Earlier last week, Amna Al Habtoor transformed a dingy warehouse in Al Quoz into a stage for an immersive theatre performance for the launch of her highly- anticipated niche fragrance collection, Arcadia. The ten-piece range is Al Habtoor’s first foray into beauty, and came to life from memories of her late mother. “With scent being such a powerful trigger for emotions, I was able to reminisce meaningful moments with her and revisit them time and time again. This fueled my passion for perfume and compelled me to start experimenting with my own mixtures. I loved the idea of bookmarking a significant time in your life and being able to return to it, simply, with a familiar aroma,” she tells Vogue Arabia.
Al Habtoor reveals that working in the family business for years (her father Sultan Al Habtoor is the president of Habtoor Motors,) enabled her to grasp how a successful business runs before launching her own. “I wanted to come out from under the protective wings of that role and create something on my own, something that connected my business experience and my passion. With scents and perfume being such a big part of the Gulf culture and the desire for luxury niche companies on the rise, Arcadia was born.”
The made-in-the-UAE collection of scents draws inspiration from the idea of a utopian existence, which is apparent in the illusive name. “It seemed a fitting name to describe that exact moment when a familiar scent first strikes you. The theme is definitely nostalgia and the euphoric experience that occurs while reminiscing,” she explains. Rather than the typical flower names or signature numbers, the cruelty-free scents include Candy Dust, which she describes as an intoxicating blend of lemon, jasmine and patchouli; while Vanilla Pod conjures sweet whiffs of mandarin alongside fresh floral notes. Each scent features a mix of ‘“traditional’” and ‘“modern’ ” notes aimed for “a modern and progressive audience who enjoys living outside the box of gender, culture , and society.”
The eaux come in minimalistic, glass bottles made to mimic the ancient potions one may find at an apothecary. “The idea implies the contents of the bottles have magical or healing properties. The silhouette of steps is symbolic of being a passageway uniting things, places, and states of being.”
The Arcadia range is available online at www.arcadiame.com, at all the Zoo Concept locations, and the pop-up at City Walk 2. Each bottle retails for AED 350.