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  • We sat down with Christopher Sharpe, Copywriter at Jones Knowles Ritchie and one of the creatives helping Miller Harris with the design of our two new perfumes Scherzo and Tender.

    Q: What do you do and what does a typical day look like?
    A: I’m a writer in the Brand Voice department at Jones Knowles Ritchie. Which basically means I think about and then write for brands.

    Q: What inspired you to join the creative industry?
    A: Inspired might be romanticising my abilities a tad. Like all the best things in life, I stumbled into it. I’d dipped my toe into journalism, publishing and radio but hadn’t yet found the thing thatscratched every creative itch. Discovering a design agency would be the answer to that kind of blew my mind. One day you’re exploring an “un-get-at-able” island off the coast of Scotland, the
    next you’re designing an app, and, if you’re really lucky, one day you might get to bring the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald to life. I might have stumbled in, but the eclectic nature of the job is what’s bolted the door behind me.

    Q: What do you most love about your job?
    A: I love that the nature of the work forces me to become a mini-expert in whatever I’m writing about that day. It keeps me curious. Getting to solve that smorgasbord of challenges in collaboration with a bunch of similarly curious, but cleverer and more creative people is the cherry-on-top.

    Q: Talk us through the creative process for Tender and Scherzo - how did you take inspiration from the fragrance and book to approach the copy?
    A: Sarah came to us like a force of nature, full of infectious enthusiasm for Tender Is The Night, the ‘Scherzo’ passage, and the potential it held for fragrance. Straight out of that meeting, I nicked our copy of the book and set to work, reading it cover-to-cover. Since Fitzgerald had already done all the writing for me, I saw my job as being an interpreter for the design team, pulling out the various themes, motifs and resonant fragments of language and translating them into fuel for the visual world they needed to create.

    Q: What do you like most about the Tender & Scherzo branding?
    A: When you start to slide open the box and it feels as though you’re smearing the paint. I love it, because it captures one of the key themes of the book – our inability to hold onto our picture perfect idea of the past. For the characters in the novel that beautiful veneer fades, distorts and melts away, so to bring something that abstract to life in a piece of packaging is pretty special.

    Q: Why do you like working on Miller Harris?
    A: The team behind Miller Harris are fearless. So each brief feels less like a checklist of requirements and more like a collaborative art project, an approach which frees us to let our imaginations run wild.

    A lot of brands talk the talk when it comes to being storytellers. Miller Harris is actually following through. Its fragrances have always been rich with inspiration and memories - now it’s creating experiences around them that aspire to be even richer.
    Q: Do you wear fragrance?
    A: Fragrance for me is less a daily ritual and more a rare treat. Which means when I’ve got the time – and the opportunity – to indulge, it feels really special, like a heightened version of myself. It’s what I imagine wearing ceremonial dress - or putting on a suit of armour - must feel like.
    Q: What does fragrance mean to you? Does it unlock any memories?
    A: I couldn’t put my finger on a specific fragrance that unlocks a memory for me. But conveniently enough, the smell I love most is the smell of books. Fresh as newly cut grass, borrowed from a friend or a stranger with notes in the margins or weird stains, or covered in dust in some old study or bookshop. They’re magic.

    Q: This fragrance was inspired by the book Tender is the Night, do you have a favourite book?
    A: Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion.

    Q: Is there a book they would love to bring to life via design?
    A: Something epic – Moby Dick maybe, or The Waste Land, if a poem isn’t cheating.

  • We sat down with Connor Davey, Senior Designer at Jones Knowles Ritchie and one of the creatives helping Miller Harris with the design of our two new perfumes Scherzo and Tender.

    Q: What do you do and what does a typical day look like?
    A: I’m a graphic designer at Jones Knowles Ritchie. We specialise in unlocking the charisma within a brand. My typical day could involve working on anything from a fragrance to a food brand.

    Q: What inspired you to join the creative industry?
    A: In school I was always the ‘arty’ kid. I’ve never wanted to do anything else. In school I’d sketch in the back of my science book during lessons and skip gym classes to paint. It was pretty inevitable that I’d end up in the creative industry.

    Q: What do you most love about your job?
    A:At Jones Knowles Ritchie I get to work on a varied range of projects that constantly push my creativity across big, medium and small sized brands. It’s a great thing when you get paid to do what you love.

    Q: Talk us through the creative process for Tender and Scherzo - how did you takeinspiration from the fragrance and book to approach the design?
    A: Working alongside our copywriter to dissect the book, there were reoccurring themes and tensions that really resonated with us. Love and loss. Vibrancy and darkness. Beauty and violence. Pairing these themes with some killer quotes from the book inspired a range of designs. The chosen design captures that breaking point between the past and the future that’s both beautifully kaleidoscopic and painfully fragile with a vibrant rose, bursting into life and
    melting away all at once.

    Q: What do you like most about the Tender & Scherzo branding?
    A: It was interesting to see how the same extract was interpreted by a perfumer, a designer, an animator and a florist, and then all brought together as part of the multi-sensorial launch event.

    Q: Why do you like working on Miller Harris?
    A: The design for Scherzo & Tender disrupts everything you might expect from a luxury fragrance brand. It’s beautifully archaic. That’s what makes working with the Miller Harris team so refreshing. We can tell compelling stories with more than just the pack, it’s the whole experience, where our creativity as designers can be let loose.

