Flower by Kenzo

The Tower of London with a sea of bright red poppies cascading into the moat as part of an art installation
The Tower of London with a sea of bright red poppies cascading into the moat as part of an art installation
Poppies, poppies everywhere: the 2014 art installation ‘The Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ outside the Tower of London. I used to work for Historic Royal Palaces, which runs the Tower, but never went to see this piece. I have slightly ambiguous feelings about how Britain expresses patriotism through poppies and fetishising the war dead.. but that’s probably a post for a different blog.

I’m coming back to the blog having last posted in February 2020. Five months ago. Feels like five years from this strange new future limbo-land of coronavirus.

After reeling from the initial shock of London’s covid-19 lockdown (‘ok, so now, you stay at home, you never get on the bus or the tube, you only see friends and fam who are walking distance away, you never see your colleagues, you are with your toddler all.the.time. and you take turns to do a couple hours of work a day, and you have no idea when or how things will change, and there’s a massive global health crisis and recession’); I moved into the easier plains of getting used to it.

Just acceptance that we have no control, and feeling deep gratitude – my family and friends are healthy, I am lucky to still have a job, a safe housing situation, my kid is back in nursery so I can work, we can afford to order nice food.

But, yes, I really miss going to the pub and I would chew off my own elbow to be able to go somewhere that isn’t the immediate five square miles around my house.

So: it’s a good time to come back to perfume reviews.

Since lockdown, I have been spraying on scents every day, several times a day. I haven’t worn mascara or much make-up or even glasses or my contacts since March, but I am putting on scent.

This one is Kenzo’s Flower, came out in 2000, has that really distinctive tall thin curved bottle designed to look like a single red poppy stem in a vase. I tried a quick sample at work lunch break in Boots, probably a few month’s before we got locked down, then got a used half full bottle off eBay.

It’s sweet but not too sweet, smooth, musky. Rich, creamy, makes me think of white chocolate. It’s got a kind of waxy, champagney, enveloping fug to it. They are going for a sort of ‘single fresh vibrant flower grows in the urban jungle’ vibe in the advertising campaign. I do like it, not sure I’d buy again though.

As a lifelong Londoner I sort of related to the feeling that Flower gives of wrapping yourself in a protective force-field of scent. I’d put some on my scarf and neck as my armour for getting through the crowded tube full of other people’s armpits, and out through the zone one air pollution into the office in the early mornings. Wow, that sentence is so dated.

Interestingly, the poppy itself has no scent, so isn’t one of the notes in this perfume.

I will wrap up with this amazing short video advertising another scent by Kenzo, World. Most perfume adverts are absolutely ridiculous guff. But honestly – this is really worth a watch and does make me want to try that one next!

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