Filigree & Shadow
Founded in 2013, the name Filigree & Shadow emanates from a twice-borrowed reference to the song by Fever Tree. James Elliott is the Nose (le nez) of this fragrance house, a self-taught perfumer who began his informal study of perfumery in 2011, then later launched an inaugural collection of natural perfumes in 2015. The late Robert Hermann wrote, “His series of ethereal and complex fragrances established him as a first-class natural perfumer, proving small indie perfumers can more than hold their own when running with the big dogs.”
James released his first conventional fragrance in 2018 and continues to work using natural and synthetic materials. He made the choice in 2020 to use distilled water as the fragrance carrier after years of frustration with international shipping restrictions, exorbitant shipping costs, and lack of shipping options. Using water isn’t a new concept, but it is unusual to find in the indie sector. James’ uncompromising ethos and use of exquisite materials is what makes his perfumes so magical.
James finds inspiration in the emotional effects of fragrance, invoking memories yet to happen. He is also an olfactive synesthete, linking sensory precepts of smell to sound, and vice versa. This synesthesia creates unusual associations and truly unique perfumes using the time-honored tradition of top, middle, and base notes. Together, his perfumes reflect a coherent and deeply felt/lived aesthetic, full of sincerity, heart, and playfulness—but also skilled craft and technique.
James’ studio is located in West Seattle where he produces everything by hand.