“Flâner” is a French word that reflects the act of wandering aimlessly – without a particular goal or destination, through city streets. It’s also the name of Melbourne-based perfume brand Flâner, which seeks to capture the fleeting moments and transient experiences of city life, which the team call ‘urban perfumery’.
Co-founders Mary Fox and Andrew Hardeman believe that “as the world speeds up, it’s more important to slow down,” which is why they chose to craft their fragrances slowly. All are prepared over many months and thoughtfully hand-filled, packed and mailed from the beating heart of Melbourne.
The niche perfume brand has amassed a cult following since it launched in December 2022 from a humble warehouse in Collingwood. Flâner has since opened their flagship store in a converted sixty-year-old barber shop and has now graduated to competing at a global scale on Gertrude Street between Le Labo and Aesop.
Designed by local architect Chris Thompson Studio, the restrained palette reflects the brand’s urban aesthetic in a sophisticated fashion. On opening the flagship store, co-founder Andrew Hardeman says, “Good fragrances are transportive, great ones are sensorial. We wanted to provide people with this space to share the artistic story that matches the scientific formulation behind each creation.”
The iconic barber shop location has been subtly reimagined. The rhythmic ceiling grid has been retained, upgraded, and used as an origin, with detail and alignment throughout the space dictated by this rectilinear language. Candy poles ‘remain’ in essence, wrapped in warm leather sheaths with striped stitching as a further nod to the previous era. A central marble counter acts as an anchor, surrounded by profiled timber cladding, textured paintwork and softened with touches of brushed metal, which help to complete the minimalist design that truly puts fragrance as the hero.
The store has been designed to provide people the opportunity to learn and discover fragrance beyond the perfume itself. A growing perfumer’s palette of over sixty oils housed in glassware can be freely opened, sniffed, and explored. Several testing areas exist for people to experience the full non-gendered range, akin to a vineyard cellar door tasting. Co-founder Mary Fox says, “We like to share the stories behind each fragrance and the individual notes in them. People learn about the fragrances at a deeper level and are often surprised about what new smells they like.”
Two new candles are now available for Christmas – a floral whimsical scent called Clouds of Cappadocia and a warm, spiritual option aptly named Oudh x Oud inspired by Arabic music and the famous agarwood.
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Flâner offers 100ml and 50ml bottles for $229 and $159 respectively. Candles are also available for $69. If you can’t make up your mind or are looking for a gift this Christmas, the Discovery set for $40 is a great choice. Every scent is unisex, and all Flâner products are vegan and cruelty-free, with no Parabens, Phthalates, Synthetic Dyes or Formaldehyde.
Each perfume evokes a different fragment of city life, from Paris in springtime (with Vive la Fleur) to a dimly lit Manhattan cocktail bar (with Manhattan Cherry) and a traditional wood-clad Japanese home (with Yakisugi Wood, inspired by the ancient Japanese art of preserving wood through fire).
Visit 191 Gertrude Street and let the exquisite smells of Flâner transport you near and far.