Wearing a Christopher Kane blouse depicting the anatomy of a flower, Charlotte Stockdale seems to bloom against the signature-cream walls of Jo Malone's Marylebone HQ. She is the perfume house's latest style editor and a fashion force to be reckoned with. This is the woman who was described by Karl Lagerfeld as "life incarnate," who was formerly Fashion Director of i-D Magazine and now of Garage, which she mans with her best friend and Editor of Love Magazine, Katie Grand.
Drawing on the power the sense of smell has to evoke memories, Charlotte's current collaboration with Jo Malone London focuses on scents that have the ability to take you to far-flung destinations. Wrapped in beautiful watercolour packaging, the home collection begins with grassy English summers, and then moves to the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, to Corfu, Barbados and Australia.
- How did this second collaboration with Jo Malone come about?
- The idea was to continue doing something that was personal to me, after the previous collection centred on the Cambridgeshire house I grew up in. James Gager (Jo Malone’s Creative Director) knew I was a big traveller and so we arrived at the idea of wanderlust. I associate places with smell, and this idea really hit me. I travelled by motorbike with my brother from London to Corfu, over the Alps and down through Italy. There is something about a helmet; it’s like a diffuser in the way it pulls in scents and amplifies them and I experienced so many different pockets of smell.
- How does your experience in Fashion, a very visual industry, translate into working with scents?
- Very easily – just like your choice of music says everything about you, the way you dress says everything about you, and the way you smell also says everything about you. Clothes and scents are always half about pleasing yourself and half about presenting yourself; about what you want to say to other people and what you want to attract.
- As a stylist, I’m sure you are often asked if there is one person you would love to style. Whose home would you most like to discover?
- Dolly Parton – she’s so brilliant, she once said, “It costs a lot of money to look this cheap!” I wouldn’t mind rifling around the Queen’s wardrobe; she is pretty iconic.
- In the same way that travel has influenced your home collection, is your own home a collection of the places you’ve been?
- Well, it was before I married Mark Newson and now we have a whole new life together! I used to collect knick-knacks left, right and centre, which I’ve slightly trained myself out of, as I have no space. I bought furniture in Beijing and rugs in Morocco and shipped it all back. I bought bottle openers in Dallas and handbags and all this stuff I didn’t need from Southfork! My life was cluttered with things from my travels and photographs of all the places I’d been.
- Is there one smell from your travels that you wouldn’t want to bring home, that you would want to forget about?
- Uh, yes I wouldn’t want to bring home the smell of the place where the hot water comes up in Saturnia in Italy. It’s fantastic and very good for you but there’s sulphur there and so it smells like eggs…I wouldn’t recommend it.
- What is the first smell you can remember?
- Getting off the plane aged 4 or 5 in Corfu. The door opens and the warmth and the scent of all the wild grasses and herbs hits you like a wall. It’s just like wow, home.
- What is special about the scents of Australia, Morocco, Greece and Barbados that you would want to bring them home? Do they conjure up certain images for you?
- Yes, definitely. Australia for me is Sydney harbour. I really didn’t know what it looked like before I visited and it’s only when you get on someone’s boat and you drive around the bay that you really appreciate how beautiful it is. In Morocco it was really the Atlas Mountains that got me. They are so bleak yet so warm somehow. Greece is cypresses and sparkling blue water. Barbados is a beautiful house I stayed in with palm trees, clear blue water and pink sands.
- Is there one place within each of those destinations that you would go to escape, to explore and to be inspired?
- To escape and to be inspired in Australia, I would go outside of Sydney. I travelled north along the coast to Cairns and that was really beautiful; I felt like I was stepping into a tropical world that you would otherwise only ever see on films. For Greece, I would get on a boat and sail around the Ionian Islands, or walk up to the monastery on top of Mount Pantokrator in Corfu. From there you can see Northern Greece, Albania and all of Corfu. For Barbados, I know the beaches are absolutely gorgeous but the real Barbados is inland. There’s a place called Fisher Pond and they do old school BBQ lunches on Sundays – that’s real Barbados. In England, I think Dartmoor is magic – it’s like stepping into a Daphne du Maurier novel with all of its mystery and extreme weather changes. I’d go for good long walk in Dartmoor and then find a pub and have a well-deserved lunch.
- Where would you like to travel to next?
- I’d like to go to Ladakh; it borders Tibet and you can get to it by train. It’s very high up and you have to go quite slowly because of the change in altitude. It’s quite an extreme and holy place I think. I’d also like to go to the Galapagos Islands and I’d like to go on an icebreaker to the Antarctic but when I priced that up…yeah, it was quite expensive!