This month our ‘Scents of Style’ contributor is British bridal designer, red-carpet stylist and LCS friend Kate Halfpenny, founder and creative director of Halfpenny London. Having dressed brides all over the world earning a reputation for her truly unique, grown-up glamour approach, Kate’s strong sense of style is being put to enviable use in the form of her home renovation. Here she shares her obsession with Fornasetti Profumi Otto scented candles and where to shop for vintage finds…
At home, how important is fragrance to you?
From the moment I wake up, I start my day by scenting the house using a combination of candles and incense sticks so that I’m surrounded by fragrance whichever room I walk into. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember and love the moment when someone new steps through the door and straight away tell me that the house smells amazing!
Do you use different scents depending on the occasion or time of day?
I constantly change my fragrances in the same way I move furniture and objects around a room. For me, scent and my environment are so important and have to be in sync, so I use smell to set the scene whether I’m alone in my studio, dressing a bride or have a house full of people. Sunday lunches are a great excuse for me to light the fire and fill the house with two or three large Fornasetti Profumi Otto scented candles which I’m addicted to. We’re currently renovating an old vicarage and even though we don’t use every room, this fragrance has such incredible depth that it travels throughout the whole house and permeates the air meaning it’s everywhere. For me, it signals the scent of home.
What is your favourite London Candle Store candle scent/design and why?
For a long time, Fornasetti Profumi Scented Candles have been my go-to staple. I adore the Otto scent and don’t think I’ve ever had smelt another candle to rival it…and believe me I’ve tried! Even though the way things look in my home are important, when it comes to fragrance, I’m governed by the smell of a candle rather than the design. That said, I love the look of Cire Trudon simply because it suits my ever-changing, but always eclectic interior complimenting the mix of old and new.
Whenever the word ‘Bride’ is mentioned the first thought is the dress, followed by flowers and a colour scheme. How important is scent to the big day?
The moment I started to plan my own wedding, fragrance was an essential part of the day and integral to the ‘feeling’ I wanted to create to help ensure our guests felt totally immersed. Because scent is so important to my every day, I spent a lot of time considering how the sensory element complimented each visual aspect and chose different scents for the various places – church, bar area, dining room, chill out etc - making each area feel completely different and transformed. I also mixed my own perfume for the day by layering apricot with fig which brought me so much joy!
If you could design a candle to represent the perfect bridal bouquet – what ingredients/fragrance notes would you combine?
I would fill it with an abundance of Moroccan roses – full of intense fragrance and a beautiful, deep pink colour. There are so many different types of rose and I think we all tend to imagine the traditional English Rose when it comes to fragrances but for me, I love the complexity of this variety – it’s so beautiful and unexpected. I think this type of fragrance really reflects the personality of my brides who come to me wanting to incorporate their own bespoke twist on what’s normally considered traditional.
Your pieces often incorporate elements of sustainability, and the ability to re-love and reuse has always been important to you when designing. How do you embrace this at home?
I’ve been renovating our home in Kent for the past three years and have kept and repurposed all of the original features. I’ve just finished the pantry and removed old wooden shelves that didn’t work in that space but make great shoe storage in the boot room. We’ve also re-used a slab of marble in the bathroom because the quality is so amazing. I truly believe that our sustainability journey should begin at home and that we should constantly question the need for consumption vs what can we reuse and recycle? I’m a huge fan of Ebay and Etsy and spend hours searching for pre-loved furniture, especially anything Mid Century and Ligne Roset Togo sofas. Pamono.com is my latest sourcing secret!
Your home is full of the most amazing art (you’re a huge Kaws collector) – do you have a little black book in terms of galleries you love or museum’s that inspire you when it comes to what piece or artists work you would like next?
My husband is in the art world and he’s the one I rely on to introduce me to the most incredible pieces. I also love Instagram for discovering new talent and have recently commissioned @lucy.pass.artist who won Portrait Artist of the Year 2019 to paint our son. I also make a habit of sourcing art and objects from Antiques Markets including Kempton, Portobello and Faversham which happens on the first Sunday of each month - I don’t think I’ve ever left empty-handed. Finally, you can’t beat a day out to either Whitstable or Margate for dipping in and out of vintage shops hoping to find your next treasure.
To view the Halfpenny London bridal collection or to book an appointment, visit www.halfpennylondon.com or follow them on Instagram @halfpennylondon.