SUCCES FOU by SCHIAPARELLI (1952)

I have no idea what this perfume smells like, other than that it is supposedly a musky, woody carnation, very emblematic of its era.

What gorgeous design though !

I am, as you have probably guessed, back at the Man Ray exhibition at the Hayama Museum Of Art, where I managed to furtively take this picture, from behind, of the coveted Schiaparelli Sleeping bottle; as well as the ultra-rare Succes Fou, in its current Japanese museum context (I could not get any closer : the ladies were eyeing me like ravens).

Still, it gives you an idea anyway : art, culture, and perfume all feeding off each other at a particular moment in time.

It is such a beautiful day.

In a year of extremes, one of the main takeaways I have personally is D and I’s deep realization – after considerable strife post pandemic abnormality – that socially we really are quite different. We knew this already, of course, but it has really come to a climactic head : an actual crisis. Whereas he is much more socially open, far less neurotic, I am much more intense as a person and must privately regroup; in my job I have to be witty and charming all day long and thus feel no need whatsoever to entertain and be continuously ‘light -hearted ‘ in my private time, meaning that several times in 2022, now that things have been ‘opening up’, we have been at serious loggerheads over what to do on a number of particular occasions (I did not even entertain the idea of going to the party at Toyoko’s studio in Sendagaya tonight for example – he is there having a ball by himself, which is how it should be ) : and it was precisely this clarity of mutual understanding that was desperately needed: it was necessary to reach some kind of compromise, or it was possible that we were going to go under. I am not saying I would be a po-faced mummy if you and I were to spend time together; I do have a personality, and I do like the odd get together here and there, for sure, but overall, I have to say that in general, joking around and smiling like an asshole for hours on end only has so much attraction and appeal for me: I think forced hilarity is one of the very worst things imaginable for someone like myself (and humanity in general), and I would literally rather just sit morosely – or rather, quite happily – staring at a blank wall than have to laugh when there is no actual laughter, which, to someone like me, is such an unbearable burden on the soul (there was an interesting comment I read somewhere on the Internet the other day about ‘the false cheer and heavily synthetic inspiration of so much online life’, which really struck a chord with me, and which is one reason why The Black Narcissus is the way that it is, and why I vastly prefer, for the traditional end of year joshing that is the big group bonenkai party in Japan, a rather irregular one on one, when amusement and quipping and hahahahhhggh gufffaggughn is not a requirement, and where I can just spout forth, listen to my friend’s stories, respond naturally not worrying about being judged, in this gorgeous, sparkling place that is situated by the sea

——— and just generally damned be my natural self.

From this perspective, today’s end of year catch up with Yoko – who I only get to see every once in a while – talking over wine on the terrace, then drowsing through the beautiful and eclectic art of the brilliant Man Ray, as well as ogling priceless Lucien Lelong and Schiaparelli perfume bottles, has been a lovely respite from the enforced cheerfulness of the every day routine. So much space here: space to actually (re)connect : most definitely a ‘wild success.’

14 Comments

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14 responses to “SUCCES FOU by SCHIAPARELLI (1952)

  1. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Man Ray and Schiaparelli together. Two real artists in the crime of art. Bravo for flummoxing the harpies. And then the sea to let your gaze go on and on and then dream on. In pleasant company as well … it sounds like my Captain Nemo moment. As a child I was fascinated by him and his history.
    Sometimes you need to have those moments . Even when having a job and living together.
    I take off all my hats in this house to you for double bravery!
    A well-meant Dutch x, no stinting here.

  2. OnWingsofSaffron

    The way I envision it—not necessarily what you might be talking about—, those parties are far away from home, take place late, are full of people you don’t know, are dreadfully loud and perhaps full of cigarette smoke… I hate those parties especially the never-ending noise which I cannot stand, and I absolutely refuse to attend them as I feel most, frustrated, and my ears ache which eventually makes me aggressive.
    I love dinner parties with four to eight guests, beginning at 7.30 pm, lovely Riesling Sekt to start with, 3 delicious courses, animated discussion, nice wine but not too much, best no music, guests leaving at around 11.30 pm. (That said my idea of bliss and unwinding is cooking, so no stress on that front.)

    • One day I hope to come to one of these evenings at your place (what will you be making?)

      Eight guests is horrifying to me, four can work.

      I don’t want to air my dirty psycho laundry on here too much (it is supposed to be a perfume blog, not my public therapy session), but this really has been one of the biggest problems this year. We have been struggling. It can’t be easy, having to live with a difficult person such as I.

      Like you, I have auditory issues – absolutely can’t take noise when I don’t want it – and I am easy to overwhelm; I can’t necessarily limit the wine sensibly (that is a real gift), but at the same time I love people and am really not the hermit weirdo I am probably making out.

