La Bella Figura Brings The World to You
By: John Biebel
There is something utterly engaging about the women who represent La Bella Figura, a Chicago-based skin care and perfumery establishment who were displaying their fascinating wares at the Elements Showcase this August. Upon seeing the beautifully crafted bottles and packages, one is immediately taken by the floral-and-earthy scents, the art nouveau styled lettering. La Bella Figura’s philosophy is centered on the ideas of authenticity, elegance and simplicity. Part of that simplicity is a commitment to using natural and organic elements in every cream, wash or perfume.
As Karen King, cosmetics and perfume creator, led me though an array of potions and elixirs, I was drawn into an almost mythical botanical world. Hydration Creams, serums, lip balms are all infused with a fascinating array of rare natural elements. Pineapple oil, broccoli seed oil, sacha inchi oil (from a plant known as the Inca Peanut, from the Peruvian rainforest), buriti oil (from the Moriche palm tree): These are just some of the exotic and skin-nourishing elements that La Bella Figura sources.
What’s new for La Bella are its all-natural scent oils. Ms. King along with Victoria Fantauzzi, another cosmetics and scent creator, has introduced precious "scent diaries" from cities across the globe. These hand-blended oils come in delightful scents and could be used by men and women. They apply smoothly over the skin and create a beautiful aura of perfume as the skin warms the oil. Each is a deep, rich and variegated combination of essential oils that conjures up beautiful far off cityscapes. The collection highlights three cities: Paris, Barcelona, and Buenos Aires.
Notes: Orris root, vanilla, sandalwood, cognac,
tuberose, tarragon, oak moss, fir balsam
Paris opens the series like a guide greeting you the moment you arise from the underground metro. It’s a scent that celebrates the clear and bright color of the city’s empire style, and equally pays homage to its excellence in perfume and gastronomy. The unusual combination of tarragon, oak moss and cognac brings forth visions of book traders lined up against the Seine with their characteristic stalls open for business. The gourmand elements filter through in a lovely line like plates passed in a bistro in Montmartre. Because this is an oil based perfume, its changes are subtle and long-lasting. Over an hour or two, Paris mellows into the gentle smoke of vanilla and fir, and closes at day’s end.
Notes: Cognac, pink peppercorn,
Sicilian lemon, beeswax, wild orange
Barcelona celebrates life after dark. As many know, Spain doesn’t
truly come alive until after the sun begins to set, and this scent is no
different. With a basis in pink peppercorn and beeswax, the perfume has
an almost animalic insistence and sparkles like a glass of cava rosé.
The citruses bring liveliness to the top notes, with cognac playing a
sweet and boozy middle. Barcelona is a very full-bodied perfume that is
most definitely meant for after dark.
Notes: Tobacco, Peru balsam, Brazilian rosewood,
Turkish rose, Argentine Mate
Our plane dips south to the beautifully temperate city of Buenos Aires, where cafes are bursting with patrons, and “Flower vendors [are] selling roses for the evening’s Tango show.” This perfume is a stunning modern beauty. It mixes the ambery scents of balsam and tobacco with the bold sharpness of fresh Turkish roses. Added to this is the aromatic herb Yerba Mate, the plant that’s used to create the distinctive South American drink Mate. There is a bright freshness to Buenos Aires, a breezy airiness that moves smoothly over the entirety of the fragrance experience. Dark and mysterious rosewood provides a solid base to this cool and soothing perfume.
For the true lover of natural scents, La Bella Figura is striking out new territories in old world cities.
Photo by Fragrantica
John Biebel (johngreenink) is a web and software interaction designer, painter and musician based in Boston, Massachusetts, US. He is also a student of perfumery and the scent sciences, and Fragrantica member!