When I was 17 my final high school English assessment was to critically analyze the idea that one could feel connected to the notion of place; that physical surrounds could foster a sense of belonging. The work I specifically analyzed was a poem by Robert Frost titled The Tuft of Flowers where two people who have never met in the flesh are connected by tending to the same garden. My takeaways were somewhat surface level, but I still managed to grasp the idea that where you are, or where you come from, can alter the way you see the world. It’s something that’s stayed with me well into adulthood, where travel and discovering new places are defining factors in everything I do (until the pandemic, that is).
Years of my life are now marked by trips I’ve taken, wardrobe items are linked to the country of purchase and I spend hours in my kitchen at home trying to recreate flavors experienced abroad. This intrinsic idea of place is something that’s also punctuated my career as a beauty editor. Brands and products are so often inextricably linked to the story of where they come from – just look at the French pharmacy, K-Beauty and native Australian skincare ingredients. More and more we see brands celebrating their roots, blurring the lines between brand culture and actual culture.
When considering this beauty series for GRAZIA, I wanted to look into this idea of finding a sense of place through beauty – experiencing the world through fragrances, ingredients, rituals and sensations. It feels especially relevant, given a huge part of the world can’t travel at all right now, albeit for essential reasons. And even when restrictions lift, it feels as if the pilgrimage to new places will be more timid versions of their former selves.
So here, I’ve put together a world map of a different kind; one that looks at places via products, whether it’s a perfectly Parisian lipstick, a zesty citrus scent that captures all the light of the Amalfi in a single spritz, or an 800-year-old fragrance hand made by Italian monks in the world’s oldest pharmacy. We can’t travel, but we can have tiny pieces of the world in our bathroom vanity, and I think that’s special.
Your journey awaits…