TH_PORTRAIT

Timothy Han: The story behind scent

18.07.2017 | Beauty | BY:

Described as an ‘olfactory storyteller’, Timothy Han is flipping the fragrance landscape on its head with his innovative approach to scent through his brand TH/E Parfum. By taking inspiration from a multitude of sources, such as literature, he is adept at never limiting himself to widely perceived ‘norms’ of practice. Most recently, Han has been combining fragrance with music and VR, to create an entirely new sensory experience. This week, he will appear in residency at Somerset House, as part of their Perfume Lab series. We caught up with the man himself to discover the process behind the genius…

You create perfumes that have a life of their own – what was your journey into this world?
My journey into the world of fragrance was rather accidental. I wouldn’t say there was any specific moment that led to where I am today – rather a haphazard series of events that led from one thing to another. It was everything from my time working with a fledgling John Galliano and his love of scented candles to launching my own candle brand; a chance and somewhat amusing encounter with Francis Kurkdijan who planted the idea in my head and a drink with my friend Paul Tvaroh who started making drinkable perfumes many, many years ago. I was also very lucky to have the support of Caroline Burstein who was the creative director of Browns at the time, and she promised that if I made perfume that Browns would help launch the brand. Who could say no to that?

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Why was creating scent built through journey important to you?
One of the things I learned at Galliano was the importance of storytelling. At a time when most designers were just sending models down catwalks he was creating theatre. The models were acting out characters from a story he imagined. They entered by driving vintage cars, John’s interpretation of the catwalk was filled with props like writing desks, wardrobes and beds…he even had ancillary actors on the stage who were dressed in costume and helped to round out the story that he was trying to tell. It was his attention to and ability to create a journey for both the audience and the models which I could see created a much richer and engaging experience than what anybody else was doing that inspired me.

How do you see the relationship between literature and perfume, and who inspires the scents?
I never liked it when a perfumer created a perfume based on something so personal to themselves that the person wearing the perfume had no connection to. I like the idea that with literary inspirations you may have read the book and you certainly can read the book on which the perfume is based so that immediately you have a basis for connection. That way you can agree or disagree with my interpretation and we can at least begin to build a dialogue.

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What’s your favourite creation so far?
That’s like asking a parent which their favourite child is…but if I had to answer I would say my first fragrance ‘She Came to Stay’ for no other reason than that is what set me on this wonderful ride.

And were there particular creations that surprised you?
Certainly…but I haven’t released them. And for those who do get to experience them it will only be fleeting, during secret underground performances (at least until our album is released next year) of our collective Miro Shot that fuses music, fragrance and virtual reality to create a new kind of immersive reality concert experience.

What are your earliest memories of scent?
At the risk of sounding corny…walking through a pine forest in winter.

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How do you think people’s relationship with scent changes as they mature?
I’m not sure that that is so easy to answer – as I think it comes down to the person. While generally speaking (and baring any disabilities) we all have have a sense of smell like we all have eyes to see. But how many people look up in this world or are even remotely aware of half of what their eyes take in at any one time. It’s the same with our sense of smell – for our relationship with smell to change we need to focus on it and be aware of all that it is taking in.

How has the landscape changed? What is it that makes a scent ‘modern’?
People are definitely becoming more aware of fragrance and in particular niche brands. More people are seeking out unique fragrances which reflect their personality and allow them to stand apart from all the masses wearing big brand perfumes. As for what makes a scent modern – it’s the way in which the fragrances are combined and the use of ingredients. For example: you are seeing a lot more fragrances which evoke tar and charcoal now than previously.

What are you looking forward to with your residency at Somerset House?
I’m looking forward to two things. Firstly the lab we are using is being kindly provided by Givaudan and they have a number of proprietary fragrance notes which they will be providing us and which I have never had a chance to smell before. Secondly I will be working alongside my friend Roman Rappak where we will be tying fragrance notes to musical notes. Up until now we have only done this in the privacy of our own workspace so it will be fun to hear people’s feedback as we present variations of different musical notes against a specific fragrance note.

