THE QUIET LIFE : EAU D’ORANGE VERTE by HERMES ( 1979) + WOMAN III by JILL SANDER ( 1985)

 

 

IMG_3742

 

 

I was strangely restrained on Saturday. Partly this is because I have to be – I have not been paid since the end of May, and won’t be til the end of September – but also because after all the years of tidal vintage, I am perhaps inured to the sight of a Miss Dior extrait, a Madame Rochas, a Nina Ricci Farouche, because I EXPECT to find these twilight treasures just tossed in the bargain bins now: a Joy here, a Diorissimo there; old No 5 and Guerlain Mitsouko, half-drained; unboxed, unloved, history; and as long as I have a pristine, or as close to pristine as is possible example of those particular perfumes in my collection for reference purposes, for reasons of economics and just plain common sense, now I largely leave them.

The recycle shops of Tokyo don’t discriminate by quality. The cheapest imitation scents will be unceremoniously jumbled up alongside along the finest, and yet for me this is part of the pleasure: it’s all in the breath-bating excitement of the potential; the rare but possible holy grail. In Asagaya, however, site of the first shop that we went to, the best selections had already been skimmed by my friend Zubeyde, who lives there and who came to our house last week with some UNBELIEVABLE finds, some of which she gave me ( in return, I presented her with bottles of Jacomo Parfum Rare and Lancôme’s vintage Sikkim – which she did like very much but which unfortunately means ‘fuck you!’ in Turkish), and one which is on loan to me for the summer, just so I can LOOK at it, ogle its Parisian grandeur, but I will perhaps leave these more boudoiresque beauties for another post ( I am quite slow at the moment- this post is already a week overdue and out of date)………suffice it to say that even in the gradually dwindling sea of Tokyo thrift shop vintage, miracles still do happen.

 

I plan to do a full and comprehensive Tokyo Guide To Perfume soon. In fact I wanted to get it written before Persolaise ( that suave and urbane writer of the perfect perfume prose) and his wife, the legendary Madame Persolaise, come to stay at our house tomorrow and Thursday night so that they could use it for practical purposes while traversing the city, but I need to be fully mobile and of rational, detailed mind in order to do so, to research all the metropolis’ most newly unveiled ( and utterly superfluous, frivolous) retail spaces in the city such as Ginza, Shinjuku, and Harajuku, to do it proper justice. Any valid fragrant guide to Tokyo will need to include everything from ‘fine fragrance’ and the most venerable incense establishments through to the downtown scuzzy emporia that D and I adore to frequent ( I think it is the ‘one-offness of these places that so appeals; the element of chance, the singularity of the experience over the ruthlessly mathematicized and super-elevated profit margins of the concept-inflated baloney of the niche counter); the more down-to-earth jumble bins aimed at the more modestly earning shopper, the friendliness. One is Tifana:chain of recycle shops situated along the shabbier, more human stations of the Chuo Line, and a part of Tokyo that we have truly come to love and become a part of ( it is here that we do our cabaret): rambling railtracks and antiquated, ‘shotengai’ shopping streets, invaluable, warm, because they still have the individual, generational charm of hardworking establishments run by families and not just trending, soulless conglomerations. Buying a brand new niche perfume in Shinjuku’s Isetan ( something that I find I am doing less and less these days, I just can’t really afford it )is very exciting, but finding an endangered, beauteous  classic at a twentieth of the price among the bargain priced detritus is surely even more so.

 

Saturday I was feeling more frugal. Look, but do not touch. There is a certain pleasure to be had in that more sensible, level-headed approach for once – the joy of saying no. A new place we found in a neighbourhood I had not explored before yielded two places, another Tifana and also a more antiques-like place in Nishi Okubo ( I think), more chichi with vintage clothes and overpriced ornaments and some fifties Chanel colognes (just the fonts on the boxes could be enough for me); some Givenchy, and a beautiful Blue Grass vintage bottle that I liked but didn’t buy, even though it was only the equivalent of about ten dollars (that decision I am slightly, mildly, regretting now.) Likewise I was intrigued by Cuio Vero, a soft and balsamic, powdered but modern leather by Dr Vranjes di Firenze, whose interior perfumes I love as I tend to any profumeria Italiana for their escapist, artisanal but simple goodness, but this was in fact a ‘car perfume’, I don’t really wear leathers much, nor drive for that matter, and it was a bit expensive to just spray around the house on my curtains, even just to try and attempt to impress a well known perfume writer. Uncharacteristically, I desisted.

 

 

It was nice to see some hard to find perfumes by Molyneux:, both Quartz and Fete, a Dior Dune parfum; but again I resisted temptation and eventually just ended up taking two bottles of perfume home with me :  Hermes Eau D’Orange Verte and something I have never found here before, vintage Jill Sander Woman 3.

