Business of fashion

Perfumer H – what Lyn Harris did next

Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1

Just what has Lyn Harris been doing with her time for the past two years? Since stepping aside from Miller Harris, the brand she founded in 2000, she has been reacquainting herself with her deepest loves – the British seasons, slow craft and creative collaboration – and cooking up a unique personal venture.

The sweet-smelling fruits of her labour have now been unveiled, revealing a reaction to the mass-market business of beauty that has personal resonance to her and hopefully to her customers. Perfumer H, a shop and working laboratory is a retail concept that puts creation and craft at the heart of the perfume-buying experience.

Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1

The look and feel of the Marylebone atelier is key, housed in a discreet corner shop with tinted windows, and elegantly fitted out by interiors alchemists Retrouvius. The décor, a mix of bespoke textile panels, handsome cabinets, reclaimed shelving and mid-century furniture complements the warm tones of the hand-blown glass vessels that hold Perfumer H fragrances and candles. And at the back of the store is the trump card. Here is a real working lab where the perfumes are made up in front of you, surrounded by apothecary bottles stored in original teak shelving (salvaged rather appropriately, from a school science lab). It’s all very experiential, yet very relaxed.
Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1
Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1

And so to the fragrances. The concept is three-tiered, but ultimately these are all high quality perfumes based around Harris’ authentic passion and respect for her beloved British countryside. Authentic may have become a dirty word, but it imbues everything here. Harris is fanatical about slowing the consumption cycle, offering an antidote to mass-produced perfumes. “We’ve got anything and everything now, there’s an overkill,” says the perfumer, who grew up in Yorkshire but took herself to Paris and then Grasse to learn her craft. The comforting, uplifting scents are a reminder of Harris’ childhood, much of it spent in Scotland with her grandparents. Their jam making, bread baking and vegetable growing made a lasting impression on her.

Starting at £195 there are the entry-point Season Edition fragrances in richly-coloured glass bottles which you can have engraved with initials if you so wish. These are the ‘ready to wear’ collections of five scents (one to represent each of the five fragrance families – citrus, floral, wood, fern and oriental) that are updated twice a year. I’ve been wearing Cologne for the last couple of weeks; a not-too-sharp citrus softened with a twist of asparagus that’s perfect for everyday. Each 100ml bottle is sold with a funnel and two 10ml refillable travel sprays and they’re so popular they’re selling out already.

Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1
Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1

Then there are the Laboratory Editions, the library of other fragrances that Harris has spent two years developing, such as the many scents based around different varieties of rose. These cost from £250, or if you fall particularly hard for one of them you can pay £2000 and buy the formula outright, meaning it will be yours alone and no-one else can have it.

The candles are another carefully considered offering. Five varieties hand poured into the same hand-blown glass holders with evocative names that conjure up cosy autumnal evenings – Ivy, Dandelion, Smoke, Fern and Marmalade. These cost £95 and like everything else can be personalised with initials.

Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1
Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1

And for the ultimate personal indulgence (starting at £15,000), there’s the bespoke service. This sounds a bit like a therapy session where the pragmatic, Margiela-wearing Harris teases out your innermost values and desires and translates them into a unique perfume of your very own. It’s the service that she has offered to private clients for many years (It’s how Miller Harris’ bestselling L’Air de Rien came about, originally a bespoke order for Jane Birkin) and was the trigger for Perfumer H. Harris compares it to a Savile Row-type experience, “it’s all about how it’s composed, like a well tailored jacket”.

Lyn Harris Perfumer H 106a Crawford Street London W1

But what’s so nice about the overall Perfumer H concept is the harmony of the smells with the visuals and the element of thoughtful craft. The collaboration process with likeminded artisans is something Harris relishes. “I work closely with our glass blower Michael Ruh and it’s so different working with an individual. He can only do eight bottles a day; it’s a craft in itself. You don’t get that anymore.”

And while most of the appeal comes from the scents, (Harris has a knack of creating modern versions of natural fragrances, a lot of them are unisex), I can’t deny that the stealth factor is also a plus. It’s not shouty, it’s not cheap and it’s made by hand in limited quantities. Because who doesn’t like to feel they have something no one else has?

Visit PERFUMER H at 106a Crawford Street, W1.

WORDS AND IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

Introducing Jigsaw A-Line

JIGSAW AW15 Sheepskin Jacket £495 Soft Stretch Polo Neck Sweater £129 Richmond Indigo Skinny Jeans £79

How great is it to see the British high street embracing style conscious ‘mid century modern’ women with well made, classic cuts that have contemporary flair? Whistles has successfully led the charge here for a while, M&S is doing so much better and Jigsaw is the latest to up its game.

As Lisa Armstrong pointed out in The Telegraph, Jigsaw was amazing in the 90s but then it lost its mojo. I remember the John Pawson-designed store and Juergen Teller campaigns and it was even successful enough to have snooty PRs who could afford to ignore you if your publication wasn’t cool enough for them.

However it’s not entirely Jigsaw’s fault that things slipped. The market changed as we entered the decade of Tom Ford’s Gucci, Juicy Couture, Victoria Beckham and Britney. Grungy minimalism just wasn’t cool in the 00s and I think they decided to grow up with their customer which resulted in too much sensible work wear and an over-abundance of pastel knits. Fast forward a little and Top Shop Unique, Zara and Cos have stepped forward to fill the Jigsaw-shaped hole for the 40+ market.