‘Perfume Lab Residencies: Timothy Han’ takes place on Sunday 23 July, 2017. See https://www.somersethouse.org.uk for booking information.

Becky Smith is the Creative Director for Timothy Han; photography throughout by George Harvey; produced by Twin Studio.

Timothyhanedition.com

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FFT

In the name of (literary) love: immortality auction

03.11.2016 | Culture , Literature | BY:

Calling all literature lovers: the charity, Freedom from Torture is offering the chance for your name (or that of a loved one) to be immortalised by being named as a character in an upcoming book by a best-selling author.

This year sees literary leaders joining together to raise funds for this worthy cause that is dedicated in helping the treatment and support of torture survivors who seek refuge in the UK.  Authors involved include: Michael Morpurgo, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Tracy Chevalier, Esther Freud, Louis de Bernieres, Rose Tremain, William Boyd, Linda Grant, Chris Cleave, Eleanor Catton, Jonathan Coe, Maggie O’Farrell, Philip Pullman and Booker Prize winner Ian McEwan.

“This auction offers the genuine opportunity of an afterlife. More importantly, bidding in the Freedom from Torture auction will help support a crucial and noble cause. The rehabilitation of torture survivors cannot be accomplished without expertise, compassion, time – and your money.” said author Ian McEwan.

The online auction is running till the 16th November  on www.immortalityauction.org. For all of those in London, there is also a live auction taking place on the 17th November at Sixty One Whitehall, hosted by comedian and author Alexei Sayle.

To bid visit: www.immortalityauction.org www.freedomfromtorture.org

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DD1

Darling Days, A Memoir by iO Tillett Wright

12.10.2016 | Literature | BY:

iO Tillett Wright has many strings to his bow; the activist, speaker, writer, photographer, host and now author has proven himself to be a creative that not only pushes the boundaries, but well and truly breaks them – rejecting gender norms, and speaking out about it.

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Brought up in the vibrancy of eighties downtown New York, Wright was at the intersection of punk, poverty, heroin, and art. His life also featured his creative showgirl, and all round “erratic glamazon” of a mother, Rhonna. It is no surprise then, that Wright’s debut book, Darling Days, A Memoir, is a culmination of the rebellion and love that he was exposed to and felt from an early age. At the heart of the book, it reveals the relationship between this formidable mother and a tearaway kid, sharing the bond they have which was defined by freedom and control, excess and sacrifice.

Recently released with Harper Collins, this debut book has predictably received critical acclaim. Buy your copy harpercollins.com

Darlingdays.com

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Pamflet x Twin: Spring Reviews

05.06.2015 | Literature | BY:

When it comes to column inches and tabloid notoriety the Kardashians have got nothing on the Mitford sisters. These charismatic socialites dominated the headlines of the ’20s and ’30s with their exploits, and perhaps the most controversial and complex of the siblings was Diana, hailed, incredibly, as both the most beautiful and the most hated woman of her day. After a spectacular launch into society as the teenage debutante who bagged the dashing and fabulously wealthy Bryan Guinness, she scandalised her set by becoming the mistress of Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists. It’s a story that has been told countless times from every possible angle, including in Diana’s own memoir, The Pursuit of Laughter, but the story can stand another retelling because the woman at the heart of it remains an enigma, her actions impossible to fathom.

In Mrs Guinness: The Rise and Fall of Diana Mitford, the Thirties Socialite (The History Press, £17.99), Lyndsy Spence paints a compelling portrait of a woman with the capacity for passionate love and loyalty, but who was equally capable of closing her mind to the nastier implications of such deep devotion. Through unpublished letters and diaries she goes back through Diana’s childhood, teenage years and first marriage in an effort to understand how she became the woman she did. The composite portrait that she has pieced together may be as close as we will ever get to understanding the mystery that is Diana Mitford.

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes – And Other Lessons from the Crematorium (Canongate, £12.99) is a highly unusual memoir by mortician Caitlin Doughty who’s passionate about demystifying death. She is a twentysomething woman with an impeccable fringe who has got funeral ash under her nails and doesn’t mind explaining how it got there. Smoke is her manifesto for how to live – and die – better, a memoir of her own coming-to-terms-with mortality and a deconstruction of the mostly quite appalling death industry. Caitlin, with her no-nonsense style and absolute single-mindedness plus a healthy dose of goth sensibility, bravely shows that death is nothing to be afraid of.

