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Mirabella returns! 12.13.12.

At long last, (and blast!  we didn’t get it done for 12.12.12…) beloved Mirabella is back in stock after the end of the limited edition production last year.  We know that many of you have been looking for this beauty and she’s finally back.  Oh yeah.. and still in time for Holiday cheer!  Happy Holidays~  from Dawn and the DSH Team


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DSH Holiday SALE 2012 is on!

Yeah, it’s that time of year again and it’s also SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, so I thought that I would just pop this notice right here to be sure that everyone knows about it.  Use code :HOLIDAY2012 *(TYPED IN ALL CAPS FOR HOLIDAY) and receive 20% off site wide from now through December 16.  You can use the code as many times as you wish as our way of saying Thank You to our wonderful clients!

** If you are not on our mailing list for our e-newsletter, please feel free to sign up.  We don’t send out a ton of these but you will hear about new launches, events at the essense studio and especially SALES!

Happy Holidays!

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4.25.12: Announcing the launch of the YSL Retrospective Collection!

I am so happy to announce the release of my fifth collaboration with Denver Art Museum: the creation of the YSL Retrospective Collection. At DAM will be the only North American showing of the Yves Saint Laurent Retrospective Exhibit, where the collection on exhibit will chronicle YSL’s long and wildly creative career from his years at Dior to his finale in 2002.
The DSH – YSL Retrospective Collection not only takes inspiration from YSL’s long and prolific career but specifically chosen garment pieces in the show that perfectly illustrate the artistic collaboration between fashion, culture and perfume.
“Can you imagine my excitement when invited to create for the YSL show in Denver? It was for me as if I were given the opportunity to design for the great man himself. I took on the project as if I had just been appointed the “in house perfumer’; a fantasy, I know, yet I feel that it brought out an even deeper understanding of YSL’s work and that of translating his aesthetic into perfume.

The Collection consists of six perfumes that start at YSL’s beginning at Dior and his first triumph, the “Ligne Trapeze”, a cool and sophisticated violet-aldehydic perfume with a warm, animalic drydown; Next to “The Beat Look”, referencing the Americanization of French culture during the late ‘50’s and taking inspiration from YSL’s first perfume launch “Y”. The Beat Look is an aldehydic-fruity-floral-chypre; “Le Smoking”, speaks to the start of an ongoing theme in YSL’s work (the women’s tuxedo) and the women’s liberation movement of the 1970’s. Of course, Le Smoking is a green-chypre-tabac fragrance with incense and hints of marijuana cigarette. We next move to “Euphorisme d’Opium” which takes many of it’s cues from the now discontinued original design of YSL’s landmark fragrance “Opium”, a spicy-narcotic-oriental perfume; and into the 1980’s with “La Vie en Rose”, a sparkling rose-violet perfume modeled on YSL’s 1983 launch of “Paris” perfume and his unmistakable “Paris Bow” gown. Lastly, a floral-floral, linden blossom and wisteria creation befitting the icon that YSL became called “Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour” was inspired by a radiant floral motif, silk evening coat found in the retrospective show.

With this collection I not only wished to express a sense of YSL’s career history but a sense of the interplay between fashion and perfume history within the perfume designs themselves. I hope that by experiencing the collection as a whole it will tell the story of this man’s creative life through the senses.

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3.20.12: First new launch of 2012: Guimauve de Soie

A brand new design collaboration with Carrie Meredith from “eyeliner on a cat” blog is an abstraction of texture and synesthetic color (and a slight play on words: guimauve) which translates to “Silk Marshmallow”.

There’s a kind of dada-esque quality to the name, which I love, that speaks to the silky ‘texture’ of the fragrance and it’s overall “grey-blue-violet” tonality (connoted by the main orris note and is the ‘mauve’ reference). The odd (but wonderful) balance of orris – violet – animalic nuances counterbalanced with gourmand notes of anise and cocoa beans is quite unexpected. The gourmand aspects bring the idea of “marshmallow” into a new focus.

Guimauve de Soie is unlike anything else in my collections to date; I am very excited by this design and it’s such a pleasure to present it as my first original creation of 2012.

Happy Spring to all!  The violets are out en force today!




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Spring 2012: DAWN Perfumes relaunches Pretty & Pink and Sweet Dreams

Happy Spring!  This is one of my favorite days of the year… the Spring Equinox.  Just writing those words brings a smile to my face…  warmer weather and more sunshine is on the way.  Winter is going to sleep for another year; how delicious!

Spring brings renewed energy and a sense of rebirth, so it seemed fitting to launch our re-designed concepts for Sweet Dreams and Pretty & Pink today!  I hope you are as excited to try these as we are to bring them to you!


