A perfume friend of mine recently shared with me a wonderful article she wrote on fragrance in Decadence literature. It inspired me to start exploring this further, and I’ve begun reading Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. I’ll be sharing the references to scent I discover…
4160 Tuesdays’ Paris 1948 is a perfume constructed with a couture sensibility. It develops on the skin seamlessly, its notes gently meandering together to project a soft-focus sophistication, cocooning around me with a veiled opacity that is at once aloof and incredibly alluring. It skims the body like an exquisitely tailored shift dress; its beauty lies not what is obviously apparent, but what is underneath.
“The tuberose, with her silvery light, That in the gardens of Malay Is call’d the Mistress of the Night, So like a bride, scented and bright; She comes out when the sun’s away.” from Lalla Rookh by Thomas Moore.
Where possible Tuberose is a starting point for me when exploring a new line of perfumes. It is the note I am most familiar with and that I have the most appreciation for. I am always interested in finding new and interesting interpretations of Tuberose fragrances that highlight a different facet to this beguiling floral note.
When I first encountered Au Pays de la Fleurs d’Oranger’s Tubéreuse Rosée I wasn’t sure what to expect. The name alone sounds like it has all the makings of a heavyweight boxing match between two of the biggest divas of the olfactory stratosphere.
Today I had the absolute pleasure of taking in the Victorian Obsession exhibition at the stunning Leighton House Museum in Holland Park in London. This exceptional exhibition featuring works by Albert Moore, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse, Edward Poynter, John Strudwick, John William Godward culminates in a spectacular finale featuring Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s breathtaking The Roses of Heliogabalus showcased in a room where the scent of roses is diffused throughout.
I felt incredibly taken with the beauty of the portrayal of the scene playing out on the canvas juxtaposed against its very dark subject matter featuring people being drowned in rose petals.
Although photography is strictly forbidden throughout the museum, I could not resist sneaking just one little snap of this very moving piece…
The Roses of Heliogalabus, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, 1888
Yesterday evening I attended my first Perfume Lovers London event, Perfume and Well Being hosted by Lila das Gupta and presented by Tanya Moulding of The Perfume Mistress. Aside from running fragrance workshops, talks, private parties and perfume events, Tanya also works as an aromatherapist and had an extensive amount of information to offer to us about a variety of our favorite perfume accords, their history and the various ways she uses them in her line of work.
I first became aware of Alphonsine Plessis, who later became Marie Duplessis, one of the most famous courtesans, or demi-mondaines, of 19th century Paris during the reign of Napoleon III (1852 – 1870) while reading Virginia Rounding’s fantastic Grandes Horizontales, which details the lives of four of the most celebrated courtesans of 19th century France. Through her relationship with Alexandre Dumas, fils, who was one of Marie’s amant de coeurs (a lover of the non-paying variety), Marie Duplessis became immortalized as Marguerite Gautier in Dumas’ La Dame aux Camélias and then later as Violetta Valéry in Giuseppe Verdi’sLa Traviata, which I decided to listen to for the very first time ever whilst writing this review, and it is absolute stunning.
Maria Callas as Violetta Valéry in La Traviata
I had received samples Jardins d’EcrivainsGigi (also gorgeous) and La Dame aux Camélias from Bloom Perfumery in Spitalfields some time ago, and only just happened to have an “oh hello” moment with the La Dame aux Camélias sample a couple of days ago when I was tidying a drawer so I decided to have a moment with this beautiful fragrance and to explore La Dame aux Camélias.