Last weekend I very excitedly headed along to the Scent and Scandal event at the splendidly art deco Brasserie Zédels, Crazy Coqs Cabaret Club in Piccadilly. I had read about the event on the blog Running in Heels and out of intrigue had very quickly booked two places and looked forward to finding out more.
Hosted and presented by Odette Toilette and Luci Gosling of the Mary Evans Picture Library this afternoon event was a captivating and fascinating look at the notorious lives of notable members of high society. In particular those who were hitting the headlines as part of the London nightclub scene during the early part of the 20th Century.
Luci Gosling expertly took us through a sublime collection of photographs and paintings from the Picture Libraries extensive archives including some fantastic images from the Illustrated London News, Tatler and The Sketch. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year the gallery, based in Blackheath, houses many prominent publications and a wonderful array of imagery in its archives. Certainly high on my list to visit very soon!
Between imagery and scandalous tales Odette delighted us with samples of fragrances that would have been worn by these men and women as they drifted fabulously around the many dance halls and fashionable night spots of the country's capital. Many of the fragrances that we were lucky enough to sample are now discontinued and sadly lost forever. It was therefore a real delight to get a whiff of these exceptional aromas and garner an understanding of what the ladies and gentlemen of the day would douse themselves in before heading out to mingle and party - and boy did they like to party! Many of the scents were quite different to what we are used to today and some of the ingredients have since been disallowed due to their rarity.
In total we sampled 8 wonderful scents which included Gardenia by Chanel (1925, original now discontinued), Chaldee by Jean Patou (1927, available at Harrods and the perfume that informed the aroma of many a sun lotion that we are now used to today) and finally Malmaison by Floris (1830, re-worked version now available - favoured by the Prince of Wales as its hints of carnation matched the very same flower that he used to wear in his button hole). Many oohs and aahs followed as we each worked out what we liked and what we didn't!
After polishing off a lovely glass of bubbles at the start of the event the Crazy Coqs Club provided us with a wonderful light afternoon tea – a sampling of mini sandwiches and cakes and a nice pot of English Breakfast at half time!
It was a wonderful and fascinating way to spend an afternoon doing something very different and hearing lots of fabulous and risqué stories from days gone by.
I recommend looking on Odette's website for upcoming events. They would make a great afternoon get together for a group of people looking to learn about something a little different in a relaxed and entertaining way: http://www.odettetoilette.com/events/