Meet Charlotte Stockdale
Charlotte Stockdale is one of the world’s most renowned fashion stylists and is our Style Editor.
Here she tells us a little more about her career and how she became obsessed with scent.
1. You are one of the world’s most celebrated stylists, what was your path?
I grew up in the English countryside with a mother who was very fashion conscious. I had no idea about fashion at the time but looking back, she lived and breathed it. I left school and tried modelling, it was a total disaster but I knew I loved images and realised that I was probably better suited to life behind the camera. I was introduced to Katie Grand who was setting up a new magazine called Dazed & Confused. We met for lunch, stayed on for dinner and went home at 11pm. That was the beginning of my fashion life. It was an amazing time, the mid nineties. I lived in Paris and worked for Dazed & Confused. I then went onto Harper’s Bazaar.
2. When and how did you first become interested in scent?
My first memory of scent was my mother’s. She loved it and collected the bottles. There must be at least a hundred bottles at our family home that she collected over the years. I remember holding them, particularly the ones she wore every day. I really loved the visual side of scent, the imagery and design. My best friend gave me a fragrance for my 21st birthday. It had taken her a long time to choose but she got it just right, I wore nothing else for years. I think the way that she captured me so well has stayed with me. It’s one of the reasons I was so excited to work with Jo Malone London and create scents myself.
3. How does fragrance fit into your life and how do you think it works with fashion?
I use scent in the same way as anything else that I adorn my body with. You clad yourself in things and they say something about you and whether you can see them, smell them or touch them, they’re all a statement. You walk past a person in a hotel or airport and you have a reaction if you catch their scent. It’s a similar reaction to fashion. It’s this instant emotional response that I find interesting. To me it is like saying, ‘…this is what makes me feel good about myself and if you’re on my wavelength you’ll probably like it too.’
4. What inspires you most about scent?
For me, scent is like colour, it makes you feel good. The same is true of music. Smells can calm you, excite you, and make you feel confident or comfortable. Humans have a very emotional reaction to scent. It reminds you of something. I love the idea of recreating a scent from nature. This is what I did with Jo Malone London with the Box Hedge Square Scent. There’s nothing happier than an English garden in the sun so we captured this smell using Headspace technology. Wood smoke, wet earth, leather. I love smells from life attached to memory, real life and history. Your happiest moments.
5. What is your signature scent?
I always return to the same ones, they just speak to me in a really fundamental way. I wear Jo Malone London’s Red Roses, Orange Blossom, French Lime Blossom, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Blackberry & Bay Colognes. I carry small bottles of them everywhere. I have recently bought an entire collection of fragrance oils. While some are very beautiful alone like rose or neroli, others really aren’t. I combine them to try to understand what I like. It helps me to get back to basics and discover what I really love and then go from there.
6. What advice would you give someone trying to find their own signature?
It’s a gut feeling. Above all, your scent should give you pleasure. When you are trying a new one, make sure you spritz it on your own skin, leave it and then re-smell to see how it unfolds. For me there are no rules. I hate rules. If your pleasure is in the label, then that's ok. It could be the name or how the bottle feels in your hand. In whatever way, your scent needs to make you feel good. It’s not a competition or a judgement, it should be fun and totally about you.
7. Do you use different scents depending on where you are in the world?
The more you are away, the more you need continuity, I always travel with Red Roses Bath Oil, it makes me feel like I'm at home straight away. It’s the same as my own bathroom. There’s a link. It looks the same and smells the same. I also burn the Incense & Embers or Green Tomato Leaf Candles. People associate these scents with me and my family.
8. If you had to choose one, what is the most evocative scent for you?
It has to be Night Jasmine from Greece. Since I was a small child I have spent every summer in Corfu and this scent is everywhere. It’s grown on the balconies in the towns, along roadsides. It takes me back to my childhood and to a really magical place for me where I now bring my own children. This is why I used it in the Night Jasmine & Oregano Linen spray in the My Wanderlust Collection. I liked the idea of the scent of holidays on your pillow.