THE IN-TRAY

A fashionable candle collection with scents of humour

INSPIRED BY EVERYDAY FRAGRANCES, HAND-POURED IN ENGLAND, AND ADORNED WITH WITTY STICKERS, ANYA SMELLS CANDLES ARE THE IT ACCESSORY OF THE SEASON. ACCESSORIES QUEEN ANYA HINDMARCH TALKS TO THE MEMO ABOUT HER NEW LINE.

Beloved British accessories designer Anya Hindmarch moves from handbags to homewares with her collection of captivating candles inspired by everyday objects. Toothpaste, Sun Lotion, Coffee and Baby Powder are among the mood-altering, memory-jolting scents in her first collection. On the phone from London on a recent morning, Hindmarch revealed what ignited her fascination with candles.

TM: Anya Smells is seriously fun. How did you come up with your irreverent approach?
AH: “It’s who we are. We once made the most beautiful handbag out of metal, which looks like a crumpled crisp packet. It’s about taking something you’re familiar with but doing it in a really beautiful way. It brings a little smile, and people appreciate the craftsmanship.”

The connection between scent and memory is a powerful one. Are these candles an evocation of your own history?
“Pretty much, or they take me back to a really nice memory. Sun Lotion conjures that smell of warm skin, the remains of your sun cream and summer air. Baby Powder is the memory of the smell of a baby’s neck—it’s freshly washed, slightly sweet and rather lovely. We spent so much time working out what goes into those memories.”

What of Coffee? It’s not exactly a Starbucks caramel macchiato.
“It’s not! Not that there is anything wrong with that but it’s a little more complicated, and it’s not just coffee. It’s really quite citrusy, with ingredients like vetiver, patchouli and tonka bean. As it burns, it gets richer and deeper.”

Did you work as intensely on this collection as you would on your handbags?
“Absolutely, it’s all about the details. After the formulas, which we worked on with perfumers including Lyn Harris, there is the weight of the glass vessel. It’s black but not totally opaque, and we added our stickers for a jokey but sophisticated twist. The boxes are almost as much fun to keep. You can change the eyes depending on how you display them.”

Do you consider candles an accessory?
“Accessories are about communicating who you are, what you care about, so there’s a lot of synergy. And they do look fun on a bookshelf. I’d be so thrilled if someone put flowers in the vessel once it had burned, or even your toothbrush. I’m a great believer in sustainability.”

What’s in your makeup kit?
“A smorgasbord of things. I just turned 50 and it’s funny how that changes your relationship to makeup. I’m starting to wear more. Eyeshadow is something I never used to touch, but it gives you that lovely shading. I like MAC eyeshadows, especially non-glitter shades. I love Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster. As I get older, I find it’s important to use SPF every day. Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask is another go-to—anything that works through the night is a complete win as far as I’m concerned.”

Chubby Hearts Over London, in which you suspended heart balloons above London landmarks, was your love letter to the city. Can you share some of the things you adore about your hometown?
“I just took the red bus to work on a sunny day, and as we came across the river I thought ‘It’s such an amazing city.’ It’s so huge and full of so much, from the historical to the cutting-edge to the weird. It’s a combination of many villages. It’s a city driven by arts, culture and history. It’s exciting, I love it. I wouldn’t be anywhere else.”

Interview by George Epaminondas
August 2018

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