Paddington, known for its blooming jasmine and jacarandas, smells even sweeter with this week’s opening of a boutique from luxe perfume retailer Libertine Parfumerie. The Oxford Street boutique is just metres away from chic shopping strip Glenmore Road, where other fragrance-forward brands including beauty label Aesop, Italian apothecary Santa Maria Novella and French candle maker Trudon are also based.
Scent’s ability to transport you somewhere (or sometime) else inspired interior designer Tamsin Johnson when she was brought on board to bring the destination to life.
“From the outset, Libertine Parfumerie’s founder Nick Smart was passionate about [bringing] something new to the Australian retail scene that gave visitors to the store an experience of discovery,” says Johnson (Lucy Folk Paddington, P Johnson). “Something elegant, richly decorated and with classic European influences. The joinery that displays the fragrances really speaks to this brief – it’s intricately detailed and inspired by the old pharmacies of Vienna, Milan and France.”
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Upon entering, you’re immediately hit with how airy the space is – necessary so the nose isn’t overwhelmed while exploring the plethora of products on the shelves. The sense of space comes courtesy of a central courtyard dividing the front section from the VIP room towards the rear, meaning the store can be opened to fresh air via large French doors.
The boutique stocks a range of fine fragrances from around the world, including scents from Oman perfume house Amouage, British brand Roja Dove and German-Portuguese brand Claus Porto.
“The feeling of discovery was an essential part of the design brief,” says Smart. “Visitors to the store should experience delight in coming across new and beautiful products. But we also wanted it to show the maturity of the Libertine brand: the joinery, fixtures, fittings and the layer of styling all needed to be polished and representative of where we feel we are as a brand in 2023.”
It also had to have the feeling of an oasis, an escape from the mundane and into something rare and wonderful. This is achieved via a calm colour palette that doesn’t compete with the treasure trove of products on display. Chocolate-stained European oak cabinetry was matched to the Versailles-style parquetry floor. Large timber tables are paired with high-backed vintage chairs reupholstered in brocade, and vintage pieces, such as 18th-century French marble wash basins, match the provenance of Libertine’s brands.
Smart founded Libertine in 2008; it has a store in Brisbane, as well as counters in Myer and David Jones stores around the country, and an online shopping platform. The launch of the Paddington store was something Smart describes as the “realisation of a 15-year dream”.
“It felt natural to be present in Sydney in a bricks-and-mortar capacity,” he says. “Call it a coming of age? Many of the brands in our portfolio and the outdoor lifestyles they skew towards are reflected in the way Sydneysiders live. Plus, it’s the place I’ve called home for 10 years now.”
Libertine Parfumerie – which offers scents ranging from the exotic and opulent to the artistic and avant garde – goes beyond wearable fragrances. It also stocks room sprays from Lola James Harper, skincare and soaps by Compagnie de Provence, candles by Carriere Freres and even laundry detergents by BDK and Juliette Has A Gun.
To mark the flagship opening, the boutique is hosting a one-day event from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, October 28. The first 60 guests to visit the store will be presented with a wild rose from Grandiflora, and all visitors will be offered free perfume samples from luxury fragrance houses. A barista will be on-site pumping out free coffee.
Shop 6/134–140 Oxford Street, Paddington
(02) 9167 5747