We got to spend an evening with the dazzling Ms Parker for her equally dazzling new scent
So first of all – it would be rude not to feature the scent by the lady whose TV show inspired the name of this website - especially when one has been invited to an audience with her *flicks hair*. Yes, the first lady of style Sarah Jessica Parker herself was in town to launch her new perfume ‘Stash’ at Café Royal on Regent Street.
Celebrity scents are a thorny issue in the world of perfumery. When I spoke to James Craven, Fragrance Expert and Perfume Archivist of Les Senteurs he had this to say: "In themselves celebrity perfumes could be absolutely fantastic, but the problem is the rush and they don’t really reflect the person, they're just an arbitrary tie in – because they’ve got to sell, they’ve got to make money, they’ve got to get it out, get it on the shelves before anybody’s sell-by-date expires. To me, the fascination of creating such a perfume would be to study someone and have her analysed psychologically: what is her fan base? What is her allure? What makes her tick? Then you have that perfume actually capturing that, which I think is what a really good perfume does, but probably won’t have the mass appeal to drive sales. It would probably make an excellent niche perfume."
I think Stash maybe falls into the latter description. This is no frilly, fuzzy scent for preening pop stars (usually some sickly concoction of raspberry, almond and peach …) This is a scent for a woman who has lived a little and who would rather take a limo through Pall Mall than skip through a meadow in a gingham frock. It’s got a gutsy heart of pistachio and patchouli, given some added sparkle with grapefruit and black pepper which dazzle like a pair of jewel-encrusted Louboutins. A rich base of musk, vetiver and woods gives it a masculine edge – I can easily imagine a chap wearing this scent. You can tell Sarah Jessica is a true devotee of fragrance, rather than just lend her name to something pretty, sweet and appealing.
Perhaps ‘Stash’ transcends the ephemeral nature of celebrity scents because Sarah Jessica Parker is such an icon. Sex and the City left our TV screens over 10 years ago, but everyone is still transfixed by SJP and her alter ego Carrie. Since the age of 13, I have idolised both women - Sex and the City was a form of escapism from my boring teenage life wearing box pleat skirts and flat lace up shoes to my all-girls school in Hertfordshire. It was intelligently written but unapologetically devoted to glamour and living the high life.
(N.B. I noticed in the series that Carrie practically never wore nail varnish and we didn’t get to see what perfume she wore - but I like to think it was something unpretentious and classic like Clinique Aromatics Elixir or Anais Anais. Maybe when Carrie becomes Mrs “Big” Preston in the two movies, I can imagine she would invest in a Frederic Malle number like Lipstick Rose – but this new scent Stash could be another serious contender.)
In Sex and the City The Movie, Carrie utters “you did me proud” to Mr Big when he builds her the closet of her dreams, complete with Manolo Blahniks. And I could say the same to Ms. Parker when I met her. Walking into the Café Royal, she shook hands with and chatted to practically everyone in the room, looking every bit as stunning as she does on screen. But there’s nothing intimidating about her – sweet and self-effacing, she’s definitely a “girl’s girl”. They say never meet your idols – I was very happy that “Sarah Jessica” (as she introduced herself to me) was the exception to that rule. And she clearly has a knack for knocking out a decent perfume...
Stash is available from today at Boots, Superdrug and Debenhams. Buy it here.