I may have smashed a bottle of perfume yesterday but I more than made up for it today. At the flea market, not only did I find a pure perfume of the legendary Shiseido Inouï, but also, as well as a ragbag of samples and rather spiffing, and certainly outlandish ties, an exquisitely perfect 30ml ‘esprit de parfum’ bottle of the unsurpassably elegant lily- of-the-valley, Diorissimo.
To be honest, I almost didn’t buy it. I had spent enough, and such perfumes don’t suit me, no matter how beautiful they may be. However, we had left, carrying our plastic bags stuffed with bargains, and oddities, yet I found myself stopping in my tracks at the exit of the building in Shinagawa and thinking. I just couldn’t leave it. It was calling me. That smooth, soft-edge bottle. The gold and ivory cap. And the fact that it was a perfume strength edition (30ml!) of Roudnitska’s masterpiece that I had never seen before in my perfume hunting exploits.
I went back. 3000 yen (or thirty dollars!). It smells so dense, and creamy, and chic; so much more involved and involving than the fresher (and more feminine) eau de toilette; the muguet and rose, and fresh woodland greens swirling together in silent, cold, inspiration, like the breath of marble; an atrium. That underlying, brilliantly subliminal addition of a sly and perfectly judged civet. The boronia flowers; the amaryllis. An almost otherworldly coronation of white and green that is mature; immaculate, fitted; magical.
Smelling this perfume you can smell Paris. A Paris that has possibly disappeareed. . The hard, inviolable whiteness of a hatbox at Avenue Hoche. The slipping off, assuredly, of a glove for a specially designed dress fitting. A chamber; an assistant: a sequestrated, closed off inner sanctum. A Parisian, haute couture, and unattainable world of almost cruel, and unspeakable, luxury.