    Q: Do you wear fragrance?
    A: I tend to wear different fragrances depending on my mood or the occasion. My preference is usually for something Oudy.

    Q: What does fragrance mean to you? Does it unlock any memories?
    A: Specific fragrances for me bring back vivid memories of a certain moment or location. I can smell a fragrance and be instantly transported back to an exotic holiday or a childhood day out. That’s what makes fragrance so personal to each person.

    Q: This fragrance was inspired by the book Tender is the Night, do you have a favourite book?
    A: I’m more a visual book kind of person. Fashion books, artists collections, that kind of thing.

    Q: Is there a book they would love to bring to life via design?
    A: Perhaps something decadent. Gatsby-esque. That would be great.

  • The Fox has been a huge admirer of Bertrand Duchaufour for many years; I have reviewed a number of his perfumes I consider to be truly exceptional; Séville À L’Aube by L’Artisan Parfumeur, the carnal scent of liaison and sin that Bertrand created in collaboration with Denyse Beaulieu, author of The Perfume Lover.  And Vanille Absolument, a narcissus-soaked vanilla like no other and my signature scent for many years, each batch different, dependent on tonka bean and vanilla harvests. I have fifteen empty bottles in my study, half a bottle on the go and two full back ups.

    Cuir de Nacre he created for Parisian jeweller Ann Gérard is a masterpiece of sueded iris, rooty and cold, but spellbinding in its delicacy and hush. Rose Cut, also for Ann, is Bertand’s boozy exploded rose, petals dripping in raspberry and rum, thorns and red wine rolling in a cut crystal glass.  Or de Sérail for Naomi Goodsir, boozy 1697 for Frapin gardenia and tomato leaf in Gardez-Moi by Jovoy, weird water and incense weirdness in Copal Azur for Aedes de Venustas…all exceptional.

    In my Foxy opinion Ostara was the best fragrance produced by British heritage house Penhaligon’s in recent years, an outstanding narcissus scent Bertrand created to portray the life cycle of the daffodil from bulb to bloom.  It was while Bertrand was creating the majority of L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances out of this Paris lab that he met Sarah Rotheram who was CEO of Penhaligon’s at the time and then later on of L’Artisan Parfumeur as well. A firm friendship was formed, based on mutual respect, olfaction and instinctive interpretation of ideas.  As she says, ‘He just gets me.’

    2017. Sarah is now CEO at Miller Harris and looking to re-invent the reputation of the brand since the departure of founder Lynn Harris, to bring the catalogue of existing scents into a more creative and intriguing environment. Alongside this will of course be new perfumes, different in style and olfactive emotion. I wasn’t really surprised when Sarah decided to use Bertrand as one of the perfumers for her debut perfumes. It made sense, both artistically for Miller Harris and for her personally. I knew she was bursting with ideas for perfumes and at one point I thought seriously she might launch her own line. Sarah has also learnt an enormous amount from Bertrand about the technicalities of perfume, how to decode mods, provide feedback etc. She is also self-taught, working hard to be at point where she is now where she can commission work from master perfumers like Bertrand Duchaufour and have a professional and artistic dialogue that results in extraordinary work.

    On holiday in 2016 while reading Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sarah came across a passage she knew could be a great inspiration for a perfume.  So this passage, a piece about the hypnotic power of flowers coalescing into a scherzo of intense hue, was sent as a brief to a selection of perfumers. There would be two eventually, Tender and Scherzo. The brief produced an array of responses that Sarah and the Miller Harris team whittled down to Bertrand’s cunningly imagined ink-black tulip in Tender and the green-gourmand roses of Scherzo by Mathieu Nardin.

    I met Bertrand many years ago when he made the journey to Edinburgh to help launch some fragrances.  He was a resolutely kind and generous man with his time; sharing his knowledge in careful precisely measured ways. We had dinner at the Scottish Malt Whisky Society and beforehand he was nosing some of the barrel-aged whiskies exclusive to the Society. He didn’t drink, just nosed, fascinated by the vapours and mysteries of Scottish terroir distilled in the aromas. It is this ability to be unexpected that makes me such a Duchaufour devotee, so I am very happy to be able to interview him and ask some Foxy questions. He kindly agreed to Facetime me from Paris.

    Q: Morning Bertrand! It is really great to see you. I have known you and reviewed your work for my blog since it started. It is your intricate and artistic evocation of place and condition that I admire so much. Your perfumes for L’Artisan Parfumeur and Parisian jeweller Ann Gerard are among some of my favourite scents I return to over and over again. As a successful independent perfumer what makes you to work with a particular brand or director?

    A: Hello Alex. It is really good to see you too. You know, when I start to work with people I have to have a good connection with them; Anne Gerard was a friend and I learned to really appreciate what Sarah* was doing first at L’Artisan Parfumeur, then at Penhaligon’s. Any idea has to be original, it has to chime with me. It is important to me that the people I work with share a similar aesthetic sense in order for me to have a clear full dialogue with them.

    Q: What do you enjoy about the collaborative process?

