Sometimes a packaging concept is just so perfect that it hits all the right notes for a brand. Italian music-lovers Andrea and Chiara Valdo created Jusbox and launched their initial four-fragrance range last summer, and it’s just too beautifully done to go without comment. From the gorgeous 78ml bottles to the stunningly detailed vinyl record-like lids, to the detailed boxes and packaging materials, every detail seems to just hit the right spot, and it’s a joy to behold.
The four fragrances in the initial launch are each inspired by a different era of musical history, from Micro Love, a cold and metallic incense inspired by the early 90’s and the music of U2, to 14 Hour Dream, a spicy melange of ginger, saffron and vanilla which was inspired by the early 70’s and a little remembered concert by Pink Floyd, to Beat Cafe, the smell of cigars and brandy inspired by Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation of the sixties.
But it is, of course, the 80’s-tastic fragrance Use Abuse, inspired by the magnificent Freddie Mercury that I want to talk about, having grown up in that decade and all. Described by Jusbox as a tribute to all things in excess, and said things unconstrained by limits (whatever any of that actually means), Use Abuse is actually a huge white floral, containing “overdoses” of tuberose and jasmine sambac tempered by a wash of clean sandalwood in the base. Use Abuse – teetering on the edge of bad taste in all manner of ways, from the name, to the description and onwards – could have been a headache-inducing nightmare, in the style of Giorgio Beverly Hills and Poison and the like, but it lacks the throat-catching character of either, and also won’t make your eyes water.
Starting with a clean yet fizzy waft of mandarin orange and bubblegum (from the tuberose), Use Abuse is both amusement-inducing, and retro, without being simply a nostalgic exercise. On the skin it blooms with some rather plastick-y and synthetic white flowers when the jasmine arrives – and let us face it, there was very little natural about the 80s – but remains fizzy and fun throughout the wear, without ever really revealing anything particularly significant down in the depths of the dry-down. It’s rather linear, but that first hook grabs you in and doesn’t really let go whilst you’re wearing. Like a pop song you know is tacky and cheesy, but gets you onto the dancefloor every time anyway.
Altogether a lot cleaner and very much simpler than the actual fragrances we wore in the 80’s, Use Abuse is isn’t nearly as subversive, or even as deep as it’d like us to think it is (more Stock/Aitken/Waterman than Mercury et al) but it’s none the worse for that. It’s a good, fun wear, in what might just be the most perfect container of its type I’ve ever seen, and you can’t really get more 80’s than that.
£130 from Selfridges.
The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases