Tag Archives: Ralph Lauren

The Weekend Getaway

A quick weekend getaway, while exciting because it breaks the routine, should also have some comforting elements as well. On a recent jump down to Philadelphia, that’s exactly what I had in mind. And while TSA restrictions didn’t apply, I’ve gotten so used to packing that way, all of my grooming necessities were airline appropriate. Continue reading

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Meet Harry Slatkin

Harry Slatkin presented The Living Legend Award by Allure Magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells

Harry Slatkin presented Living Legend Award by Allure Magazine Editor-in-Chief Linda Wells (c) 2009 Photo Baude

Harry Slatkin is a name I’ve come to associate with affordable home fragrance options that make my home smell delightful. I know when I walk into Bath & Body Works, the money I hand over for the products with his name on it won’t let me down. Apparently I’m not alone in recognizing his special gift. The past Thursday, the American Society of Perfumers honored Mr. Slatkin with the coveted Living Legend Award. This prestigious award honors a person “who has distinguished him or herself over the years with their body of creative work, their contribution to the fragrance industry and also their contribution to society.” Past honorees include Oscar de la Renta, Gianni Versace, Oleg Cassini, Karyn Khoury and Estee Lauder.

That last part however, “their contribution to society” is another side of Mr. Slatkin I recently came to know as I was invited to join him, his wife Laura and his son and daughter as they rang the closing bell of the NASDAQ in honor of Autism month. Mr. Slatkin’s son, David, suffers from Autism.  Shortly after David was diagnosed, The Slatkin’s joined forces with Suzanne and Bob Wright as founding board members of Autism Speaks. Additionally, they have focused their efforts locally by founding the first public charter school dedicated to serving children with autism which opened in 2005, the New York Center for Autism (NYCA) Charter School. In the fall of 2008, NYCA opened the doors of the Autism Training Institute at Hunter College, a collaboration that aims to increase the number of qualified educators available to work in the New York City Public Schools.

That is quite a contribution to this growing epidemic that is diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls.

I was given another opportunity to get to know a more intimate side of Mr. Slatkin and am honored to share it here:

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
It has to do with what my parents wore when I was a child. My mother used Joy and Norell – Joy for special evenings and Norell for every day. Those fragrances are so unique to that moment in time that every so often when I’m in crowded elevator and I get a whiff of them I want to ask who is wearing Joy or Norell but I fear they might think I am a pervert! My father used Canoe and eau Sauvage. He died when I was 13 and I continued wearing it until my dear perfumer friend Christophe Laudemiel created a scent for me. And like the way I am with my familiar parental scents, my 9-year-old daughter loves to go into my closet when I am traveling and smell my suits. It’s like a big hug!

Since you initially went the finance route, working for Bear Stearns, how did your love for fragrance play itself out up until you decided to make the switch? Did you collect cologne, candles, etc?
When I was very young I was in charge of setting up all the home fragrances for my mother. She used Rigaud candles and floris lamp rings – I remember the rings the most as I would put several drops of oils on the rings and the heat from the lamps would make the scent rise. We varied the scents and my mother let me decide what scents to use throughout the house. It’s funny that I now have a home fragrance oil business today because we are the #1 dominant player in that area. As the years passed I used home fragrance and tried many different scents from shopping and my travels – I tend to change my personal scent less than my home scents – I like decoration and to me scent is about decorating your home.

Do you remember what you were doing when you had the epiphany that you were going to make a career shift to the fragrance industry?
Well, it first started out with a friend on Wall Street asking me to meet his fiancé, Vera Wang. At the end of our dinner she said Wall Street is great for her fiancé, but for me, I had too much creativity. She was right. That led me to do some soul searching, as I was a director at Bear Stearns and I was leaving to start my own business from nothing – but the biggest rewards are the biggest chances you take. Home fragrance was an accident that my wife and I were dabbling in when Rose Marie Bravo came to see us and launched us in Saks not on the home floor but in a large shop in Couture. Then WWD wrote a big article on us and then Ralph Lauren, Martha Stewart and Banana Republic all came to me to do their home fragrances and the rest is now home history!

Are there any scent families that are dearest to your heart?
I am asked this often and I have mood changes but I always seem to go back to the Orientals. I love that mood year round but I will always layer it depending on the season. This time of year I’ll mix it with fruits or something clean or fresh for summer, floral for fall and then holiday scents. I like to change often and I have about 14 different scents in my New York home mixing at all times.

Do you have a personal signature candle scent? If so, what is it?
I have two scents that I think have become iconic to Slatkin & Co – my bamboo and Jasmine and my holiday scents. No matter how many we make of either of these products, they sell out quickly and have for years. If they aren’t in stock, I get tough emails and letters demanding them!

Are there any plans for a Harry Slatkin personal fragrance collection?
Not yet, although, the success we’ve experienced on QVC has made people ask for other products. So it could happen in the future.

With all the success you’ve achieved, what does the Living Legend Award from the American Society of Perfumers mean?
As I was sitting and listening to my dear friend Linda Wells’s and all the kind words she had to say about me, it was her remarks about the difference I have made in the industry and that the name Slatkin will go down in history for home fragrance that made me very proud. I have made a mark and I did change the industry into a behemoth. People will never live without home scent and I am glad that I have made so many people happy who use my products. And thank God it’s a Living Legend award and not something in memoriam!

How would you finish this statement? “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
It’s funny but I have two distinct favorite memorable scents. Every time I kiss or hug my son and daughter I smell them. They have a unique scent that I would never share with anyone. That is my most precious olfactive enjoyment and wherever I am in the world I can smell them and it makes me smile. Some scents are not meant to share.