Props to the brand for taking risks again. Its store in Duke Street may be slightly off the beaten track but it’s making a statement in its bid for the aspirational Mayfair customer. And the product in there looks wonderful, from the menswear it launched three years ago to the current AW15 collection (below)…

2 JIGSAW AW15 Double Faced Wrap Coat £298 Flannel Wrap Jacket £179 Silk Cotton Polo Neck Sweater £79 Flannel Tailored Joggers £110 Phoebe Tassel Loafer £149
JIGSAW AW15 Luxury Wrap Coat £350
JIGSAW AW15 melange knit tabard £129 cashmere cloud sweater £98 wool flannel slouch trousers £120 leather trainers £98
JIGSAW AW15 Melange Knit Back Coat £298 Soft Boucle Sweater £98 White Cotton Shirt £79 Wool Herrinbone Track Pants £79 Leather Trainers £98

This week sees the latest initiative from Jigsaw, a collection called A-Line (below). Arriving in 6 stores (and online), Jigsaw A-Line is a big step up from mainline Jigsaw with prices around the £300 mark for trousers and £700 for coats. These are designed as timeless ‘artisan-inspired’ pieces with UK and Italy-sourced fabrics to justify the prices. I’m guessing they expect to be positioned alongside the likes of Joseph and Nicole Farhi. The oversized, loosely-tailored coats (£695) are my winners, along with the culottes (£295), chunky knits (£295) and a beautiful tulip-print silk charmeuse top (£295). Buy it HERE.

Jigsaw A-Line AW15 Left Sorrel Stretch Double Face Wool Top £350 Willow Fine Gauge Cashmere Roll Neck £150 Bess Bi Colour Viscose Drape Culottes £395 Block Heel Sandal £249
A-Line by Jigsaw AW15
A-Line by Jigsaw AW15
A-Line by Jigsaw AW15

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Jigsaw


Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…

Daphne hezard wearing Kéji

New name on my radar: Kéji Denim. I discovered this East London-based brand on Monocle’s Daphné Hézard when I bumped into her at Margaret Howell during LFW. Five minutes later she was mobbed by street style photographers snapping this fine ensemble outside the show. Founded by Katie Green (ex LOVE magazine and Net-a-Porter), Kéji Denim is the antidote to skinny jean ubiquity offering up rigid Japanese denim, crafted in Hong Kong.


Vintage Swatch watch
My Swatch obsession continues to be stoked with the news that Sotheby’s has a major Swatch sale coming up. On November 10th, it will be selling a single lot of 4000 items including 1000 early 80s Swatch watches, offered by former Swatch designers, Marlyse Schmid and Bernard Muller. As well as watches there will be prototypes, sketches and technical drawings. See more at


The Store Lexington Street

Alex Eagle’s excellent The Store concept is coming to the Brewer Street Car Park. The Store is the epitome of the perfect concept store, with a studied mix of classic and unknown brands, plus books and lifestyle bits that make you want to stay for hours examining everything. Having first opened at Soho House Berlin, Eagle has been busy refining and rolling out her vision globally. The Store Soho opens early next year.


Pat McGrath launches brand with gold pigment 001

Are we about to see Pat McGrath, The brand? As one of the most influential makeup artists in the industry, she is also responsible for global creative design direction of makeup at Proctor & Gamble. But last week saw glimpses of her first own-name product, a limited edition golden pigment to launch the mysterious ‘Pat McGrath Labs‘. According to The Telegraph it will be available ‘from October’.

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

Top 5 styling moments from Gucci SS16

Gucci ss16 by Kevin Tachman for Vogue

When fashion editors go ga-ga at a re-see, you know a brand has struck commercial gold. Example: Gucci’s SS16 collection, which ticks every accessory box you can think of, giving you umpteen options to add your own imprint to Alessandro Michele’s lavish vision.

Here are my top 5 styling takeaways…

Michele set the scene last season with his ornate finger jewels and has firmly cemented this as an ongoing Gucci trope. Which makes absolute sense for the Gucci accessory coffers; why buy one ring when you can have a whole fistful of them? Even better, why not layer them over your equally ornate gloves? Only at Gucci…
Gucci ss16 rings and gloves
Gucci ss16 by Kevin Tachman for Vogue rings and gloves

Last seen clinging to Carrie Bradshaw’s lapel, the corsage has migrated to the throat, disco-fied with sequins and sparkle rather than whimsical frou-frou. Not sure how this translates to everyday, but it will most certainly be cropping up in magazine editorials and on the street style brigade…
Gucci ss16 corsage
Gucci ss16 corsage

You know how I feel about mules but fighting this is futile. And weirdly I rather like the Michele take on a mule – solid-heeled, adorned with decadent hand-painted snakes and leather leaves, plus a toile de jouy lining. I would swap the tea-coloured pop socks for a chunky grey cashmere ankle sock…
Gucci mules ss16 - with lavish snake embellishment
Gucci ss16 pop socks and mules
gucci ss16 snake embellished mule

Super-sized heirloom earrings look strangely appropriate when colour-matched to a demure, bow-necked dress or paired with a Bowie-esque lamé suit and studious glasses …
Gucci jumbo earrings and glasses
Gucci ss16 earrings

About that eyewear. It was refreshing to see Gucci focussing on glasses rather than sunglasses (and canny too, hey glasses are a major accessory category remember?). And the standouts were definitely the oversized bejewelled variety, especially when accompanying the most twinkly of lurex knits or a straight-out-of-Grey-Gardens coat…
Gucci ss16 glasses
Gucci glasses ss16

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Kevin Tachman for Vogue; Vogue Runway; GPS Radar; Gucci/Instagram