In the UK beauty world, “bath and body” is one of the hardest categories to get right. Spoiled for choice at the lower end of the market with the pretty flower-dappled packaging of generic lotions and potions, the premium offerings are woefully sparse.
Jo Malone, who sold her namesake fragrance, bath and body brand to Estée Lauder in 1999, re-emerged in 2011 with Jo Loves, a stunning line of signature fragrances that was a firmly independent and strident move in a new direction.
There isn’t a more apt word to describe the Jo Loves range than fulsome. The fragrances are truly Jo Malone in execution – big, well-rounded and appetising to the nose – and the stand-out product of the Jo Loves bath and body range is A Bath Cologne that contains enough actual fragrance oil (at 10 per cent, falling roughly mid-way between an eau de toilette and an eau de parfum) to give an olfactory experience equal to any scent.
In this respect, Jo Loves’ A Bath Cologne (£59 for 200ml) is a first to market – such a simple idea and yet one nobody else has thought of. The sound of a thousand bath-and-body-range developers’ heads hitting the desk is pleasingly loud. But that’s what Malone does best: thinking ahead of the curve. The colognes will initially be available in Pomelo (bursting with ripe citrus), Green Orange & Coriander (bitter green orange and warm culinary herbs) and Pink Vetiver (classic vetiver laced with pink crushed peppercorns) and will launch with the forthcoming opening of the brand’s first retail store in London’s Elizabeth Street in early October, when it is poised to siphon off a section of the luxury market that has been waiting for this very fragrant thing.
Elizabeth Street holds deep links to Malone’s past. The artisan-laden street was where she held her first job as a florist’s assistant, employed at 16 by entrepreneur Justin de Blanc, but where she was unceremoniously fired for throwing a bucket of water over her manager. The new Jo Loves shop opens at No 42, the scene of the water-throwing incident and the beginning of a fragrance journey. Three new fragrances, No 42 The Flower Shop, A Shot of Muguet & Cedar and A Shot of Fresh Sweet Peas (each £45 for 30ml) reference her first connection to Elizabeth Street – it’s the completion of a sublimely scented circle.