I’m pretty sentimental when it comes to fragrances. A few have earned legendary status in my collection and I keep their bottles tucked away in my cabinet like glass time capsules. Max and Lulu look at them curiously sometimes, turning them over in their hands like the relics that they are. They end up a bit sticky and the juice inside might have faded but I can’t bring myself to throw them out. It would be sacrilege. These perfumes are love letters to my younger self.

Dress by Zimmermann. Lulu’s dress by Cotton On.

Michael Kors Signature is one such scent. The year was 2000. Sydney was hosting the Olympics. I was fresh out of school and I had just landed my dream job working in magazines (as a lowly Editorial Coordinator – but I was in heaven!). I bought pencil skirts and pussybow neck blouses to wear to work, and finally landed on a perfume that was the perfect combination of sophistication and allure. Michael by Michael Kors (as it was called back then) was a delectable honeyed ode to tuberose over a base that spoke of exotic luxury: smooth cashmere and leather, vetiver and incense.

The Michael Kors ad campaigns were jetset perfection. Impossibly gorgeous women swathed in silk and fur, disembarked private jets in exotic locations. I bought into the dream completely. Every time I spritzed, I conjured up fantasies of my own future as one of the Jetset (to the soundtrack of Peter Sarstedt’s – Where Do You Go To My Lovely?). I wore the perfume for several years. It was one of my first signature scents.

I remember one of my first group holidays away with friends. It was a bit later… I must have been about 23. We went to the Hyatt Regency Coolum up on the Sunshine Coast, which was a very glamorous golf resort back then. My boyfriend’s best mate’s parents had kindly allowed us to stay in their luxurious timeshare villa. Finally – I would have my MK moment.

Lulu’s dress by Printebebe.

I distinctly remember unpacking my beauty bag in the gleaming marble bathroom with barely contained excitement. I had purchased every item in the Michael Kors perfume franchise. And boy, was it extensive. There was the shower gel, the body lotion, the self tan, the shimmer-shot body cream and even a leg shine. (I’ve never seen a perfume line so well catered for – I don’t think there has been one since.) And for the rest of that holiday, my limbs were golden and gleaming, and everywhere I walked, I left behind a cloud of tuberose and jasmine.

Nearly 20 years later and miraculously, the scent hasn’t dated one iota. I can wear it without the cringe factor one often finds in a vintage perfume. In fact, when I wear it now it reminds me of that precious moment in time. The unfettered freedom of summer holidays with friends. Amazingly, that boyfriend became my husband. And now… well, the freedom was replaced by two beautiful children. But I wouldn’t change it one bit. I found myself telling Max about it the other day as he journeyed through the cupboard I keep my precious scents. I’ve got a new bottle of Michael Kors Signature now. It was one of my gifts for Mother’s Day, to replace the old one. It’s the perfect gift, in fact, whether it be for your mum or yourself. Of course Lulu wants to wear all my fragrances. I don’t want to dampen that enthusiasm but there are only so many fragrances your nose can take in one sitting!

Max’s outfit from Boden.

I do, however, try to teach the kids about fragrances, and their Proustian power to transport. How scent is a superpower of our senses and allows us to access parts of our memory. And in the same way that Michael Kors sends me hurtling back to a heady summer on the shores of Coolum, maybe the tuberose-spiked scent will remind Max of his mummy one day.

Words by Sigourney Cantelo. Photography by Camilla Quiddington.

In Association with Michael Kors.

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