Thanks for sharing Mr. Slatkin. By the way, that Bamboo candle of yours is one of my favorite as well…

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Meet Stan Williams

stanwilliams

The year was 2006 and Stan Williams and I had lunch at the Bryant Park Hotel’s, Koi restaurant. At the time, he was the Fashion Director of Maxim magazine. I was a relatively young publicist clamoring for his time. As we were finishing up our chat, I blurted out, “you smell great, what are you wearing?” Stan replied, “Vetiver by Guerlain.” I remember being struck by how incredibly clean and masculine it smelt. I ran out the next day and bought my first bottle of this potion.

All of this rushed back into my head as the days led up to the party for his soon to be released book, The Find, held at Ports 1961’s Meatpacking boutique. Upon greeting him at the party, I reminded him of that day and told him I just had to interview him. He smiled and said “of course, I’ll be glad to.”

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?
My earliest recollections of fragrances were all those drug store brands that my dad used to wear: English Leather, Mennen, and all those Avon car-shaped-bottle aftershaves (in the Deep Woods fragrance) that he kept on his dresser. I also remember watching all the Hai Karate ads on TV and wanting a bottle of Jovan Sex Appeal when I was 11 or 12. I think I got it for Christmas as a joke.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?
Mandarina Duck for Men, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Aramis (really have a new-found love of it), Eau d’Hermes and L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Eau d’Absinthe.

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?
I never go looking, but I always stop and try things. I don’t really have a profile. I like old-fashioned smelling fragrances, but I also like bright ones. It just depends on how I feel. However, I can never go wrong with the YSL Rive Gauche……

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?
Yes…L’Artisan Parfeur, Hermes, and YSL Rive Gauche. I just love them, and I feel like they fit my personality.

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?
When I was obsessed with Ralph Lauren Polo in high school and my best friend’s step mom somehow nabbed the gigantic display bottle for me. I was in heaven!

What is your book all about and might there be applicable tips for fragrance shopping?
The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details is a book that takes people on a personal journey in learning how to find beauty in other people’s cast-offs. It’s filled with 500 original photographs of work by many of today’s tastemakers — GQ’s Jim Moore, Barneys New York’s Simon Doonan, decoupage artist John Derian, Real Simple’s Kristin Van Ogtrop, This Old House’s Alex Bandon — just to name a few — and hopefully empowers people to feel comfortable decorating their own environments with vintage and thrift.

When shopping for vintage and thrift, there’s also one thing that rings true for purchasing fragrances: only buy what you love. I say that when thrifting, don’t be over-obsessed with pedigree or brand. If you love it, it is good quality, and suits your purposes, then buy it. Same goes for fragrances. I think people sometimes buy a product because they are attracted to a brand name or a bottle. But bottom line, if the juice doesn’t work on you, then don’t wear it again. And try different options. Just like in thrift shopping, it may take a while to find what you’re looking for, you’ll eventually find the scent that suits you.

Thanks Stan. And for those who have no idea of the comedy associated with Hai Karate, enjoy:

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Meet Seth Plattner

sethplattner

I recently met Seth through a mutual friend who revealed he is a fragrance enthusiast. We met for a chat and I was immediately drawn to his energy. While he’s extremely busy (it took a minute to pin him down), once we met there was a gentle calmness to him that led me to ask him if he was a New Yorker. I wasn’t surprised when he said he wasn’t. He was even kind enough to introduce me to twittterberry.

I love this part of the fragrant conversation I’m conducting. It’s proof-positive we love our scents.

What’s your earliest recollection of fragrance?

It has to be my mother’s pefume, Clinique Elixir, which she has worn for as long as I can remember. To this day every time I smell her it reminds me of my childhood, but also it has come to be a smell I associate with power, because my mom was a single mother who raised me and my triplet brothers plus my older brother (you read that right) alone while also establishing herself as a successful business woman.

What fragrances are currently in your rotation?

During the colder months I wear Ralph Lauren Black (Polo Black) and in warmer months L’Homme by YSL

How often do you go out looking for something new? What specifically do you look for?

I would say rarely. I am pretty attached to my fragrances not only because I like them but also because I think it is important for a man to have a specific scent that. Scent is a very powerful motivator for emotions, whether it’s lust, love, pain, regret, etc.

Have you ever purchased the same fragrance more than once? If so, what was it and what about it made it worthy of a repeat buy?

I basically become attached to a scent for a number of years until I feel like I need a fragrance change that goes along with a change in my life — my scents are transitional with the transitions in my life. Like I said, I wore Abercrombie & Fitch, then Estee Lauder Pleasures and now Ralph Lauren Black and YSL L’Homme. All of them I have bought repeatedly. All of these scents have a similar sensibility — they aren’t over powering, or too musky or too spicey. They are a perfect balance of sweet and spice. That’s what I like.

How do you apply cologne?

I always do a spray on the front of my neck, back of my neck (for when people hug you) and then a spray below my belt because scent rises up and therefore hits the nose of whoever you are talking to (or so I’m told).

How would you finish this statement. “My most memorable fragrant moment would be…?

I guess it’s memorable only because it’s sad — I’d recently had my heart broken by a guy and I was walking down the street, caught a drift of the same cologne he wore and immediately started crying. It was sort of embarrassing but completely sincere. See what I mean about smell being a motivator of emotion?

Keep an eye on Seth. He writes great pieces for Out Magazines style blog, Stylist.

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