Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bloom Magazine (Issue 16): Foliage

There isn’t a fragrance lover or gourmand who hasn’t experienced an intense, unearthly connection to a raw material or specific combination of ingredients. These precious moments serve as a catalyst for the merging of self with the collective unconscious. Describing such instants is often difficult, especially at inception. We run the risk of losing the moment by immediately analyzing it, thereby stunting creative forces.

Wisdom dictates the need for objectivity as well as detachment from likes and dislikes, but sometimes our personal efforts are not enough; we stumble over ourselves and the very things we are enchanted by. At times like this, guidance from someone who is able to tap into cultural and creative energies is precious. Bloggers adhere to vertical communities and books—the fragrance industry relies on the work of trend forecaster Li Edelkoort.

Li Edelkoort provides guidance for students of design, as well as the beauty and fashion industry. Uttering her name in the presence of those who have experienced her books and lectures elicits praise and wonder. Li is a well-traveled visionary who observes what is going on in the world with a natural curiosity that is oriented towards assessment rather than judgment. Her clarity of vision and fearlessness in the face of formidable chaos allow her to harness archetypal energies and present them in a way that compel and inspire. What is most refreshing about Li’s work is her ability to tell a story with visuals and words that are unique, yet universal—something other trendcasters struggle with in today’s iconic “expert” culture.

Bloom is a magazine to behold. Published twice a year, each edition focuses on a central theme that is seasoned with a horticultural flavor. The "Foliage" issue (16) insightfully examines the ways in which human beings relate to green as a color, as well as the way green manifests as an ethos with respect to fashion, food and beauty. The issue is filled with thought provoking images of verdancy which are the result of numerous artistic collaborations.

Scent is a tangible component of the "Foliage" edition; an historic first in Bloom's eight year history. In an olfactive section titled “Spirit of Place” blotters scented with green-inspired accords accompany the photographs of people representing well-travelled regions of the world. The accords were created by Givaudan perfumers who had between one and two months to create them. There were no briefs and no rules, which perfumer Nathalie Gracia-Cetto describes as "very freeing". The accords are presented in this order:

Asana – The Indian: curry leaf, absolue mastic, fenugreek, fennel, cinnamon leaf, coriander seed and caraway. The lingering scent of an Indian kitchen comes to mind when smelling this creation. Accord created by Antoine Maisondieu.

Odin – The Nordic: a green anise note with a dill base, pink pepper, juniper berry, angelica seed, birch leaf and a woody mineral note. A cool, marine effect is executed here, which resonates well with the photograph of an androgynous gentleman who agreed to be photographed for this interpretation of place. Accord created by Nathalie Gracia-Cetto.

Baraka – The Moroccan: olive leaf, galbanum essence, mastic leaf, olive note, davana essence with dried fruit accents, thyme leaf, rosemary leaf, basil leaf, cumin, fenugreek, absolue immortelle, woody notes of cedar and oakmoss, and resinous labdanum. One cannot help but sense the formation of a beautiful chypre when smelling this composition. Its resinous earthy character is fertile ground for a full bouquet. Accord created by Shyamala Maisondieu.

Ngoma – The African: banana leaf, geranium leaf, tamboti wood, accents of vanilla and cacao. The aromas in this composition are tenderly woody and intimate. Of all of the accords in "Spirit of Place," this one begs to be worn. Accord created by Nathalie Gracia-Cetto.

Bloom is available by mail and in-person at the Fashion Institute of Technology bookstore. Priced at $85.00, it is a wonderful addition to a perfume lover’s collection of fragrant inspirations. Issues 1, 4, 8 and 11 are completely sold out. For information on the 16th edition of Bloom and public presentations given by Li Edelkoort call/email Edelkoort Inc.'s New York offices at 212- 420-7622 / .


There are several places on the Internet where you can read about Li Edelkoort and her work. Though conducted in 1995, this interview in Lumiere reveals a woman who is simultaneously in the present and ahead of her time. Designboom features a more recent interview which is worthy of reading. Lastly, Li is featured as part of a trend/lifestyle site run by Symrise.