Filed under Flowers
Congratulations! Vogue is lucky to get you!
Thanks. I may pop up in there once in a while I hope and just bask in the general coolness of it!
Looks like a beautiful article-which serge did you choose? Any chance of a translation? I’m happy for you that your beautiful work will reach lots of people 🙂
Thanks very much.
It was something along the lines of VOGUE AUTUMN/ WINTER 2021
The arrival of Autumn and Winter is the perfect time to enjoy quality perfumes on a more intimate level. If in the hot, humid months of summer we often wear fragrance as a protection or ‘etiquette’ in order to maintain an aura of freshness, the drier air of the cooler months allow us the opportunity to experience perfume more deeply, as much for personal pleasure and satisfaction as for the atmosphere that we wish to present to those around us.
These last eighteen months of the worldwide the pandemic have denied us most of the travel and events we would have usually been able to look forward to, and as we approach the end of the year with its wistful remembrances, taking stock of what has happened to us all, and readying ourselves hopefully for a more optimistic 2022, this is surely the opportune moment to indulge in some ‘inner travel’ – to invest in a richer, more complex fragrance with psychological depth that lets your mind wander, your feelings unfurl – and perhaps even express the inexpressible.
Serge Lutens’ unusual and beguiling La Proie Pour L’Ombre, which translates as ‘losing the substance while grasping at the shadow’, is indeed a mysterious perfume whose message is not immediately obvious – and this is meant as a compliment. The cliché of the ‘oriental’ – an outdated concept now in perfume parlance – is of very intense, heavy, fur coat ambers and vanilla perfumes cinched with spice: perfumes that while obviously sensual, can overload the consciousness : your own, and that of other people around you. The latest Lutens release, while officially based on main notes of vanilla and leather entwined with licorice – has none of the sweetness of the typical vanilla note, nor any of the harshness associated with a lot of more severe leather fragrances; instead, the impression is of hypnotic temple incense, immortelle, and coffee, subtly spiced; a very relaxing composition that is perfect for afternoon reading sessions alone, and one that lingers beautifully on fabrics such as cashmere.
If, instead, as the temperatures drop, you find yourself craving a more dessert-like vanilla (but one that is not too sweet), Dior’s Vanilla Diorama will effortlessly fit the profile. The overall impression of this carefully crafted gourmand is of an icing-sugared marron glacé, to be appreciated in a wintery coffee house alongside a piping hot caffe latte. An initial spritz of lemon and orange, laced with pink pepper, leads into a smoother heart of cacao and rum, with delicate spiced undertones of cardamom complimenting an anchoring sandalwood in the base, while the central note of Madagascar vanilla absolute, very natural smelling and addictive, remains the star. While certainly a gourmand, this fragrance has been carefully calibrated, so that it never becomes too much: just one spray on the wrist will suffice all day and all night on the skin without ever overwhelming, satisfying your own desires for a quieter, private luxuriance, while simultaneously emanating an appealing, gentle ‘sweetness’ to those in your proximity.
Most of us are still somewhat out of practice, having spent so much more time at home, with the rituals of dressing up and socializing in the latest city spaces. But when you are finally in the mood for going out again, for a proper glamorous showcase, try Tom Ford’s extravagant Bitter Peach. As its semi-ironic name would suggest, this dense, complex fragrance deliberately turns the standard idea of the ‘soft innocent peach’ on its head, seemingly wanting to convey the poisonous kernel at the heart of the fruit as much as its mouthwatering flesh. The result is a perfume that is surrounded by the warming fuzziness of a summer peach orchard, as well as the homely welcome of a fine peach-scented pot pourri (notes of blood orange, jasmine and heliotrope), but the blend is also further weighted down with a touch of bitter davana – an aromatic herb whose blossoms in India are presented at altars of Shiva – the God of Transformation – over a more familiar patchouli, benzoin and vanilla sensual base accord. A slight sense of embitterment generally is certainly understandable when we glance back at recent times, but as with the other perfumes mentioned above, mellow and soothing with their emboldening and comforting aromas, there seems to be almost an acknowledgement, here, of the difficult period we have been through – but also a fierce determination to move forward.
‘losing the substance while grasping at the shadow’
shadow and light: duality
n great contrast, Serge Lutens’ latest addition to the Gratte Ciel collection, another Christopher Sheldrake collaboration, La Proie Pour L’Ombre, is warm and nuzzly; a familiarly Lutensian, strangely gorgeous and mysterious scent ostensibly centred around leather (and licorice and vanilla), a powerfully immortelle, almost celery-like note cedared with spice in the top that at first is disconcerting but then begins to pull you into its own unusual sense of unique gravity. D thinks it smells like butterscotch: the ambered texture is certainly odd; almost chocolatey; with tones redolent also of coffee absolute; but also medicinally enveloping and pungent like some of the more extreme and esoteric Japanese incense towards which I quite often find myself gravitating. Unlike the flamboyance of the two other perfumes I have been describing to you today, I feel that La Proie Pour L’Ombre is more private; a dark, shadowy-like-its-name fragrance that suits these particular times: less a leather for a publicly viewed sillage than a quiet, personal cove of introspective luxuriance.
Commercial reviews require a little more enamel.
Congratulations on being in Vogue!! I only wish that I could read the article. I’m curious as well, what Serge is in your article?
L’Ombre Pour La Proie. I just posted a translation.
Vanille Diorama—now that’s an interesting choice! I was toying with the thought of buying one of the small bottles Dior sells when they launch their new scent. After they’re gone and then it’s those L, XL and XXL bottles (don’t know what they are thinking!). The marron glacé image is enticing, yet I somehow couldn’t commit…
It is nice, actually – but not scintillating. Well composed, rounded, everything in its right place – but not exquisite. Your instincts are correct !
Google’s translation is hilariously bad – this is my favourite bit…
‘Freshly scented with lemon and orange scent and pink pepper, the prelude becomes a prelude, and from there to a smoother heart note of cacao and lamb.’
Chocolate kebab from hell!
English to Japanese and back into Google-translated English was entertainment in itself. I could parse out the Neil Chapman regardless, and loved it. Most of all, seeing you in Vogue Japan made me feel great. You’ve earned it and I’m delighted for you and your widening readership, darling!
Thanks very much indeed. My fourth time in there now, five if you count the review of my book.
I love it.
Bravo, brilliant piece!
Extremely pleased you are getting the recognition you deserve.
Thanks very much. It only happens sporadically but Vogue is Vogue and it makes me extraordinarily excited !
This is just so wonderful!!! I am so glad you gave a translation here of the article. I really wanted to know what was said, but kanji still escapes me.
You really are an amazing talent. So Thrilled for you!!!
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