I can hardly believe it, but Christopher Street is already celebrating its first anniversary. Drawing from inspiration found during adventures in New York City’s West Village (and a wealth of historic documentation), the fragrance aimed to not only challenge the ways we think about and create scent, but also capture the ineffable beauty that has called out to generations of artists and dissidents. And now, its story has become a part of so many others’ lives, stretching far beyond the confines of its physical location, moving out of the bottle and into the street. Your stories are now a part of its story. Thank you to everyone who has embraced Christopher Street; you’ve truly made the past year one to remember. To celebrate this big milestone and the tremendous success of this first year, I am pleased to offer a discount of 15% on all orders of Christopher Street placed between now and February 15 (The coupon code can be found below). But first, here are just a few of the highlights from year one.
A Commitment to Transparent Storytelling
The story of Christopher Street began with a commitment to open and honest discussion about the Charenton Macerations creative process. Even before the launch, my goal was to open a window into the ways in which I work with fragrance, and show why I love this work so much. After years of designing scents restricted by the limited vision of “paint by numbers” market testing, producing flat perfumes commissioned by clients with a fear to wade into unknown olfactive waters, I wanted to demonstrate that if we instead navigate towards creation guided by deep and meaningful storytelling, it can and will always form a stronger connection with wearers than the unimaginative cut and paste approach. This commitment began with offering complete transparency about the design process of Christopher Street, something I continue to do today here on the blog, as well as through ongoing discussions on social media sites. From access to the original fragrance brief to interviews with collaborators, the story of Christopher Street is (and always will be) an open book. This commitment to transparent storytelling is the true heart behind Charenton Macerations’ mission of crafting “fragrances that make a statement.”
Ingredient Stories Tied Directly to the Source
Christopher Street is a fragrance story built on layers: layers of history, layers of memory, and of course, layers of ingredients. And as I’ve shown over the past year, each of these ingredients tie directly back to stories sourced from the street. From the heart of clove to the leather wrapping (and everything in between), every facet of the scent is meant to show yet another side of the beauty of Christopher Street. Whether talking about tobacco farming nuns or riotous Village rebels, the fragrance of Christopher Street encapsulates 400 years of life in New York City. And sharing these stories (both past and present) has been one of my favorite parts of the past year. I look forward to continuing to share more of these stories over the coming months. Up next: the story behind the inspiration for “Dance on Skin.”
Making a Statement on Gender Bias
Perhaps the biggest story of the past year has been the connection between Christopher Street and my desire to draw attention to the antiquated belief that fragrance is inherently gendered. It’s a sad fact, but people in the mainstream world still believe that certain scents are only for men and others are only for women. These same people fear that straying from these self-imposed restrictions will somehow call into question their masculinity or femininity. Just look at the case study of Jay-Z’s latest fragrance for proof. Who knew perfume possessed so much power?
The idea that flowers are for girls and woods are for boys is a lie. “Real” men can and do wear flowers, just as “real” women can flock to the beauty of fougères. Associations tied to fragrance vary widely from culture to culture, and from person to person. “You smell like a girl” has no more meaning than “you smell gay” (or straight or bi or queer or…). Yes, these words can hurt, but they come from a place of insecurity. The only questions you should be asking yourself when you wear fragrance are “Do I like how its smells on me?”,”Does it work with my body chemistry?”, and “Do I like how I feel when I wear it?”. To quote Morcheeba, “Be Yourself.” As fashion history has shown us, sometimes defying these norms… sometimes having the audacity to be different produces moments of true creative beauty.
In 1969, the people of the West Village stood up to mainstream society and its imposed notions of gender and sexual “normality” during the Stonewall Riots on Christopher Street. Look how far we’ve come since then. Now, in 2014, let’s continue to follow their lead, and make this a year of celebrating olfactive liberation. It’s your body. You make the rules.
Happy Anniversary Christopher Street
Thank you again to everyone who has helped make the first year of Christopher Street so spectacular. The overwhelmingly positive response has been nothing short of amazing. In honor of this anniversary and the success of the first year, please enjoy 15% off all orders of Christopher Street placed between now and February 15th. Just use the code CSYEARONE on the cart page.
I’m truly looking forward to the next year here at Charenton Macerations, which will include the continuation of the ingredient stories of Christopher Street, a move into retail shops and international shipping, and most excitingly, the launch of two new Charenton Macerations fragrance stories. I cannot wait to share them with you. Thank you again.