    A: You know, for me it is about the appreciation of things on the same level, talking a similar aesthetic language, a shared expression of art and design. There must be an exciting consideration of one name, one shape, one idea, one design. Everyone working towards the same goal. This is what I find interesting.

    Q: When your nose is your livelihood, how do you maintain a dedicated and consistent interest in scent?

    A: Every time it is about … I want to do something new. It is this want that keeps me motivated.  What can I do that has not been done before? It is easy to say but harder to do. I like to evolve my ideas independently of the market; Alex.. you know a lot about what is happening, the names, launches. I prefer a little distance. It allows me to connect to my own ideas untroubled by what is going on, that way I am less distracted. I always have several streams I am working with, perhaps 15-20 fragrances. In order for them to evolve, whether they are eventually interesting or not, I need to work like this.

    Q: You are well known for your love of art; particularly African tribal art. I obviously have my own opinions about perfumery as art, but I was wondering what your thoughts were? Can we truthfully elevate the creation of scent to that of says painting or sculpture? Or is it similar to the haute craft of couture?

    A: Listen, I think perfume can be amazingly sophisticated and this is mostly due to the level of natural ingredients they contain; these increase the complexity of the formula, but a fragrance must also be able to breathe and vibrate, be voluminous and well balanced. But consumers now, they still cannot really recognise how sophisticated or indeed basic a fragrance is. Perfume is still a cryptic world and I think personally we still need a long time before perfumes can be considered as art in the same way as painting, sculpture or photography.

    Q: Now, I am loving Tender, the new perfume you have created and one half of a beautiful new duo of perfumes from Miller Harris, inspired by Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Can you tell us how you responded to the literary brief and was it different from how you normally work?

    A: Sarah talked to me early on about this idea she had for a fragrance for Miller Harris and I received from her the text from the book, some images of flowers etc. A simple interpretation in some ways but very interesting. And I had this idea of the black tulip as a main theme straight away. This is how I like to work with everything.

     Q: In the passage that Sarah used as a perfume brief from Tender is the Night black tulips are mentioned and now listed as an accord in the Miller Harris fragrance notes for Tender. I’m quite obsessed with this effect you have achieved. It smells very original to me.  If you don’t mind sharing perfume secrets, how did you achieve this?

    A: With Tender, I knew right away I wanted this black tulip note. As soon as Sarah got in touch with the brief and I read the words I knew this is what I wanted to do.  It was in my head for over a year. As I said earlier, I like to do something innovative. In Tender I was crossing a floral green tulip note into black to give this black tulip from the passage. It is a mix of south of France fresh green floral effects and suggesting the black ink of the book type.

    Q: Now…this is a question you might not want to answer but people are always interested. Do you have favourites among the perfumes you have created?

    A: Yes. I do actually. Because it was a challenge and for personal reasons…Nuit de Tubéreuse that I made for L’Artisan Parfumeur. Because it I wanted to do something interesting and different with tuberose, focus on the green part, not the white fleshy flowers that everyone else usually looks at.  It is not perfect, but it is unique and still now young perfumers come to me and ask how I did this fragrance.  The other one is Eau D’Italie, the original fragrance I made for the Hotel Sirenuse**. This is very unique, with a clay accord that in fact I gave to Jean-Claude Ellena to use in his Terre D’Hermès. The clay is the foundation of the island and the other parts represented by classic citrus notes and aromatics like basil. There is a solar accord in there as well. It was an alien perfume, ahead of its time.  Now it would be accepted, but I guess not so different.

    Q: Why do you think people are so fascinated by perfume?

    A: It is emotionally charged, an instinctual thing, directly linked to the paleo-cortex; completely impactful on our emotions.

    Q: What is your favourite material to work with?

    A: Oooft. This is a hard question, there are so many. (Foxy… ‘okay… give me three then..). Ok. Iris of course. And vetiver, I love the complexity of this material. Davana. Oh and patchouli. I LOVE patchouli. Four then….

    Q: So much is written about the different styles of individual perfumers; how would you describe the Duchaufour signature?

    A: A signature? All about sophistication and as I said earlier, this comes from the use of natural materials.  I like to think of my work like books, the layers of scent like pages turning.

    Q: As this is perhaps a more literary themed interview, do you have a favourite author or novel Bertrand?

    A: I love the writing of Julio Cortàzor, his work is something very special to read. In fact I love Latin American authors, Allende, Marquez, these themes of magic realism, full of beautiful words and huge imagination.

    Q: And connected to the above, is there a book you think you would be amazing inspiration for a scent?

    A: I would choose two books. Rouge Brésil by Jean-Christophe Ruffin, an amazing book about the discovery of Brazil and the first colonisations by the Portuguese and French in the sixteenth century. It is an ode to all the senses, some unique olfactive descriptions of a very new world. The other one is Corrag by Susan Fletcher. Corrag is a young wandering herbalist and healer in Scotland but considered a witch by the ignorant English like her mother who was burned at the stake when Corrag was a child. The book is a dialogue between her and an Irish Jacobite whilst she awaits trail and probable death after being captured  helping the sick in the aftermath of the Glencoe Massacre. An incredible book.

    Q: Finally, what keeps you motivated, going forward?