 

Eau D’Orange Verte, a scent that is just perfect for this hot weather, and a scent I can spray on with abandon, is interesting for me in that it is an introverted shade of orange; cool, subdued, even verging on depressive, which is unusual for a note that we more usually associate with energy, happiness, and uplift.  Like Caron’s Alpona, these are the orange groves at night, umbrous, more mysterious, when the sun has long gone down and the night shadows brush the branches; the oiled, contained, petitgrained leaves. If I find it in some ways incomplete, this scent, unfinished ( it is not something I could ever give my whole heart to), the subtlety and yin of this refined and semi-cerebral citrus to the usually yellower, solar yang are, I think, precisely what appeal to me about it. This was a good buy.

 

 

Woman III, a complex, but gentle spiced floral chypre from 1985, is a uniquely soothing, and not much discussed, rose patchouli composition with a long list of ingredients including bay leaf and coriander that to me comes across as the most perfectly realized pot pourri, delicately tingeing the porcelain still air of an English summer cottage; mellow, loving, tranquil.  Pinpointing the feeling more exactly, it is a  particular holiday we once had down in Looe, Cornwall, as a child, where I remember the intensity of the gentleness of the bedspreads and pillows of our quaint little rented holiday house (I was always so deeply receptive to, and filled with, new environments as a child; their unfamiliarity would completely thrill me, particularly the smell; like the dark, cold, interior of an urn I would take up temporary residence in its still, fragrant new world of harbouring quietness as though I no longer existed, but in a good way); just sink into the cold white sheets and new covers of my bed, sleep like an angel, and this perfume, though deceptively dressy and ‘put together’ at first, has this precise quality for me; its heart notes and base like a freshly laundered eiderdown of tender, Wedgewood reassurance.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3567.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Duncan’s flip flops on the day we had some torrential rain and thunder)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

 

 

 

 

As you will gather from this, my brain has kind of turned into incoherent mush. I have so much to write about in terms of perfume, my recovery, this summer, Persolaise’s visit, life and the universe, but there is a backlog in my mind, I can hardly think straight (might also be all the painkillers, which I am coming off now, actually, hardly take them). Writing is taking me longer. My days, now Duncan is also off for the summer, have just turned into a pleasant wooze of hot lazy

23 Comments

Filed under Flowers

23 responses to “THE QUIET LIFE : EAU D’ORANGE VERTE by HERMES ( 1979) + WOMAN III by JILL SANDER ( 1985)

  1. I can truly understand your sentiments and relate to how you feel. But honestly, with every year of life, things kind of get worse and you realize it is what it is….which is the luckiest one can get at this point.

    • I am not 100% sure what you mean exactly here, Filomena. I am personally quite happy at the moment in my extended dream state, even if I don’t have much mental clarity. I hope your own life is good. The world outside seems more terrible than ever in many ways though I have to agree, if that is what you mean. I am kind of trying to ignore all of that to a certain extent at the moment to be honest.

  2. MrsDalloway

    Nice teaser – look forward to Zubeyde’s unbelievable finds. Funny about Lancôme Fuck You. Of course there is also its La Collection stablemate, Queer de Lancôme, and I’m hoping Sagamore means something indecent in Hungarian.

    I like Eau d’Orange Verte and should probably pick up a discounter bottle some time. My favourites of the colognes is Narcisse Bleu, which I like better each I wear it.

    Glad you are having a nice woozy summer and able to come off the painkillers. Are you back to work in September?

    • Yes but don’t remind me! It’s funny you should mention Narcisse Bleu – I found myself wanting to splurge on a bottle the other day. What aspects have come more to the fore?

      • MrsDalloway

        I’m finding it a really nice cool (chilly) iris scent, much more than anything to do with narcissus. Just checked back to your review and I see you got that from it too. I also love Alice’s comment about the whiffs of building site: plaster dust (which must be the iris) and sawn timber. It *is* somehow the most beautiful building site ever and being aware of those elements helps make sense of it.

        I recently picked up Infusion d’Iris EDT and in some ways it is similar, but a bit less timber and more ‘perfume’? I need to wear it some more.

      • You see Infusion D’Iris is a very well made kind of thing, but you instantly would smell safe and commercial and a wee bit suffocated by sweetness. Narcisse Bleu surely gives more room for manoeuvre.

      • MrsDalloway

        Yes, definitely, though the EDT seems quite different to the other IdI versions; different set of notes without the mandarin and benzoin and with galbanum. I just noticed a similarity when I first put it on – I haven’t really got to grips with it yet. Just ‘iris’ perhaps!

        I’m curious again about the Histoires de Parfums Tubereuse you reviewed –
        getting quite a taste for cementy iris. But luckily/ unluckily Notino no longer has a good price on the big bottle, so can resist temptation for now.

      • I was thinking exactly that when you mentioned the cementy iris. Oh that stuff is fine, you can trust me on that one.

