In the notorious district of Shinjuku Nichome there are small, intimate underground venues that stage the most elaborate and effective Tokyo drag. In a recent springtime revue there were two creatures of exquisite, quivering femininity: with great poignance in his generous figure and high shoes, the star and his partner entered, having shivered outside in the cold until the right moment had come. They really were the most delicate ladies in their white and red polka satin sixties dresses, and when they came in, the air was filled with a beautiful cotton white lightness of clean fresh spring petals that in the context (fat, hairy men) was troubling, yet touching.
At the Shinagawa fleamarket the next day by some strange coincidence I was astonished to come across a graceful perfume that seemed to possess this exact same quality, almost as if this had been the perfume of the night before (a scent I hadn’t been able to identify) : the little known, and slightly difficult to find, E Coudray’s Camélia Iris. This perfume (originally from 1946) is a curiously haunting spring floral with a delicate whiff of confectionery: virginal; evasive, like a celestial magnolia soap.