Jo Malone's new fragrance, Peony & Blush Suede is like a woman running down Kensington Church Street to catch the 52 bus.
Peony & Blush Suede comes out of the bottle like a shot of adrenaline, an invigorating, heady blast of clean, yet edgy, sweetness.
It's her knee-high wedges that are blush suede, and her dark hair bounces as she runs down the street, but not so perfectly that bystanders resent her. She jumps on the bus and gives the driver a self-deprecating smile as she places her Oyster card on the reader. As she passes him, she remembers buying her boots at Emma Hope, after walking past them 10 times in one weekend. "What on earth is blush suede?" asked her mother. "And how do you keep it clean?" A little Scotch Guard, and they've made it mostly unmarked for three seasons – not counting last winter.
The scent quickly mellows into a moreish (but frankly, more manageable) version of the way it began.
Though she's not going far, she, like most people who love London, sits upstairs when possible, and on this lucky day, all four seats are empty. She drops into the far right seat next to the window just as the bus pulls away, crosses her booted legs and suddenly remembers she has peonies in her bag. She panics for a moment, worried they got bruised in the run. But they're fine, and she realises they perfectly match her boots, and laughs.
Several hours into it, the two elements of the scent are still present, the almost-tart Blush Suede taking the edge off the sweetness of the peony.
Traffic is at a stand-still, so she watches London pass for nearly 20 minutes before arriving in Knightsbridge. She could have walked from her flat off of Ken Church Street, straight across Hyde Park, but this is her favourite bus route in London. She watches the people on the street: estate agents, yummy mummies and babes, silver foxes, mover and shakers. She's thinks about her mum's upcoming visit, and how she'll place the peonies on the nightstand along with the gift she's going to pick up.
Several sprays and several days later, I still can't identify what Blush Suede is. The website says it's: "...the juicy bite of red apple and the opulence of jasmine, rose and gillyflower." (I never would have figured that out on my own.) But do I love it? I do love it.
By the time the bus arrives at her stop, at the epicentre of indulgent London (One Hyde Park, if anyone's asking), she's calm and composed, yet open, interesting and friendly. She generously gives up her seat to five school kids who want the front seats even more than she does, and she graciously waits while an older woman goes down the steps to the lower deck ahead of her. She disembarks and heads south on Sloane Street. This is the real reason she wore her 'running' wedges: the walk to Jo Malone to buy cologne for her mum. The peonies just happened to match.