite au voyage, après, ceux sont eux qui partent, sans moi. Ils s’approprient mes souvenirs. Ils font leur propre découvertes. Mes créations sont de véritables destinations.” In brief and loose translation, Sonia sees her creations as points of departure and for discovery of self and place – of the other; journeys she has instigated but which are paths traveled without her, and which become unique destinations for the individual wearer.
Verdict: Ella K is always pure pleasure and feel-good factor browsing. Sonia’s own page is an aspirational insight into the world of a working ‘nez’.
First, let me qualify my classifying Kamila Aubre as eye candy. Her account certainly is ethereally beautiful and classy, with carefully curated photos (mostly by herself) of both her perfumes and associated lifestyle shots.
But more than that, Kamila chooses her words carefully too, writing sometimes long and detailed thoughts on perfume and poetry, and perfecting her art and craft of both fragrance and photography. Kamila Aubre perfumes are all-natural botanicals and she goes to length to explain her choices of materials and how she sees her role as a perfumer. She is a lover of art and literature and many of her perfumes are inspired by and posts are drawn from her latest readings, often from long-neglected classics.
Verdict: The ultimate botanical perfumer’s view married with sensitive photos and ponderings of life, literature and a deep love of perfume. Monochrome bliss!
The Pro-blogger Perfume Critics
I perhaps follow Dariush Alavi, aka Persolaise more on Twitter than on Instagram but his IG account is just as full of witticisms. Alavi is more than a familiar name to anyone who’s been following perfume pundits as he’s a three-times Jasmine Award winning writer as well as dabbling in fragrance creation himself.
He mixes all things perfumery with film, stage and literature reviews bringing personal panache to the IG feed. Again, we see the blurring of creative and artistic lines and that’s what draws me to his page; the unpredictable serendipity of it all. In an average week, you’ll find notes and photos of him rubbing shoulders with perfumery greats without the pizzazz you might expect, along with a good number of solid reviews which can be one liners or paragraphs of comment. Always pithy and to the point though.
Verdict: Sensible scent insider with the gravitas not to shout about it nor about himself.
Victoria Frovlova is a superb writer, commentator, critic and trained perfumer (Sophia Grojsman was her mentor and she trained at IFF) who pens the long-running and award-winning blog Bois de Jasmine. Living in Belgium, she is a frequent contributor on perfume to the FT Weekend, New York Times and the Huff Post.
Victoria has an acute and astute perception of all that stimulates our senses. Well before social media decided we need to be present up close and personal to make our mark, Victoria was doing just that on her blog – putting herself out there for her community and replying thoughtfully and with grace to each comment on her posts. Ditto, here on her Instagram account. Victoria’s account, like that of Persolaise, blurs the boundaries between art, travel, literature, perfume and glimpses into her life. I find I get immersed in both her blog and IG feed and forget time as I wander in and out of various aesthetic sides of life.
Verdict: A deceptively quiet and naturally photographed and penned IG account. One for perfume lovers with soul and time to ponder more than all things fragrant.
I don’t know much about Sarah, but think she lives somewhere in the UK’s ‘home counties’ near London and has a regular day job. Sarah’s brief Instagram bio says ‘Family. Perfume. Skincare. Dogs. Sky. Places. Shopaholic’. And that is what you get, but on speed.
Sarah is a prolific Instagrammer and very gracious commenter too, as she’s popped up on Parfums C’s account to lend support. Sarah gives succinct and sound comments on the perfumes she’s chosen to wear each day which range from cheap and cheerful to top end fine fragrances.
She must have an enormous amount of storage as her portfolio of perfumes is vast. Sarah also demonstrates make-up looks so is an all-rounder on beauty. However you feel that day and whatever the season, Sarah has a suggestion and comment to make on latest and archived fumes. She is quite a fumehead and everyone I follow seems to follow her.
Verdict: A great place for a daily perfume tip and choice – make-up too.
The Plum Girl is a mine of perfume reviews, solidly churned out from the very active critical keyboard of Elena, whom I think lives in Croatia. Although I have read Patrick Suskind’s ‘Perfume’, I didn’t recall the plum girl, who Elena says was protagonist Grenouille’s initial muse for his obsession to create “the perfume of the perfumes”.