      D’s mum advised us – as we talked about this openly this summer – to just do things separately where needed and I think this is the way forward.

  3. Hanamini

    Yesterday was a day full of light and blue sky, freezing cold and just like my childhood in Sweden. I wanted to wear Stockholm by Vilhelm, which is sort of icy, but went for Lutens La Myrrhe instead, to suit the occasion, which was a Christmas shopping trip to London with my older daughter and her boyfriend. The day it was the opposite of space and relaxation; you would have hated it. We went to Harrods’ Salon des Parfums, early in the day, but it was already heaving and noisy, even up there in the rarefied booths. Fueguia has expanded its range massively, that was a shock, because the last time I saw it was about eight years ago in Japan when there were only 50 or so scents on display. Now more like 150. Jovoy, on Conduit Street, seemed to be a bit unloved. Regent Street later on was even crazier. I don’t mind a good crowd bath, but in the end we just had to get out, so Liberty was a miss this time. I was happy to get home to my vintages. By the end of the evening, all the sample paper sticks smelled the same, even though I had kept them separately, except two: Iris and Caprifolia by Santa Maria Novella. Even Malle’s Dawn (no purchase, obviously) had faded to sameness. Our lives that we have left should be full of the things we enjoy and love, like you show in those lovely photos above.

  4. I have never actually smelled a Schiaparelli fragrance, I wonder if they are as original and exquisite as their bottles and marketing material?
    I had to go to company parties when I worked in healthcare, ugh. What misery. Even locally I get invited to government functions being a prominent foreigner, once again misery (and bad food). Private parties aren’t my thing either, unless there’s minimal guests & a focused event such as a meal or performance.
    I don’t think my lack of enjoyment of these social functions is just old age and decrepitude (although my BS tolerance has diminished). Nor is it just my mild introversion, entertaining guests has become a lost art worldwide. Remember when most homes had an area to receive guests replete with seats facing each other to facilitate conversation? That’s gone, now all seating faces the TV set.

  5. David

    When I and my husband travel, we almost always go our separate ways during the day and then meet up for dinner. He and I have always somehow realized that because we have such different personalities, we need to have our own separate friends and interests. Even our perfume tastes are different. When I try a perfume that I know he won’t like, I will take a long walk or hide out in the guest bedroom for a while. You just make it work somehow.

  6. Robin

    I’m sure that you and D will find ways to accomodate each other, including times that you’ll do things separately. I remember once, when I was in a similar relationship, going along quite a good percentage of those nights out but having the option of leaving early on my own. But I know you travel into Tokyo and back with frequency which is a different proposition than just grabbing a ten minute cab to the other end of downtown Vancouver.

    My favourite is four people around the table for dinner, six sometimes if we have friends we’d like to introduce to each other. For some reason standing up and talking, cocktail party style, I find tiresome and tiring. I like to talk with my elbows on the table or leaning back with a good glass of something, surrounded by food.

    I have a beautiful old tall bottle of Succes Fou edp or edt (in a drawer somewhere not close to hand.) The label is just a faded green metallic leaf without writing, positively ancient looking, like some mysterious bottle of tonic. The juice is medium brown and smells that way: of tawny port, of resins steeped in toasted oak barrels with some nutty vetiver. Woody, woody vanillic amber. No flowers, except vaguely, definitely none of that eugenol carnation spice you get in other old brown things like Divine Folie. It is an excellent scent for this time of year.

    Coincidentally, speaking of Schiaparelli, I have been going out for long walks in the forest lately with my scarf full of Shocking. It is the perfect winter thing to have close to your nose in frosty air. The animalics plus the big trees and mossy paths are just right together.

  7. Sounds as if you’re a natural introvert, and D is much more extrovert. We introverts need our silent spaces, staring at walls, smelling a perfect iris on the back of our hand…

    • If you met us you would say it was the other way round. I am more overtly gregarious and attention-seeking; he is definitely the quiet one. It’s a weird one. I think I am an extroverted introvert and he an introverted extrovert. Usually it works but this year has seen many problems!

  8. I adore Schiaparelli fragrances so much. I have a small bottle of Succes Fou, not the leaf bottle just a cylinder one, it smells ambery floral on me when I wear it, from what I remember.
    It’s funny, I am the most extroverted person I know, yet I hate to be bothered with any type of parties, or huge get togethers. Those days are all well left in the past. I would just rather be comfortable in an intimate setting, with a couple of close friends, enjoying dinner and drinks. Husband is completely like that as well, although he is definitely not an extrovert.
    You just need calmness to let your mind rest and restore, that’s how I feel.

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