Lyn Harris talks personal taste: Part Two

The perfumer concludes her list of likes with the Brittany countryside, Barbara Hepworth and David Bowie

Lyn Harris photographed at home in North West London
Lyn Harris photographed at home in North West London | Image: Michael Leckie

My style icons are Jane Birkin, who is very natural – she never apologises for how she looks because she’s so comfortable in her own skin – and Lauren Hutton for her crisp, linear dressing. I admire women with this kind of definitive yet timeless style.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Céline smock in baby blue. I wear it with jeans.

Lauren Hutton attends the Alexander Wang fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September 2014
Lauren Hutton attends the Alexander Wang fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in September 2014 | Image: Getty Images

The books on my bedside table are The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee – a journey through Italy’s citrus groves and the inspiration for a scent series based on the lemon tree – and Yves St Laurent 1962, a biography by Laurence Benaïm that reminds me simplicity and style go hand in hand.

The beauty staple I’m never without is moisturiser. Some are too highly scented for me to wear as a perfumer, but I like Fresh Crème Ancienne during the day and Sisley’s Sislëya Globle Anti-Age Cream at night. Both have lovely textures and subtle, natural fragrances. Fresh Crème Ancienne, £180 for 100g; Sislëya Globle Anti-Age Cream, £269 for 50ml;


The image that inspires me is a David Hockney landscape. There’s so much to see in his paintings; I could gaze at them for hours. We’re both northerners, brought up surrounded by grey, so the way he uses bright colour is a feast. He’s endlessly fascinating, never depressing.  

If I didn’t live in London and New York, I would live in France. I trained in Grasse at Robertet under a second-generation master, but also love the wildness of the mountains and lakes of the Massif Central, and Brittany, which is where my husband Christophe comes from and where we used to have a house. The weather is like England’s, but there’s something strange and untamed about it too.

Sisleÿa Global Anti-Age Cream, £269 for 50ml
Sisleÿa Global Anti-Age Cream, £269 for 50ml

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a white metal teapot with a woven leather handle that I found at a flea market in Kyoto. I love pouring my hand-blended teas from it.

The last music I downloaded was David Bowie; I’ve had a real yearning for him recently. He inspired British teenagers to come out of themselves and he certainly influenced the rebellious streak that drives me creatively. Music is important to me, especially when I work. I’ve also been listening to Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, which keeps me calm.

The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee
The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee

My favourite room in my house is the kitchen. Our open-plan apartment is on the third floor, right up in the trees with a fantastic view over Primrose Hill. The kitchen is huge and everyone gathers round our beech farmhouse table. It’s where it all happens – food, fun, love, ideas.

The best gift I’ve given recently was a bespoke perfume to my mother for her birthday. I love making scent for my family and this one was in honour of our relationship. She is pretty particular but she adores sensual, white flowers; I called it Sweet Pea because that’s what I call her. Perfumer H, 106a Crawford Street, London W1 (020-7258 7859;

Trunk Clothiers, Chiltern Street
Trunk Clothiers, Chiltern Street | Image: Tom Griffiths

The one artist whose work I’d collect if I could is Barbara Hepworth. I try to follow British artists, and her elegant, organic style really resonates. Although there are layers, there’s a lightness of touch; the easy pleasure at her fingertips is palpable.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose


Marylebone. I love La Fromagerie for its fabulously pungent artisan cheeses and The Ginger Pig next door for excellent charcuterie for Christophe – I’m vegetarian. Then Trunk Clothiers on Chiltern Street for both of us; I do like men’s clothes. And I get French Vogue, L’Officiel and French papers for Christophe from the newsagents opposite the Chiltern Firehouse. La Fromagerie, 2-6 Moxon Street (020-7935 0341; The Ginger Pig, 8-10 Moxon Street (020-7935 7788; Trunk Clothiers, 8 Chiltern Street (020-7486 2357; Shreeji Newsagents, 6 Chiltern Street (

If I weren’t doing what I do now, I would farm a single crop extremely well – a flower, herb or vine. A while ago I collaborated with Ruinart, translating a Blanc de Blancs into a fragrance – and who knows? When the right time and place come together I may well start a vineyard. That link between taste and smell is very much part of who I am; everything I eat and drink inspires me.

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