Given that the world is falling apart, it seems odd to be talking about scented candles. Or maybe it doesn’t. As we hurtle towards Christmas, with deeper austerity and a possible no-deal Brexit on the horizon, a nice smell might be exactly what we need.

It is certainly what we want, if sales are anything to go by. Net-a-Porter has seen a 180% spike in sales since the start of the month. According to the Business of Fashion, candle sales are growing faster than the rest of the fragrance market, rising by one-third over the past two years. It seems a desire to cocoon ourselves from the outside world (olfactory, thermal or something more insidious) is higher on the agenda. Welcome to the cult of “smellness”: a small-scale form of self-care in a destabilised world.

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Vijay Nanda

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