    A: Innovation. Wanting to do something new each time. This is what keeps me so enthusiastic. We have access to over 5000 chemicals, naturals, a more limited selection perhaps 200; really you can do anything your imagination can support.


    This has been such a pleasure, thank you Bertrand for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend time with me, answering my questions. I look forward to seeing you again soon.



    *Sarah Rotheram, current CEO of Miller Harris, was previously CEO of L’Artisan Parfumeur and Penhaligon’s.

    *The Hotel Sirenuse is on the Amalfi coast and owned privately by the Sersale family. The daughter Marina created a skincare and fragrance line called Eau D’Italie, reflective of the local terroir, collaborating with Bertrand on the perfumes.

  • Over the past few months here at Miller Harris we have had the pleasure to collaborate with some extremely talented partners. One of these partners was the extraordinary Claire Gourlay from Honeysuckle & Hilda. We sat down with Claire to find out more about herself and our partnership.

    Q: Hi Claire, please can you introduce yourself and Honeysuckle & Hilda?

    A: I would describe myself as an environmentally aware floral designer with a spontaneous and asymmetrical style. I have a strong focus on wild, natural flowers with lots of textures, and try to ensure my work reflects the outdoors at its untamed best. Hilda, my sidekick, is a tiny brown Schnauzer who enjoys foraging in hedgerows, playing in the cutting garden and modelling next to the finished arrangements when I”m photographing them. It’s the perfect partnership, though she’s definitely in charge! We recently moved from London to a tiny village in the Chilterns and we’re loving the fresh air and open space, though we can still get back to London quite quickly for work, so it’s been a great move, and we’re loving exploring Oxford too.

    Q: Have you always been a florist?

    A: I didn’t grow up surrounded my flowers or nature and only recently became a florist, though I had dreamt of being one since the early 2000s, when I moved to East London just to be closer to the flower markets and practice at the weekends. It wasn’t until mid 2016 that I finally took the plunge and decided to invest all my redundancy money in travelling to some of the world’s most admired designers to study with them and helping out on other florists’ weddings to get a better feel for how it all worked. Last year I began teaching, styling and doing my own weddings and I haven’t stopped flowering since.

    Q: Where did your passion for floristry and nature come from?

    A: I’ve always loved flowers, but I think I really started to appreciate nature properly when Hilda came into our lives four years ago. Long walks through woods, across heaths, along canals and beside hedgerows really drew my attention to all the flowers and foliage we encountered. On one of these walks, a chance encounter with a passionate environmentalist led to a spirited campaign and a trip to Parliament to argue the case against the herbicides that are destroying our bee population and putting human health at risk. From there, discussions on nature, daily foraging and incessant flowery chat - plus the wonderful teaching of many and various florists and designers- led to the creation of Honeysuckle and Hilda.

    Q: You create beautiful floral photography. Is there anything that sparked this passion for the visual arts?

    A: That’s so kind, thank you. I studied History of Art as a postgraduate and my attention was captured by an exhibition of Dutch Flower Painting in Dulwich in the late 1990s. At the time no one was really talking about them and they were considered deeply unfashionable but I was enthralled. Of course, the world has come to its senses since then and now all we florists draw so much inspiration from them. I’ve also spent many hours in the Wallace Collection admiring the Rococo works of Fragonard and Boucher and then later French artists including one of my very favourites, Odilon Redon.  These days one doesn’t have to go to a gallery for inspiration as there are so many resources on social media - Pinterest and Instagram have been real game changers in that respect - although I still like to whenever I can.

    Q: We have had the pleasure here at Miller Harris to collaborate with you on multiple occasions. Why do you feel Honeysuckle & Hilda and Miller Harris are such great partners?

    A: I’ve obviously really enjoyed the creative side of producing images from Miller Harris - at a very basic level we both work with flowers and so the floral crossover is a great starting point. You are also a brand I’ve known and enjoyed using for many years, so to have been asked by you to collaborate on these objects has been a real honour. However, I think the thing that for me makes us ideal partners is the shared ideals in respect of how our products are sourced and created. I’ve had to give up using many brands over the years when I have discovered that they have been testing on animals - the fact that Miller Harris doesn’t and that you use natural, vegan ingredients is a really big plus point for me, both as a consumer and a collaborator.

    Q: Our brands are both very strongly focused on the environment. Is this an important quality of any partners you work with?

    A: Yes, there is a strong environmental ethic in what I’m trying to do. Floristry is, by its very nature, to some extent wasteful, but, even as a passionate consumer of flowers, I want to try and leave as small a footprint as possible. Just as I am trying to reflect nature in the fluid, organic shapes that I produce, I also want to respect it in the processes that I use. The fact that Miller Harris’s ideals align so strongly with mine is an important reason for me to want to work with you.

    Q: Most recently you have created floral interpretations of our two latest perfumes Scherzo & Tender. What do you think of these new scents?

    A: I really love both Scherzo and Tender and think they’re very different to what Miller Harris have been doing before. Whilst I also love the original ones which state clearly the key floral note/ main ingredients - your Noix de Tubeureuse was the first Miller Harris scent I ever used and I still adore it to this day - these two new perfumes seem to me have a greater complexity to them and I love that you have asked two well known perfume “authors” to interpret a passage from a book rather than setting a more traditional brief. Of course, I’m a florist not a perfumer, so I could be talking utter nonsense, but that’s how it seems to me.

