“I always wanted to specialize in alcoholic perfumery,” confides Lynn Harris. “I learned under a master perfumer in Grasse, at a time when the industry was experiencing a great slump. The fields of flowers were gone and the great houses closing down, so people were cynical about the future.”
Harris’ passion for perfumery compelled her to fight against the downward trend and start her own bespoke house in London in 2000. Miller Harris embodies all the values of independence from commercial perfumery. “I was taught in a very strict way, about naturals – the raw materials of perfumes, and then given the freedom to go away and create an original scent. It’s a luxury to be able to do that.”
Lynn spends much of her time researching, garnering inspiration from everyday life. “Every moment, no matter where I am, I’m aware of my environment through all the different things I can smell. I even experience different smells when I’m dreaming.”
When creating a personalized scent, Lynn bases each element of the aroma on a narrative of that person’s life, her version of them, their personality and natural colouring. For Jane Birkin, she created the bespoke scent L’Air de Rein, or Air of Nothing. She wanted something that was there but not there, a natural odor. The results are startling, an almost animalist, pheramonic but strangely sensual and arresting scent, which has now become their number one seller in Paris.
“Bespoke teaches me something new everyday, it enables me to go on. As a consumer we’re affected by what’s going on in the world, that’s why fashion changes. Now we’re going back to erotic, oriental fragrances that put you back in touch with yourself. It’s the end of disposable luxury.”