      • Perhaps you ought to try the new Comme des Garcons Cement as well, if you are getting a real taste for the scent of construction materials.

  3. Nice to see a post, thank you!

  4. emmawoolf

    Firstly, so glad to hear of a cheering and profitable shopping trip. You are back on your feet in more ways than one. Hurrah. Secondly: vintage Woman III? What a wonderful find! How I would love to smell it again (one day?). Were you in fact with me when I made my purchase in the early 90s? Was it in Harrods? My memory fails me. I have a more recent version that I believe I shared with you a few years ago (at Ally’s, if you remember), but it’s not a patch on the original. Hugh found a bottle in Schiphol airport because I think the Netherlands is one of the few countries where it can still be found. I think Jil Sander was taken over by Coty and my version is similarly cheapened. Not clean-sheety enough if you ask me, much more shrill, blousy, even power suity. I love your pot-pourri description though, it’s deeply floral and herbal. I wore it to the theatre once and felt very sorry for the people sitting next to me. But perhaps I should give it another go. Good to have you BACK x

    • Naturally I thought of you E and will share it with you next time I see you. It’s a bit pungent at the beginning as all the perfumey ingredients coalesce, but the base is as I remember it. Your sillage was superb in this. Woman III really does remind me of that Cornish cottage though. Unlike all the other what I call the ‘witchy chypres’ which are quite seductive and dark, only this one has a similar mien initially but that more ‘loving’ feeling later on.

      • emmawoolf

        I think the sillage of this is quite full-on in most people, but yes, it really does last a whole day (and night, if necessary!). Yes it’s not dark and seductive like Eau de Soir, it’s definitely, warmer, kinder, I like your idea of it being more loving. I will wear it more often, otherwise the 100ml bottle will definitely outlive me. Your description of a childhood holiday cottage tugged at my heartstrings. You have an incredible recollection for detail. Most of my childhood memories are food related (!), but I have fond thoughts of a beautiful holiday in North Devon, right by the coast, staying in a magical, rather crumbly but beautiful place called William’s Cottage. My mum (who has pathological hoarding tendencies) found the receipt for it the other day. It cost £30 to hire for the week back then. I looked it up on the internet, and hey ho, it’s still there, all tarted up, yours for £1300. Slightly dims the romance of the place. x

      • and yet that bizarre receipt is an almost lovely direct link to those times….

  5. Oh, Neil, so loved this: “. . . with a long list of ingredients including bay leaf and coriander that to me comes across as the most perfectly realized pot pourri, delicately tingeing the porcelain still air of an English summer cottage; mellow, loving, tranquil. Pinpointing the feeling more exactly, it is a particular holiday we once had down in Looe, Cornwall, as a child, where I remember the intensity of the gentleness of the bedspreads and pillows of our quaint little rented holiday house (I was always so deeply receptive to, and filled with, new environments as a child; their unfamiliarity would completely thrill me, particularly the smell; like the dark, cold, interior of an urn I would take up temporary residence in its still, fragrant new world of harbouring quietness as though I no longer existed, but in a good way). . . ”

    And this: “. . .I think it is the ‘one-offness of these places that so appeals; the element of chance, the singularity of the experience over the ruthlessly mathematicized and super-elevated profit margins of the concept-inflated baloney of the niche counter.” Exactly how I feel.

    I have discovered a woman here on the Sunshine Coast who magically sources amazing vintage bottles and has no desire to make a killing with them on eBay. She can’t understand what I see in what she brings to the coast’s seasonal flea market every other week: a half ounce of Houbigant Lutèce parfum, that dusty, spicy, resinous rose; a 50ml Cabotine edp, yellow and oily and full of greenery; Arpège bath oil; Monteil’s Royal Secret in extrait, dark as brown ink. That’s just off the top of my head from last week. Nothing was over $12 USD. There are no other takers. There is no mad rush to that part of her booth. A miracle, to my way of thinking. The flea market is in the old, dimly-lit, high-ceiling curling rink, not used between April and October. Slightly smelling of dry rot. Hardly glamorous. Heady stuff, for people like us.

    When I venture across Howe Sound by ferry into Vancouver, into Holt Renfew or Nordstrom, it’s another world. There is capital G, materialistic Glamour. Everything is new, new, NEW. Everything is white and shiny, blindingly. It smells of packaging, of cellophane, of the newest Ralph Lauren. I see the Byredo counter, the Le Labo counter. I look at the prices, try to avoid the canned spiel. I feel a little lost. I can’t wait to get home.

  6. Stephen

    You are preparing a perfume guide to Tokyo? Fantastic! I’m planning to go to Tokyo and Kyoto next summer with my son, and a guide to the incense and perfume emporia will provide welcome relief from the endless manga and game shops I know I’m going to have to suffer. Many many thanks in advance!

  7. ninakane1

    Glad to read you’re up and about again! I like this review! Looking forward to the Tokyo Guide to Perfume.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s