    Q: Which one is your favourite? Scherzo or Tender?

    A: I think both of them are wonderful and haven’t been swayed by comments from friends that I don’t need to keep both now that I’ve finished photographing my images! However, at a push I’d go for Tender. It has a slightly spicier smell to it, which I really love, especially in this colder weather. But then again, on a warmer day am I more likely to go for Scherzo….? Lucky for me that I have both.

    Q: Finally, how is little Hilda doing? Here at Miller Harris we absolutely adore her!

    A: Hilda is very well, thank you, and is tucked up beside me at the moment, trying to avoid a walk in this stormy weather. When I first heard from Miller Harris, I was at the very early stages of my career and was surprised and flattered to have been asked, until I was told that your CEO was a big fan of my little brown dog on Instagram… and then it made sense. Seriously, though, she has had a wonderful time modelling next to your perfumes and having rose petals thrown at her in the name of fashion. Being the focus of so much attention in a professional studio when shooting for your Christmas Hats campaign was the perfect day out for her. She says thank you very much to Sarah for the treats.

    To read more about Honeysuckle & Hilda and see all her amazing work visit her website here.

  • For the launch event of our two new perfumes Scherzo & Tender back in September of 2017 we had to pleasure to work with Michael Isted from The Herball who worked on a culinary interpretation of our new scents. We sat down with Michael to find out more about The Herball and about this partnership.

    Q: Firstly, would you be able to introduce yourself and The Herball? What is your background and what drew you to botanicals?

    A: I’m Michael Isted, I started The Herball in 2013, I wanted to create a platform in which I could show people how to connect and integrate the nature that surrounds them into their lives in quite contemporary and exciting ways. I’ve worked in food & beverage pretty much my whole life and was always interested in the healing power of plants, I gave up the day job and studied nutrition, then did a BsC in Herbal Medicine and set up The Herball whilst I was studying.

    Q: For the launch of Scherzo and Tender you created two bespoke cocktails inspired by the perfumes. Could you talk us through the process of creating these?

    A: So we worked through the individual scents / perfumes used for each perfume and looked at flavours / plants that would compliment these fragrances, we make fragrances too the art of creating a serve is very much like constructing a perfume.  We also read Tender Is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, its beautifully poetic about the plants and gardens and was a huge inspiration for the scent and the the accompaneing serves.

    Q: You also created canapés for our launch. Did you follow the same process for these?

    A: Our friend & colleague Justin Horne created the canapés, it was similar process yes but with more direct link to the drinks.

    Q: Mixology and perfumery, in a way, are very similar – Would you agree?

    A: As mentioned above yes there is a very similar skill, although I wish more bartenders and perfume makers would spend a little more time understanding their ingredients a little better in their natural environment.

    Q: You seem to be very passionate about working with local herbs and products. Why do you have this passion?

    A: I love working with local products but I’m also a big fan of the more exotic spices, resins, flowers and herbs, nature and perfume is a form of time travel, these plants can take you to some very interesting places, past, present, future, parallell….The local herbs are a great way of understanding your local environment on a deeper level, its also a great form of grounding in a particular environment, time or place.

    Q: Do you just focus on British botanicals and herbs or do you also go exploring for new materials when you travel?

    A: Always exploring and working with new & older materials, got a thing for palms right now, I’m educating myself around the edible and non edible palms of the world...

    Q: You talk about finding elements for your creations in urban spaces. Is this urban aspect important for your work?

    A: Sure is, its key for health and happiness that even in your urban environments you have access to nature, wherever you are you will have access even if it is only small tree or park. Nature is dynamic, strong, adaptable and exists in the most hostile environments. Nature acts as a portal, the plants can open up more expansive environments even in our cities, get out there you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Q: What inspires you when creating your products?

    A: Nature itself, the plants teach me so much and then studying the effect these plants have on people is also super interesting and what plants people are attracted too and vice versa. Like scent its so interesting which perfumes / fragrances attract who and why….

    Q: You have worked with a number of really interesting brands. Is the identity of these brands important to you?

    A: Yes it is and also the creative people and the people who represent these brands, its about building a community, grass roots, a mycelial network or friends from all identities, so we work with tiny brands, individuals, large corporates, everyone, we all share the common interest of wanting to be closer or to work with nature in some way.

    Q: Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Is there any “love potions” you would recommend?

    A: Yes I have a few recipes, which can be found in my book, which comes out in February. Find the book on Amazon.

  • Twelve years ago, Jane Birkin collaborated with Miller Harris to create a fragrance that evokes her eternally cool spirit. Jane Birkin's other brand collaboration with Hermès, produced the iconic Birkin bag, the value of which has increased at a faster rate than gold.

    Jane Birkin spent years searching for a scent to match her distinct and nonchalant style and conscious of our sense of smell's powerful link to memory, Jane wanted to blend a perfume reminiscent of a past affair, one that conjured an aura of familiarity, so she could feel her great love near her always.

