What Ever Happened to Miller Harris?

Gotta organize this..

Looking through my stash the other day I happened across a couple of Miller Harris frags- a bottle of Fleurs de Sel I had secreted and one of L’Air du Rien I bought at a ridiculous markdown at, I think, Loehmann’s (when that existed) Both are loved (I am wearing FdS again as I type) but one is apparently not coming back any time soon. Miller Harris apparently isn’t coming back soon to the States, and that’s a pity.

I first ran across them at Saks in Beverly Hills, which at the time had a small specialty and niche section in the back of the big art deco allée des fumes. They also showed up at ScentBar in LA, where Gaia, The Non-Blonde and I played with them and she, or was it I? Purchased Geranium Bourbon. I know I had it and loved it. I also had Tangerine Vert, which had been discovered via a sample sent along by Saks (see how that works, perfumers?) and was with me an immediate hit. TV was one of three samples sent by Saks in NYC since at the time FdS was an exclusive to the Fifth Avenue store- on a subsequent to NYC while out playing with Gaia (lordy how much do I miss my scent twin!) I can still see the look on her face when she tried it- that blank surprise of “why is this working for me, and so well when it’s supposed to be everything I hate in a bottle?” (she turned me on to Sous le Vent so I guess she won.)

Then L’Air de Rien came out.

L’Air de Rien was created for and with the input of Jane Birkin: actress, artist, muse, and person for whom the eponymous bag was named- and yes, the humor inherent in the fact that bags that cost more than most people’s cars were created for basically a rich hippie is in no way lost upon me. The scent itself is what a rich hippie’s bag might smell like- bits of fluff, old pot (or pot pourri) altoid tins, maps, books, cigarettes, lip balm, the works. Plus a fair bit of funk, like the bag itself had sweated. Some people I know recoiled from it. I loved it, and it’s the only one I can find that I did that’s still available.

I actually would be interested to read what happened to Miller Harris in the US- they went from the heights of exclusive to Saks to being on sale at Bloomingdales to the discount hell of TJ Maxx to gone in seemingly record time and I cannot for the life of me fathom why. They did scents that were at the very worst nice, if not challenging (for the most part) and more than a few that in my estimation were knock-it-out-of-the-park hits. I am glad to see that LdR is still out there being delightfully weird and available to ship but it’s sad that some of the others aren’t and kind of kills me that FdS is just, seemingly, gone. Want to start a petition to bring it back?

Do you have a favorite Miller Harris? Do you have the skinny on why they’re not in the US anymore? Please spill the tea in the comments.

Miller Harris is available at their website. L’Air de Rien is $158 for 11ML. My bottles were purchased from various retailers. Surrender to Chance has a good selection of them to sample. Photos are mine and from Pexels.

  • Musette says:

    Miller Harris was always a hit/miss for me, often in the midst of a bottle! My first MH was Citron Citron and I still have the body oil and perfume. Some days it’s sublime and others a migraine in a bottle! (shrug emoji).
    L’Air du Rien….never quite ‘got’ that one, but then I never quite ‘get’ any of those barn-y scents.
    I remember when EL bought out Lyn Harris (as well as when MH dissolved – at least here) but I don’t remember much else about it.

    • Tom says:

      I guess I wasn’t paying attention to that. It seems to be the death knell of most Niche houses: Lauder or LVMH will swallow them up and either keep them going like FM or let them die a quick death like MH. There are a couple that I actually think may have just been made as bait to get that LVMH cash- in any case I hope Ms. Harris got a thumping good deal out of it. Now of she could just release something called “salty swamp flowers” under her new brand I’d be thrilled.

  • Maya says:

    Can’t help on the Miller Harris questions. For some reason, I pretty much ignored this line. I did try La Pluie once. It was one of those frustrating if only perfumes, as in if only there was this little tweak…..In La Pluie’s case, it was the wheat note. I didn’t like it, but think I would have liked the perfume if it weren’t there.

    • Tom says:

      A lot of the MH line seemed almost to be treading the same road as Jo Malone (although IMHO 100 times more interesting) I was just shocked at how quickly it went from the darling of Saks to the depths of the discounters. I remember it being only about a year.

  • March says:

    Oh, Gaia. What a lovely person she was. I never fell in love with any of this line but I thought they were really well done in general. Unlike you, LdR was suuuuper barnyard-y on me, and not in a good way hahahaha. I’d throw it on for that weird ride but never wanted to properly wear it out in public. Wonder if I could even smell it now (eyeroll).

    • Tom says:

      Gaia was a lovely lady and we had this weird thing- we were (as she put it) “scent twins” in that we had exactly the same skin chemistry. If it smelled one way on me it smelled the same way on her- so much so she would use my admittedly long arms as extra testing space.

      I still remember that blitz on Fifth Avenue when we tried JAR and terrified the SL guy at Barneys with our knowledge of the line and “Village of the Damned” act.

  • Portia says:

    Miller Harris is cool. we have a good selection here but it seems the one I recently fell in love with La Fumee Ottoman has been DCd and nowhere has it.
    Portia xx

  • cinnamon says:

    No help on US. The only one that I really liked (or that really worked on me) was L’Air de Rien. But not enough to buy a bottle. Lyn Harris now has a line and a shop in London called Perfumer H. Fairly pricey but the candles are within ‘normal’ range — and the concept looks interesting (there’s one called Ink I’m curious about). She also has less expensive stuff at Marks & Spencer.

    • alityke says:

      I have M&S Poudre by Lyn Harris. It is probably the one I get most compliments on. Sadly the M&S range has been d/ced too.
      Though M&S are going through a phase of having quality scents at very good prices

    • Tom says:

      Oh good for her! I will have to look that up.

  • alityke says:

    Since Estée Lauder Inc bought out Lyn Harris, many of her creations have disappeared into fragrant myth. I bought FdS for DH as he enjoyed a sample I’d been sent. He never opened it! I sold it on. L’Air de Rien went the same way. I regret releasing them to the wild now.
    I’m always grateful when lines release fragrances they are going to d/c to TKMaxx (UK name). It gives us the chance to grab them before they are guillotined.
    Unlike some houses who have ultra tight control & who never announce a d/c.

    • Tom says:

      Our local TJ Maxx was a victim of rising rents. I need to go see where there’s one near.

      • alityke says:

        The UK has a website but not everything gets on there. Worth a peruse though

        • Tom says:

          It’s the same with ours. I think products go in and out so quickly that it’s not worth posting them. I know here there are die-hard TJ Maxx shoppers who go practically daily.