Meet Your Maker - Annabella from Contradictions In Ilk
We’re so excited to be sharing Contradictions with our subscribers this month. Can you take us right back to the beginning of your fragrance journey? When did your love for fragrance first start?
Thanks so much - we’re really excited too! I have been interested in perfume for as long as I can remember. My mother was equally fanatic and had a shrine-like oval silver tray crammed with countless bottles. She would select which to wear with great thought - depending on her moods or the occasion - and to this day, would never be caught without scent. I found it fascinating to learn what informed her scent choice and started to develop my own. This way, the scent is elevated to something deeply personal, mindful and rewarding.
Did you ever encounter any fragrances that changed the way you thought about scent as a vehicle for self-expression, and, if so, what were they?
Yes! The first time I went to New York was coincidently the first time I ever travelled alone - I had a ball! However, something that will always stick out for me regarding that trip is the moment I laid my hands on Serge Lutens. The fragrance names, the fascinating notes and stories in the booklet inside, the way the perfume evolved and enveloped like a symphony orchestra - I was captivated. I remember pondering over ‘The Fille de Berlin’ and thinking, “this is incredible and whilst I’m mentally following her through time and place, surely she or indeed any of us - can’t be captured by one scent alone?”
I’ve always matched my fragrance to my outfit, e.g. patchouli or heliotrope notes (I love Night Scented Stock by Penhaligons) for my favourite purple paisley dress with knee-high suede 70’s boots. Or Eccentric Molecule with silver jewellery and space prints (very niche, I know!) If I wasn’t painting a scented picture of time or place with perfume, I would specifically choose a scent to encourage or embody how I felt that day or the task at hand. If I had an interview, I’d avoid overly feminine scents and wear grounding vertivers; if I felt a bit flat, I’d douse myself in a sunny fresh scent normally reserved for holidays; to jolt my mood to a higher place. I truly believe that there’s a power in perfume to alter or communicate someone’s mood, environment, their intended actions - but this all boils down to one thing, the individual.
How would you describe Contradictions to your friends and family?
An obsession and bloody hard work but totally worth it. I joke - what I’d say is that our collection of scents inspired by our personalities and human nature - means there should be something in our fragrance library that is utterly right for everyone. Not that every scent is for everyone at all times - where’s the fun in that, that’s too safe. But there should be a moment where you pick through the collection and, with wide eyes, go, “that is essentially me in a bottle.”
Do you have a favourite from your collection?
I must admit that, true to my word - it really does change! I find each one has a place in my heart, depending on my mood or season. There are, however, some I keep going back to. Virtuous is a fail-safe - elegant, truly aromatic, but with a beguiling incense and leather base that ensures the evolution of the perfume is never linear but always interesting.
What do you feel sets Contradictions in Ilk apart from other niche perfume brands? What do you hope your customers get from your work?
I think most niche perfume brands are special and unique in their own way, those which aren’t stand out a mile away. Niche is a privileged title which has blurred over the years. Whilst some have evolved to be purchased as part of a major house’s perfume portfolio - most niche perfume brands (especially the good ones) started as a truthful and unwavering passion. So in that sense, Ilk isn’t unique. But what I really hope is that our customers get a sense of story that runs throughout every detail - something that is more time/cost consuming, but we think is key for a nice fragrance's authenticity and personality. We also hope that our scents surprise and delight people - leaving them thinking, “god yeah, that cannabis fumed, candy floss and grapefruit peppered, tonka madness really does make me feel like the Fantasist I tend to be”.