“I always remember Miller Harris being the rock and roll perfumer of the fragrance category, never afraid to stretch the boundaries and experiment to deliver something exceptional,” says Sarah Rotheram, CEO of Miller Harris, the London luxury perfumery launched in 2000 by Lynn Harris. Lynn was one of the first British perfumers to study under Master perfumers in Grasse and Paris, and brought a new wave of niche perfumery during a time when artisan perfumes were still relatively unknown. Now, Miller Harris embarks on its Asian journey with the launch of a boutique in Harbour City, followed in quick succession by the opening of its second international concept store in K11 MUSEA’s shopping mall.
Do you have any tips for someone looking for a signature scent?
I would advise women to think about what you want a fragrance to say about you, a perfume can make you feel bold and confident, pretty, or relaxed. Then shop with this in mind. Ask yourself if you would wear this every day or when dressed up for an evening out. Some days I have very important meetings and want to leave a trail of perfume behind me, this is when I would wear our bestseller Scherzo so everyone knows I am in the room. On other days, when I’m wearing my jeans, and want something more relaxed, I would choose a fragrance which is light like Rose Silence.
If you are shopping generally for a perfume, always put some on the skin and leave for a short while. Great perfumes tend to move and shift on the skin, so they will smell very different on all of us. Remember what you first smell are the top notes – these tend to dance and be vivid but disperse to leave the heart and base of the perfume on the skin. Don’t be led by marketing or packaging as we all love beautiful things but close your eyes and let the smell of the fragrance take hold of you. A perfume that is right for you should be obvious, you will keep going back and drinking in the scent on your skin.
Are there any perfume trends that excite you right now?
Two major trends are driving innovation: firstly, responsible sourcing and secondly, extraction techniques. As the world focuses on climate change, preserving nature, the environment and sustainability have become key. The industry is directing their attention, each in their own individual way, to collectively finding ways to create a positive impact. Miller Harris does this by establishing strict goals for new formulations and partnerships, utilising only the finest raw materials that come from companies that are establishing sustainable partnerships with the local communities in which they produce.
The second research trend is in extraction techniques. Fractional distillation is a method that allows for almost a customised version of a flower or a plant, isolating specific aspects that are desired and discarding what is not. This is huge and creates a proliferation of possibilities even within the natural raw material palette. The use of new technology implements cleaner and clearer extractions of materials that are truer to the lifeblood of nature.
What is the concept behind the Miller Harris Hong Kong stores?
When designing a store space, we try to approach this as somewhere our community would like to spend time. Buying fragrance is about discovery and playfulness, so our stores are designed with this in mind.
Each store is also inspired by a Miller Harris “muse” which then embodies certain attributes. For the Harbour City store, we chose “The Fashionista” as we felt it reflected the clientele really well; I am always amazed at the diverse and very stylish audience in Harbour City. The walls of our store here are hung with vibrant florals hand-painted on denim, and we have installed a ‘scent globe’ for consumers to immerse themselves in a scent.