Shop: Gorilla Perfume
With bathroom cabinets and dressing tables filled with lovely bottles of fragrance it’s safe to say our creative director, Charlotte Melling, has a passion for perfume. She daydreams of the next scent to try out and has secret hopes of this being her career some day. Yes, our Charlotte is rather keen on the scented stuff. Imagine her excitement then when she was invited along for a tour of a rather special perfume concept shop, Gorilla. It was like all of her Christmases had come at once and after hearing about her experience we can see exactly why. Shall we find out what she got up to? Over to you, Charlotte.
A spin-off project by Simon and Mark Constantine, the father and son team behind homemade cosmetics brand Lush, Gorilla is a perfumery with a difference. Situated on one of our favourite streets in London, Camden Passage, with it’s cobbled streets and kind of old London charm this is the perfect home for the Aladdin’s Cave of sensory discovery that is Gorilla. Seemingly more cool American record store than perfume parlour, as you enter the shop you notice the psychedelic artwork of renowned illustrator and musician Steve Krakow aka Plastic Crimewave. There are albums on the walls that influenced the making of the scents and in the corner sits a vintage record player and two retro armchairs. It is clear that music plays a significant part here even down to the fact that the collections are categorised by Volume 1,2,3 and A sides and B sides.
I was lucky enough to have shop supervisor, Ed, there to talk me through it all from the actual ingredients to the influences and inspirations behind these fragrances. They have recently launched a new collection titled Volume 3, Death, Decay & Renewal. As a tribute to founder Mark’s father who passed away a short while ago, some of these scents have names like Dear John and Dad’s Garden. It’s very moving to hear about the deeply personal family stories and experiences that inspired the creation of what looks like a fairly normal bottle of perfume. That’s one of the best things about perfume and something we sometimes forget: that smell can hold as many memories as a photograph or object.
For this father and son perfume is a wonderfully creative outlet, a means of expressing emotions and encouraging us to do the same. They collaborate with artists and musicians to create a truly unique experience. You might even say they create perfume for the soul. Simon and Mark treat fragrance like a creative medium in which to tell a story, heralding scent as an art form like a painting or a sculpture. To get people thinking about what goes into one of their bottles they chose to launch their new fragrance collection at an art gallery rather than a shop. It is these details that sets Gorilla apart from other perfumers.
The next time you are seeking something new why not expand your mind beyond your normal perfume selection? There is a whole world out there of exciting smells and unusual combinations to set you thinking and carry you away to a walk in the woods or take you back to a childhood experience. If you’re looking for something different look no further, Gorilla will inspire you. Trust me I’m an expert.
Betty’s top three picks are Kerb Side Violet, Breath Of God and Dirty
3 Camden Passage
London N1 8EA