Interviews with like-minded creatives and progressive thinkers who, like Toogood, refuse to be labelled.
In our first interview of this year, Toogood speaks with perfumer Lyn Harris, founder of Miller Harris and Perfumer H. She lives and works in London and wears pieces from Toogood's S/S21 collection.
What do you create or make?
I create perfume, driven by my obsession with nature and how people smell.
Where is home for you and what makes it home?
Home is Primrose Hill, London…being surrounded by beautiful trees that transport you through the seasons.
What took you down this path?
Since spending summers as a child on my grandparents' small holding in Scotland, I have been driven by nature and smells. They grew their own vegetables and my grandmother had a garden full of flowers with a stream at the end. It was very idyllic. Every morning I would wake up with the smell of the fire being lit, accompanied by the smell of my grandmother baking cakes, jams, or a redcurrant tea. My grandfather was a carpenter and had a workspace that I use to hide in that smelt of cut wood and turpentine.
There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about this place…so precious and simple. It is my dream one day to reconnect with the nature and grow one thing beautifully.
Where is your favourite view?
Looking out of my kitchen window and seeing Primrose Hill.
I like looking at the trees through my window as we live on the top floor... watching the seasons change is just so special.
What book is on your bedside table?
'Fasting and Feasting: The life of Visionary Food' by Patience Gray and Adam Federman.
How do you learn?
I smell, walk, read + listen.
What would improve your life?
What’s currently on your kitchen table?
A vase of wild flowers, hazelnuts, a pot of tea, and my formulas.
What story do you want to tell through your work?
My vision of nature. I like to take simple ideas and bring them alive through my olfactory palette. I suppose I paint olfactory landscapes that take you somewhere and make your soul sing…that’s what I like to do. It’s just having the right palette in the first place - which has taken me years to perfect - and then by knowing my materials inside out I select according to each story. This selection process is key for me, which raw materials go with each other... I think this is a magic that you formulate within yourself – it’s the process of creation.
What is the most worn item of clothing in your wardrobe?
At the moment my Saint James navy jumper.
What object do you value most?
My grandfather’s hammer.
What is freedom to you?
To do what I please at any time of day or night.
I am busy developing the Perfumer H refill station where our customers can come for refills of all our products. Reusability and no waste is so important and I really want to promote a new way of refilling fragrance and candles.
I’m also creating a new fragrance with Arts & Science in Japan, a new Perfumer H tea and lastly I’m working with an interesting chef translating his favourite smells. Something exciting will be happening with him later this year…
Lyn Harris is a classically trained Perfumer.
After studying with Monique Schlienger in Paris and Robertet in Grasse, she developed fragrances for many acclaimed fashion and beauty brands, including Anya Hindmarch, Claus Porto and Manolo Blahnik.
She founded her own fragrance house, Miller Harris, in 2000, going on to found her current line, Perfumer H, in 2015.
Lyn's Summer 2021 fragrance collection explores different olfactory elements of her favourite trees; Orange, Fig, Olibanum, Silver Birch and Heliotrope. Available from Perfumer H.