    In an article titled "How to smell like Jane Birkin" in British Vogue, Jane explained that "A fragrance should be something suggestive, a memory ... A smell that is not the one of many women overpowering the lift! That is what I love about L'Air de Rien", she told us "My favourite smells are [her brother] Andrew's smell, bookcases, Turkish spice markets… Too much musk and too much ambergris. Memories."

    Tunisian neroli, amber, Indonesian vanilla, oak moss and a musk make for a light fragrance, worn like a thin veil over the skin, that lends an air of mysterious sensuality to its wearer. The English translation of L’Air de Rien is nonchalantly – this fragrance reflects its cool creator’s spirit perfectly.

    Our customers love L'Air de Rien.  Here are a couple of reviews we've recently received:

    "Daring, sensuous, standing out fragrance, encouraging you to step outside of your comfort zone. Perfect for a rainy day to give you a punch" Irene, Derby

    "Since finding this fragrance a few years ago I wear nothing else, it's captivating, unusual and unique. Please never discontinue it! I'm on my third bottle of the fragrance and have bought numerous candles too, would recommend" Laura, Swansea

    12 years on we are still as excited to be working together with such an iconic collaborator.

    Discover L'Air de Rien here.

  • A Q&A with artist Heather Chontos


    Q: First of all, how did this unique collaboration with Miller Harris come about?

    A: It was all through the amazing representative in London the fabulous Holly Wood at Wood Society for the Arts. I think the concept of making visual the natural world around us, created a spark of an idea and we were fortunate enough to be in conversation with Miller Harris inspirational chief creative Sarah Rotheram, the exhibition felt like a perfect collaboration for this moment in time.

    Q: I love the oval ‘looking glass’ shape you have used for this series of works. With all the mirror/Alice/portal ripples perhaps associated with this form, why did you choose it?

    A: The “ looking glass” is exactly why I chose this shape. The oval is meant to represent the classic scape of the mirror, using the concepts of reflection and observance  of one’s self or their invito Kent.

    Q: They reminded me of aircraft windows and seeing pieces of land and ocean come up, float and drift away. You have travelled all over the world, how much has travelling impacted & influenced the use of such a luminous palette?

    A: I love that visual reference. My favorite part of flying is landing and take off and watching the landscape come in and out of focus. It is a huge influence. My favorite and most recent inspiration of palette came from Zanzibar, Tanzania. I feel the need to travel, not just because I am some sort of gypsy with deep wanderlust who can’t stay in one place, but rather it gives me deep and meaningful connection to inspiration that is ever changing and not stagnant. I of course fixate on some colors, but they move and change with the light in places around  the world that the people, the food, the smells, all of it, presents to me as I change my perspective from place to place.

    Q: I read that you prefer to use unexpected tools to apply, move, fix and blend paint on canvases. How did this come about?

    A: Honestly I love paintbrushes as objects, but not as tools. I don’t like traditional brushstrokes in my work. I have more control and deeper saturation with other tools. I like to feel connected to my surface too and so I want to be close. I think it first came about because I could not afford palette knives so I took out my library card from my wallet and voila!

    Q: You often add strata of paper, plastic and fabric to canvases. I interpreted this as a distant echo of your original training in fine art restoration: reconstruction, renovation and concealment. Is this something you sense in your own work?

    A: Yes! I often incorporated these materials in the beginning, because I was trying to repair or “ mask” something that was in need of repair on my painting surface. It worked as a great method to fix discrepancies in my work, but now I add it because I like the layering of texture and diverse materials.

    Q: A lot of contemporary art galleries seem to have evolved into retail spaces, selling so much stuff, sometimes it is hard to tell where the artist’s work ends and the nitty gritty of retail commerce begins. What do you think the challenges are of creating art for a luxury retail space like the Miller Harris Canary Wharf boutique?

    A: It didn’t find it particularly challenging because the space was so clean and beautiful , which lent  itself perfectly to featuring large artwork. I think that the variations of scale with the product being a smaller size is tricky, but when I received the elevation of the space it seemed to just make sense to me.

    I agree with the “ too much stuff” problem, so the simpler the better. Beautiful creations should speak for themselves whether it is art or design, the extra” stuff” is not needed.

    Q: And did this impact in any way decisions you took during the artistic process?

    A: The only thing was that the space was quite angular, lots of rights angles, so the oval made sense here and the glass gave way for the notion of the “ reflection or looking glass”.

    Q: What do you think of the idea of displaying and selling/buying art in a retail environment such as the Miller Harris concept boutique?  

    A: I think it’s in keeping with the times. Art is everywhere and not everyone is going to get to go and see an exhibition at a gallery. The creative conversations between brands and artists I think is key to keeping the experience for customers exciting and fresh. I love the idea that you get a snapshot into an artist’s inner workings in a beautiful scent store, the small exhibitions are almost always more interesting because they reveal so much more!

    Q: You spent nearly two decades working in set design and art directing.  Was becoming Heather Chontos, Abstract Artist an organic and fluid one or was it more complex than expected?

    A: It was at first challenging because the world likes to pigeon hole you into being one thing, a specialist in something, but I wanted to do everything and it was not fully accepted. It became clear to me that my creativity remains, no matter what, but it is painting that I love the most and I feel most fully myself being “ the artist”

    Q: One of the most profound things I learned about you was your total loss of sight at the age of thirteen and being legally blind for eight months. How do think this physical experience of not-seeing and also the memory of it shaped you as a visual artist?

