‘Isn’t scent the ultimate accessory?’
If you don’t recognise Chris Collins, then you should! After two decades of working full-time as a global ambassador for Ralph Lauren, his face is iconic. What’s more, whilst criss-crossing the globe on assignment, he has clearly acquired a considerable knowledge of luxury, lifestyle and culture!
Fascinated by scent from his teenage years in Harlem, the dapper Mr Collins has decided to channel all that inspiration into ‘The World of Chris Collins’ These three fragrances, Renaissance Man, Danse Sauvage and Harlem Nights, are one mans olfactory love letter to his locale, and each of these stellar scents is worth experiencing.
I caught up with him before his latest launch at Jovoy London to talk scent and style, the business of fashion…and how to unwind in an increasingly hectic world. Thanks Chris, it was inspirational!
Do you think that men are paying more attention to their appearance?
Yes, in my opinion, men are much more in tune with taking care of themselves, I’d say it’s the new Age of the Gentleman. There’s huge demand for style, grooming, and fragrance products for men — and with a variety of skin and body types! That said, most men may still need a little education.
Whats your earliest olfactory memory?
The connection between scent and memory is fascinating isn’t it? For me it is an intensely personal and emotional memory, that of sitting on my fathers knee. I was aware of his signature scent from a very early age, and if I close my eyes I can almost smell it.. Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene. I was fascinated by everything about it: the bottle, the label, even the flannel bag it came in!
So how important is fragrance in your life?
To me, its impossible to separate scent from style. Isn’t it the ultimate accessory, the finishing touch to an outfit or a look…. rather like cufflinks or a tie pin? It’s the crucial sophisticated finishing touch and speaks volumes about an individual.
How did working for Ralph Lauren impact on your decision to launch your own brand?
I’d say that I have had THE best education in brand building. Modelling (as those in the industry know) is much more than standing on set in front of a camera. So over the past two decades I’ve learned such a lot through his incredible retail success. I’ve watched how he has ‘built an experience’ through impeccable design, attention to detail and an emotional connection with his consumers.
What inspires you?
Travel continues to feed me creatively, whether it’s travel from city to city for work or just relaxing on a beach. I’ve recently been in Bora Bora and did some Yoga there, it helped to disconnect me from technology, relax, refresh and feed my soul.
In terms of grooming, what is your one ‘go to’ product
For me looking good and feeling great are connected, so I do take care of what I put inside my body. I drink lots of water to stay hydrated and to help me look my best from the inside out, I also exercise. For my skin, something as simple and nourishing as cocoa butter slathered all over will take me from rough to rugged looking… instantly.
So would you build on the success of your fragrance line?
Never say never..I’m obsessed with luxury accessories and small leather goods, so watch this space!
Interview: Nick Cox.
1. The Body Shop Coconut Nourishing Body Butter £6.00 for 50ml.
2. Chris Collins Giving Great Face.
3. The Weary Blues By Langston Hughes.
4. Danse Sauvage.
5. Chris Collins For Ralph Lauren.
6. Harlem Nights.
7. Chris Collins and Nick Cox Editor of The Grooming Guide.