The Green Road (Jonathan Cape, £16.99) is a return to form for 2007 Booker winner Anne Enright who was named Ireland’s first fiction laureate in January. Set in pre-recession Ireland where there’s abundant optimism and bundles of euros, Enright is free to explore the idea of family without having to negotiate the country’s current economic doldrums.

Rosaleen Madigan wants to sell up her homestead and split the money between her grown-up children: two sons, two daughters. The road of the title leads the characters back home for Christmas to hear about their mother’s plans. It’s also a reference to how they have each escaped, whether to Toronto, or Timbuktu, or just up the road to Dublin. This is a familiar Irish narrative where siblings have fled the homeland for better lives and opportunities, but each of their homecomings will chime with readers. Familial disappointments, anxieties, failures, rivalries and questions around belonging are all delicately handled and Enright’s writing has an easy poetry, ‘Beauty, in glimpses and flashes, that is what the soul required. That was the drop of water on the tongue.’

Glossy book of the month: In Icons of Women’s Style (Laurence King, £19.95), Josh Sims introduces the essential pieces that make up the clothing canon. An essay accompanied by some fine fashion photography explains why each those perennial classics – including capri pants, A-line dresses, Breton tops – are always in style.

Anna-Marie Fitzgerald and Phoebe Frangoul are the co-editors and co-founders of the London grrrl-zine and literary salon Pamflet. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @Pamflet. 

Images from Icons of Women’s Style

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Persephone-Books

The Book List

12.04.2012 | Blog , Culture , Thoughts | BY:

Publisher and bookshop Persephone Books has a strict remit; female writers – mostly neglected ones – from the early Twentieth Century.

In 1983 Persephone founder Nicola Beauman wrote A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-39. Sixteen years later, many of the writers she had discussed were still out of print, so she decided to do something about it. In 1999 Persephone was born and thirteen years on and Beauman hasn’t wavered in her mission to retell old stories to new audiences.

With 96 books to choose from, Twin asks Persephone for their recommendations…

A book for Spring…
We think our upcoming titles Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins, and Virginia Woolf’s posthumously edited A Writer’s Diary will make great Spring reads – both out on the 19 April.

A book to make you laugh
Without doubt Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – No. 21 -. This is a hilarious fairy-tale account of a dowdy governess’ accidental encounter with a glamorous night club singer. Although those with a dryer sense of humour might prefer Julia Strachey’s short novel, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.

A book to make you cry
You’d have to have heart of stone not to cry at Still Missing – a book you wont be able to put down. William: An Englishman – No. 1 – is also extremely emotional, as it brings home the terrible human cost of the First World War through the fate of one very ordinary English couple.

A book that will shock you…
Margarita Laski’s To Bed With Grand Music – No. 86 – follows the protagonist, Deborah, as she sleeps her way round London, completely debunking the cosy myth of women patiently keeping the home fires burning while their husbands were fighting on the front line.

A book about style…
High Wages by Dorothy Whipple – No. 85 – is about a young woman who sets up her own dress shop in a northern town around the time of the First World War.

It includes some really interesting details about fashion and style in the period, and explores different women’s responses to the opening up of different opportunities both in terms of how they can dress and how they can make their mark on the world.

A book for living in the city…
Farewell Leicester Square
by Betty Miller – No. 14 – or Helen Ashton’s Bricks and Mortar – No. 49 – are great books about London in the first half of the twentieth century.

A book to expand your mind…
Round About a Pound a Week – No. 79 – and the suffragette novel No Surrender – No.94 -both explore different but equally important aspects of women’s lives before the First World War.

A book you won’t be able to put down…
Still Missing  – No. 88 – by Beth Gutcheon is literally impossible to put down. It is a beautifully written and extremely tense novel about a little boy who goes missing from his Boston home. We both cried when we read it. A lot.

persephonebooks.co.uk

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