A kind of innocence: CAMELIA IRIS by E COUDRAY (1946)





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 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;  delicate ladies in their white and red polka satin sixties dresses,  the air filled with a beautiful cotton white lightness of clean fresh spring petals, that, in the context ( fat, hairy men ) was troubling – yet touchingly right.

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.




Filed under Flowers

12 responses to “A kind of innocence: CAMELIA IRIS by E COUDRAY (1946)

  1. Katherine

    White with red polka dots sounds just lovely, and with an air of spring petals…makes me want to drift off somewhere strange! 🙂

  2. Dearest Ginza
    A magnolia perfume so slight that it has the scent of a delicate drag artiste’s nineteen sixties silk dress.
    Sounds divine.
    I need to get to know Coudray better too.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Much of the line is very powdery vanillaresque bordering on the putain, but this one is an anomaly (and perhaps why it has disappeared ). It is quite odd, but as you say, there was a strange beauty there that was very touching.

  3. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    I watched a TERRIFYING Japanese horror film last night, Takashi Miike’s ‘Audition’…alone.

    Somehow this feels right for today.

  4. Sounds lovely. Too bad Coudray fragrances are all so sweet and twee these days. Tulipe noir was a really lovely scent.

  5. Strangely enough I was trying a Coudray yesterday, having popped into Les Senteurs on arriving at Victoria! It was a really sweet vanilla one though – Vanilla and Coco – but there was something a little disconcerting in the deliciousness of its sweetness that evoked something of those 80s American horror films where adolescent girls in white-boarded houses with lacy interiors found themselves haunted or possessed by evil spirits…

    • There is. When I went there, to my horror and shame I actually left with that one, in the body oil, by far the sweetest thing in the shop. And with all those classy birds on offer that I could have bought, I felt like the missy with those taste.

      You are absolutely right. There is a roiling adolescent sugar thighing at the heart of it all. The vanille-lashed teenageress in nightdress and floorboards possessed by the throbbing satan disco of musk

      • ninakane1

        Emily is currently packing to go on her Paris trip with the school, and showed me her ‘perfume bag’ which is full of Marc Jacobs, Eau de Sisley, Eau de Cartier… As I was showing her my recent London hoard the Coudray sat there demanding ‘LET HER SMELL ME’ so I tentatively offered it to her little wrist! She took one sniff and was in milky-eyed raptures! It was seriously divine on her – totally suited her!! I smelt her arm and it was seriously EATABLE!! Should I worry? Am I a dreadful mother? What curse is now unleashed..? ‘It was an ordinary school trip to Paris…’

      • Are you joking?

        You are merely helping her to open the multi-sensorial floodgates. Her brain and soul will thank you for it later.

        The Vanille Coco?!

      • ninakane1

        I’m impressed you came out with the bath oil! Good call!! Missy indeed! Utterly sweet indulgence. Were you giggling along Belgravia? I also tried the Rosine Rose Praline and a violet one by her too! How strange is that range? Utterly 70s! It reminded me of something that my nana would have worn for an evening dance at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom – unctious, insolent and sweet. If I were to have bought anything yesterday though I would have gone for the Teint de Neige EDP. I do love that shop – so light and airy and clean – and the assistants are always so sweet.

      • Teint De Neige!

        You know I have that one as well. It’s a world unto itself.

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