The Plum Girl runs one of the top perfume blogs (one of the top 5 in 2018 apparently) with first-rate detailed reviews that come from the heart giving no-nonsense insights that ignore marketing department fluff. Elena’s ‘olfactory impressions’ don’t skimp on verbiage and you get a full low-down on how a fragrance develops, including all relevant notes. Elena is also very generous in commenting on other’s accounts.
Verdict: The account to go to for perfume community and honest reviews.
The Pro Perfumers
Created by perfume aficionado Victor Wong in 2013 in Toronto, the Zoologist brand is inspired by animals dead and alive, from T-Rex to bats and everything in between. Wong works with named known noses to create idiosyncratic scents that ‘don’t harm animals’ as they use synthetic recreations when secretions of animal origin are needed! Not to be confused with Christophe Laudamiel’s Zoo label, Zoologist has a zany Instagram account that is bizarre and fun to browse. It makes a change from the norm in perfumery marketing and imagery and for that reason alone, I include it. Simply said, it stands out. Just read the comment attached to the image of the T-Rex being excavated and you’ll see what I mean.
Verdict: Idiosyncratic visuals and verbiage. Makes a change!
Known, rightly or wrongly, as a maverick perfumer in an otherwise commercialised almost pedestrian scent industry, Christophe Laudamiel is a generous Instagrammer. By that I mean that he does what few in his industry do – share, educate, provoke, and just do their own darn thing forgetting the eye candy and pressures of posting. He is known as much these days for his air sculpture and cross over to the art scene as his perfumery, whether his own Zoo label or as a hired hand for the big brand names.
What I love about his Instagram account is its spontaneity. You never know what might land on the feed and whatever it is, whether Christophe showering, air sculpting or doing a deep dive on the use of a particular perfumery material, it’s worth more than a mere ‘like’ as you pass on down the stream. His is a voice worth taking notice of. He looks more punk than perfumer, and even if the cynic in you says that’s all part of his personal professional branding, you know he’s a rare and generous figure in the perfumery industry. Who else would go out of his way to lecture and create scents with students for free? But that’s what Laudamiel did for the University of the Arts, Berlin once. See the interview with Laudamiel on Fragrantica for more on his unconventional way of working.
Perfume H London is the new home of Lyn Harris of Miller Harris fame. What do you do when you’re at the top of your game? You leave the day job business to tick along with its empire of staff and branch out on something new. In Harris’s case, this was opening a bespoke, more intimate perfumery affair in Marylebone, her London stomping ground.
Having started out in 2000, Lyn has something to say, quietly, about the trade. Her Instagram account is curated well and does a nice mix of behind the scenes, pertinent insights into her craft, personal flotsam and jetsam and lifestyle eye candy. It’s a serene space to hang out in and ‘like’ posts and to indulge in some understated minimalism in a world still full of OTT fragrance imagery and marketing. Kind of Japanese or Scandi less is more meets perfumer. There’s not much talk going on here but I love it for its aspirational feel.
Verdict: Serene, minimalist perfumery space you’d love to be in rather than on that station platform commuting.
The Perfumery Trainer
Karen Gilbert is a tour de force in perfumery training, breaking down the smoke and mirrors that lie between newbie indie perfumers and the monolithic fragrance industry. She has published ‘Perfume, the Art and Craft of Fragrance’ and her regular blog posts on her website provide a bevvy of resources and advice for those new to the industry. Karen has worked as an evaluator for industry and chemical giant IFF as well as an in-house trainer for Neals’ Yard, the company that pioneered naturals in personal care in the UK in the early 1980s. She has a wealth of expertise and insights to pass on.
Working in the UK but reaching and teaching her audience worldwide through a series of online courses and live classes, Karen has built up a loyal following and impressive alumni. Perfumers who’ve gone through her training and are now getting noticed in the perfumery world include Walden and Kingdom Scotland. Her Instagram account is a veritable source of tips and advice for newbie perfumers whether aiming to make it big, or DIY scents at home. She also loves to add anecdotes on the art of living and relaxing so you’ll find posts on her New Forest home and its landscape along with healthy food and drink tips. Karen’s world is definitely one to seek out if you’re interested in making your own perfume.
Verdict: The new perfumer’s go-to for easy, non-nonsense professional advice.