Saturday, November 29, 2008
Jo Malone: The Martha Stewart of Fragrance?
Has anyone received the Jo Malone Holiday 2008 catalog? For some time I’ve been thinking that Jo Malone’s consumer demographic must be upper middle class (and above) soccer Mom’s. When I received JM’s Holiday 2008 catalog I felt as if I were flipping through the pages of a Martha Stewart magazine or Martha’s book Entertaining. Home décor and domestic bliss are strange associations for fragrance because 99.9% of the time fragrance is marketed with sex or beauty. It’s difficult for me to recall a perfume advertisement that doesn’t allude to sex, love or the images of idealized beauties be they male or female. Jo Malone’s catalog doesn’t even depict people; all of the images are of beautiful rooms, dinner settings, fireplace mantels and marble bathrooms. I wonder what this means, if anything, about those devoted to Jo Malone fragrances?
For me, the downside of JM fragrances is their longevity. I haven’t come across a single JM fragrance that sticks around a long time. I do love the scent of several JM’s, and own many bottles, but I’m pretty disappointed when the scent disappears after 2 hours. Jo Malone isn’t as fleeting as L’Artisan, I find most JM’s last about 2 hours, maybe, just maybe, 3 hours, if I use moisturizer first and apply liberally. Aside from the longevity issue, I genuinely love Pomegranate Noir, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Nutmeg & Ginger, Black Vetyver Café, Red Roses, Wild Fig & Cassis and French Lime Blossom. After creating this list of JM’s that I love I realize I certainly do have a good number from this line.
Just about all JM fragrances are linear and there are several soliflores. I would describe the entire JM line as smelling pure, simple, uncomplicated, very realistic to natural aromas and clean. As I describe JM fragrances I notice a similarity with Annick Goutal. I also have a large number of Annick Goutal fragrances (even more than Jo Malone) so I would guess that those who love Goutal might also enjoy Jo Malone.
When I wear Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir during the December Holidays, I’m usually entertaining at my house, painstakingly preparing the menu and dinner place settings. When I wear French Lime Blossom during the summer, you might find me meeting my Mom for Afternoon Tea at The Four Seasons hotel. When I wear Red Roses, you might find me with my hair done (for a change!) with heels and a dress at a friends wedding. When I wear Wild Fig & Cassis you might find me having lunch at the neighbors’ house, as my neighbor introduces me to her newest grandchild.
Why am I listing typical instances of when I can be found wearing Jo Malone fragrances? I guess because these occasions seem to fit the ideal created by Jo Malone’s advertising, which very much reminds me of Martha Stewart’s imagined domestic bliss. I can’t figure out if its Jo Malone’s advertising which impacts how I feel when I wear these fragrances or if it’s the scents themselves which enhance a mood of a perfect domestic setting.
If Martha Stewart is anything like the domestic goddess I imagine her to be, I would wager she wears Jo Malone fragrances (if not, perhaps Annick Goutal).