Dawn, Mary and Amber

Pretty & Pink:  A modern fruity floral that balances youthful folly with rich sophistication.  Our re-launched version puts the emphasis on a rosewater, true Bulgarian rose and fresh Spring floral bouquet heart mixed with a new plummy nuance in the top note.  There’s still the ultra-modern vibe of the crystalline musk drydown and a soft sandalwood note finish.  This is our prettiest pink (rose) scent yet!

Sweet Dreams:  Aromatic. Sensual. Transcendent. A place of comfort and delight. The sweet scent of home (and maybe a piece of heaven). Green and refreshing herbal notes and calming lavender are intricately layered with exotic wood and grounding incense notes. (Unisex)


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Mirabella Eau de Parfum is now available! 12.23.11

After many requests and some minor pleading… ( I am so happy that Mirabella is so well received!)  we’ve decided to release some limited edition 10 ml Eau de Parfum sprays of Mirabella!  These 10 ml vials are lovely, sleek sprays with gold accent caps and labels and they’re just perfect to carry this gloriously rich and sexy scent with you everywhere this winter.  You can find our Mirabella EdP sprays already listed among our other Mirabella offerings.

Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year to you all!



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the clarimonde project: october 2011

How could I resist an opportunity like this?  To be invited to participate in a project to express a hauntingly beautiful and evocative story such as Clarimonde by Theophile Gautier… I couldn’t pass it up.  And October is the perfect month to get into a gothic tale of love, loss, seduction and illusion.

Of course, I, like Gaultier himself, was inspired by the color and texture of the story more so than the characters themselves (although for Gaultier it was Delacroix’s colors that inspired him).  One phrase in particular struck me: that of  …“A Twilight Blue Oriental Perfume”…  Oh yes, this is the place to start (and finish).

I don’t want to give away the story as I highly recommend it s a novella or an audio book, so I won’t go too deeply into the other elements of the story and the design.  I will share with you some of what I wrote for the short press release:

“Just as T. Gautier was inspired by the luscious colors of Delacroix, I found the sensuously atmospheric descriptions throughout the love story to evoke otherworldly perfumes and luminosities.
The phrase “ A twilight blue oriental perfume” most captured my imagination from the first time I heard it along with the image of faded flowers along side a bed of gold and silver, attended by a negro page wearing black velvet holding an ivory cane; and the satiny hand of “Clarimonde” as she lay dying. This cool, almost misty scene that might have been a last glimpse of Clarimonde paired with an alternate universe of warm opulence in Venice were always shimmering in my mind’s eye as I created “Paradise Lost”. ( As you can tell, I do not want to give away too much of the story for those who have not read it).
The colors always flickering and wafting about my mind were cool periwinkle blue, the rich cobalt of “the blue hour”, faded terre verte earth & faded pinks, golden naples yellow, vermillion, deepest black velvet and oxblood”.

In the end, I called my perfume “Paradise Lost”, not just for the double literary reference but as I felt this was the crux for me: a paradisiacal, albeit illusory, love and life that is lost when questioned and made untrue.  Would that we would all choose to keep Paradise.


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New from the “Letters to a Fellow Perfumer” series with Mandy Aftel , my floral – floral that morphed into a spiced plum chypre: Mirabella.

For those of you who do not know if this series, it has been a great honor to be invited to participate in creating a new perfume through a series of letters with Mandy Aftel.  As we both create all botanical perfumes (of course, I also create mixed media as well) I had originally though that it would be  a way to explore some unusual naturals and we would both design in this palette.  For me it was not to be; I ultimately decided on a small portion of synthetics to create the overall architecture and for Mandy, she needed to morph her ingredient list from the original concept.

You would think that it’s normal to realize that things don’t always turn out always as you planned, and that’s true in life, but for me and with perfume designs, they usually do.  Maybe that’s because I plan it all out so thoroughly in my head before formulation that they just do.  As this formulation project was such a different process for me I was actually pretty amazed at the result.  It’s not what I had planned ( a grand , classic floral- floral ) but I do love what I made (a sexy, autumnal  spiced plum chypre).

** To check out the series of letter in their entirety, see Nathan Branch’s Blog.

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Our annual Holiday / Anniversary Party at the Essense Studio and Holiday Sale is ON!

Yes, it’s that time of year again when we give thanks for our fabulous customers (you) by throwing a party at the Studio and giving back the gift of 20% off all purchases from now until January 9, 2012.  Just use coupon code : Holiday11.  (And ps: You can use this coupon as many times as you like).

Now about our party:  Come one, Come all  to the Essense Studio 3rd annual anniversary / holiday party on December 3, 2011 from noon to 7:30pm.  We’ll have delightful refreshments, door prizes and of course wonderful Holiday launches for you to come get a sample of.  We’d love to see you, so if you will be anywhere near Boulder, Colorado on December 3, please come see us.  ** We’ll also have a preview at our December Nobo Art District Open House the night before, so do come out!