    A: I guess it has shaped me in the sense that I know the loss, the grey space that sits between the light we can see and the light we cannot. It inspires me to find color and light in everything .

    Q: Do have a favourite perfume/Miller Harris perfume?

    A: I own several, that’s a difficult question, I’d have to go with Eau de Parfum Le Jasmin, it instantly transports me and lifts me on the greyest of days. That’s what I love about really pure scent you know it’s giving you an extra lift, makes me feel like I’m walking on clouds, it’s a scent from heaven!

    Q: If you were given the opportunity and could do whatever you wanted, how do you think you might approach the design and creation of a perfume? How would you want it to smell and feel?

    A: Oh, wow, well... i would want to climb to the top of a hill or mountain and be surrounded by the scents that can cause me to stop in my tracks and completely encompass my senses. I would want it to feel warming and nurturing. It would have cardamom, cinnamon, the smell of trees, Moss and wildflowers in the early fall. I travel everywhere with cardamom pods and cinnamon for my coffee so i of course would have to supply those, but the rest I could find in nature.   I can see the painting g now that would cover a glass bottle with an array of colorful markings and pastel drawn lines to indicate the sensation that all of these scents bring to mind.

    Thank you.

  • I have admired Miller Harris as a Brand and Business for a very long time. When I was just starting Also Home I remember reading the story of how Miller Harris was created as a business and felt so inspired. So, when the opportunity to collaborate came up, I was so pleased.

    Why do you wear perfume?

    I wear perfume every day and it is one of my only little luxuries and a very important part of my morning routine. I have always had two scents I favour and people always comment on them.

    what kind of scents you like?

    My favourite style of scents are delicate and floral, but definitely not soapy. I always try a scent on my skin because I think you truly know if it’s the scent for you once it’s settled on your skin.

    why you like the pink one?

    I love Rose Silence because it has a wonderful delicate every day fragrance. It settles beautifully and has a soft fragrant hue.

    when do you wear it, what does it do to your confidence

    Wearing Rose Silence starts me off every morning with a sense of I’m ready for the day. Even though I run my own business I don’t always feel very confident or grown up. Putting on my perfume helps me think ‘I can do this’. It also helps me feel feminine, strong and determined to keep going!


    Discover the lovely Also Home collection here.

  • I got a call from the CEO of Miller Harris, Sarah Rotheram.  Could I find a find a photographer and a space in Edinburgh that fitted the new on-going aesthetic of the brand? Any suggestions as to brief? The vibe that I brought to my own perfumed, floral and chroma infused insta grid. Yes.

    There was a hint of urgency. The candle images needed to be showcased in the run up to the important festive retail season and I wanted to create images that the Miller Harris guys could use as much as possible.

    First up I found a brilliant art photographer called Laura Meek, courtesy of a friend; I loved her portraiture and quirky analogue work.  She had the blurred sophistication I wanted. Then the trickier proposition of the space…

    A fortuitous recommendation from another friend (and a bit of research) got us to an interior designer and object curator called Xanthe Weir, originally from Glasgow who after a long spell in London, including five years of marketing with a top fashion designer had decided to return to Edinburgh with husband Euan and her three children. Xanthe is working out of her beautiful Royal Terrace house in Edinburgh, using the William Playfair built house to showcase her evolving collection of Italian and French mid-century collectibles. All curated impeccably against the high ceilings and decorative cornices lit by the trademark glow of Edinburgh light from huge bay windows.

    This was exactly what I was looking for.  Xanthe was kind enough to let Laura and I shoot how we liked, uninterrupted.  There was so much we could use, to create moods, angles, colours etc. It was a dream.  Getting to know Xanthe has been a pleasure (not forgetting Romeo the Jack Russell...) we thought it would be interesting to spend some more time with her and ask some questions.

    Xanthe Weir: Interview Questions & Answers

    1 - Why did you move back to Scotland?

    X – I’m originally from Glasgow and my husband Euan is from Edinburgh. I studied here but we both moved away to work in London. Then after about sixteen years in total in London, plus me working in Hong Kong for over eight years, the time felt right to return. I had been working in marketing for a London designer and Euan was spending more and more of his time up here with his business and it was the right time for the kid’s exams.

    2 - What was it about this particular house that made you think… yes! ?

    X - I wanted a house in the city. City living, not out in the burbs. I loved this house as soon as I walked in. It also had a great history, the first house built by William Playfair on this terrace. It was built for a whisky merchant who liked to watch the ships carrying his barrels dock into Leith and you can just see it from the house. I had a family as well and I think part of me knew the collecting was growing. The large communal gardens, which, we have, direct access onto at the back of the house played a huge part as well. It’s fourteen acres and was planted by the same person who designed the Botanic Gardens. Parts of it seem quite feral and other bits are manicured. I love the fact I can see the Forth Road Bridge, Fife and Arthurs Seat. Previous owners had left their mark. I do feel like I’m only half way there really and still have lots I want to do in terms of buying and filling the gaps I have.

    3 - You have a background in fashion. How did the interest in collectibles, art and interior design come about?

