The Lifestyle Edit: the great desert escape
Capture the essence of an American road trip and the beauty of the desert with the latest buys to transport you right there
So surround yourself with destination scents and waft around in prairie dresses and cowboy boots for an added sense of occasion, while you stay in your stationary sanctuary, plotting that future escape.
In association with Floral Street
From Bryson to Kerouac, Thompson and Twain, to O'Keeffe and Adams – great American road trips and the magic of the Arizona desert have long been a source of inspiration for writers and artists around the globe. Plus, it's an area where new-age mysticism and wellness collide with spas, hotels, and communities that are helping people to slow down, get back to nature, nurture the soul and hit refresh. There's also a new scent to complement this happy place, and it smells like the desert – only better.
Michelle Feeney, founder of Floral Street, knows this iconic landscape well. After working in the States and becoming inspired by desert life, she talks about her latest fragrance creation, developed with perfumer Jérôme Epinette, called Arizona Bloom – a gender-neutral, destination-scent, that is guaranteed to get you in the mood for your summer staycation.
Many summer scents hit the shelves around this time of year; most are an array of beachy clichés: 70s sunscreen, synthetic-smelling with a typical tropical top note. Yawn.
However, Floral Street's Arizona Bloom eau de parfum has much more to offer. It has plenty of grit, a pioneering spirit, with touches of dry desert heat mixed with warmed, salty skin and spice at its base – and it will appeal to all.
Michelle Feeney says:
'Arizona Bloom is free-spirited and nomadic. Its combination of dry, amber ingredients and crystallised musks give it a warmed skin sensation and a surprise element to the scent. This would absolutely appeal to everyone. At Floral Street, we use motivating and relatable words connected to moods and personalities and inspire people to select a fragrance based on how they feel – not by gender.'
This revolutionary approach doesn't stop at the gender-fluid fragrances. All formulas are vegan and housed in recyclable packaging and the 50ml eau de parfum comes tucked inside biodegradable boxes; the shower gels are in bio plastic tubes made from sugar cane. It is a brand that's getting back to nature and helping to care for the environment – the sacred desert being one of them.
'I have been lucky enough to experience the Arizona desert when I lived in the USA,' says Feeney. 'The inspiration for Arizona Bloom came two years ago as I was flying over the desert from LA to NYC. I had been to New Zealand, Australia, then San Francisco, and in "slow" places like Wellington, New Zealand, and then the craziness of West Coast cities. Flying over the Arizona desert with its vastness and intense colour provided a sharp contrast.
'This, along with how I saw fashion evolving, all the cowgirl fringing and prairie layering, inspired me to start working on a fragrance for the "urban cowgirl". A year later, I visited the Atacama Desert in Chile with my family. It is the driest desert in the world, and we hiked through vast salt lakes and cactus valleys, all at high altitude, under clear skies. This dry, high environment where earth and sky meet was so freeing to the spirit that I literally wanted to bottle it! It took over 18 months to get the formulation right!'
She adds: 'Via all my globetrotting, I felt a sense that the world population had to slow down and re-connect to the earth. Then the coronavirus hit, and I feel that while it is a terrible blow to humanity, in another way, it has given us a pause button to decide how we want to live in the future. I'm very much inspired by Native American women and their connection to the earth and nature. Tribal leaders make decisions and take into account how it will affect them seven generations on – if only the world would collectively do that.'
HOW TO RE-CREATE AN AMERICAN ROAD TRIP AT HOME
'My home study is full of special items collected from my travels. Being surrounded by those things plus a scented candle and music can transport me anywhere. I have a candle that is being launched in August, a sister to Arizona Bloom in a bright yellow jar, then play A Horse with No Name by the band America and I am off!' laughs Feeney.
THE AMERICANA EDIT
Floral Street Arizona Bloom Eau de Parfum, £60
Floral Street Arizona Bloom Eau de Parfum, £60 – buy here
Ansel Adams Cactus in Saguaro National Monument in Arizona Cornwall framed photographic print, £28.99
Ansel Adams Cactus in Saguaro National Monument in Arizona Cornwall framed photographic print, £28.99 – buy here
Ganni Low Texas embroidered suede ankle boots, were £430, now £258
Ganni Low Texas embroidered suede ankle boots, were £430, now £258 – buy here
The Last Days of California by Mary Miller, £17.99
Whistles Flower Berry Print Silk Dress, was £329, now £199
Whistles Flower Berry Print Silk Dress, was £329, now £199 – buy here
Raey Western-style fringed cashmere scarf, £100
Raey Western-style fringed cashmere scarf, £100 – buy here
Alanui 3.0 Icon Cashmere Cardigan, was £1,895, now £1,326
Alanui 3.0 Icon Cashmere Cardigan, was £1,895, now £1,326 – buy here
Etro Embellished Straw Hat, was £380, now £228
Etro Embellished Straw Hat, was £380, now £228 – buy here
Parlane Small Potted Desert Cactus, £70