    X - During my time in London I had worked with someone who designed and curated the brand shops, picking key pieces for each and ensuring the visual merchandising team created shop environments appropriate to their areas. He taught me a lot; he had the most amazing eye for objects and beautiful taste. So I collected pieces and people liked things, asked me where I bought them. I learned what worked in my house and I thought maybe I can do this. Soon I had more pieces than space and the idea of Lair and the pop ups started.

    4 - Tell us a little bit about the things you buy and curate?

    X – My personal taste is what you see, mid-century modern, usually French and Italian style. I like to things mix though.  Quite early on my rule of thumb quickly became, if I wouldn’t have it in my house, I wouldn’t sell it. I’ve been burned a few times, so I try to be true to myself in that respect.  A lot of legwork is involved. I go to markets, in France and Italy. And Spain, there are some great markets in Spain at the moment. After putting in a lot of effort over the years, I now have dealers who buy for me. I do a little online sourcing and I do use auction houses too. I do like to touch and feel what I’m buying. But sometimes that’s not always possible. I have an auction house contact in London who is able to supply me with detailed condition reports.  I’m not necessarily buying things to make a profit; I bring in the pieces for specific clients or to fit my aesthetic, knowing they will sit well in my house.   

    5 - Why did you decide to use your home as a curated space?

    X – When we moved into Royal Terrace after living in a flat in London, I was slightly daunted by the size of the rooms, the height of the ceilings. All the rooms have an echo and the light is huge. It floods these rooms. I needed to furnish the house and started putting together a collection of pieces that reflected my aesthetical mid-century taste.  After having a couple of pop-ups and running Lair for a year I realised I couldn’t really afford to do it that way. So now I have established partnerships with some exclusive galleries and art societies to host occasional events and I bring in pieces for clients and showcase them here perpetuating the aesthetic that I’ve stayed true to.  In the beginning I think people didn’t really get what I was doing, like it was ‘second hand’ stuff or something, scratched etc and tried to knock the price down. But I’ve stuck with it.

    6 - When we came to shoot in the space and do our pre-shoot visit I was struck by how beautiful all the rooms and spaces in the house smelled. Do you think scent and odour have a role in interior design?

    X – Absolutely! It’s vital. Scent is one of our key senses. I always have candles burning, they make people feel comfortable, seduced into the ambiance of the room. I like high impact candles, large sizes, well made with a good strong scent. I’m burning the Miller Harris ones today in your honour… they smell wonderful. These rooms are big. It’s important to me they look good too.

    7 - Is scent something you think about in your work?

    X – Yes it is.  When I was in Paris years ago I visited Hotel Costes and I was very struck by the scent of the hotel. Even now, talking about it, I can smell it in my head, spicy and warm. I bought the candles and I never forgot the impact that scent had on me.  I have a second business called DecorAir, focussed on interior design for the “Buy To Let” market, more specifically the more high-end part of the Air BNB market. When we have discussions with clients we always talk about the importance of scenting the space when they rent out to more exclusive clients. 

    8 - What kinds of scents do you like in a room?

    X - That depends. It’s a mood or seasonal thing really isn’t it? If I’m having friends round or it’s Christmas. I choose candles to suit the month or occasion. I like the idea of your house having a signature scent, something you become known for.

    9 - What about you personally?

    X - Hmm. I don’t like the kind of bright strip lighting duty free fragrance shopping. I like wearing things that are unusual, that other people haven’t heard off, or are hard to get hold of. It’s very important to me how it is retailed, for that reason I like Liberty’s for fragrance shopping.  I do have a couple of favourites, I like the Margiela Untitled; I don’t normally go for designer perfumes but I like that one and the Alaïa in the black bottle, I think you can wear that day into night. It’s beautiful.

    10 - Are there things you find hard to part with once you have bought them?

    X – Oh yes. And things I regret selling as soon as they have gone too. I can think of a particular lamp and a gorgeous pink marble table straight away. I even called up the person I sold it to and said… if.. you ever think about selling it, can I please have first dibs.

    11 - Do you have a favourite object or piece of furniture?

    X – I think that would have to be the huge Italian glass table in the room upstairs. It is so beautiful and versatile. I can display books and objects underneath it and it looks so good in the bright city light. 

    Thank you so much Xanthe for taking the time to talk to me today.

    Further information on Xanthe and her work can be found at the following links:



    Alex Musgrave

  • Rose Silence by British fragrance house Miller Harris is a cashmere soft floral fragrance of subtle and delicious composing. To me the rose is alabaster white, a rose placed in quiet memoriam to a love, not exactly lost, just unattained and lost to  time. Rose Silence is a cloistered rose, head bowed, eyes closed, a veil of musks draped gently around petals. Silence is beautiful because you can hear tears fall and break like glass on stone.

    In floriography, the language of flowers, white roses say: ‘I am worthy of you..’ Here, the earthy patchouli, Miller Harris blackcurrant motif and dash of sweet mandarin are worthy notes of delight and detachment as this most graceful of rose perfumes blends hints of rain-washed gardens and the sugar-dusted addiction of blushing Turkish delight. Miller Harris Rose Silence is a discreet and charming solitaire rose with a promise of love and style.

    Shop Rose Silence.

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