It is hard for me to believe that almost forty years ago to the day, my sister was about to be born.
I remember it so clearly. I was crazily excited, jumping up and down on the bed. I couldn’t wait. Nor conceive of it. How could a new person just join the family like this ? Where was she coming from ?It seemed impossible.
Our parents had told us the life changing news ( I don’t think she was planned), during Sunday dinner, and my brother and I burst out laughing. Although we had adventures together, we also fought a lot. Pummeling each other on the garage floor. Deborah would be my protégée : forced to listen to my records and watch all my films ( our favourites were Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Disney’s Alice In Wonderland, Thelma & Louise; Desperately Seeking Susan).
Naturally I was also buying her perfume from when she was but an infant. She wore Montana Parfum D’Elle, which I bought for her from a boutique down the road ;O De Lancome; Poison, Anais Anais,until she discovered her lifetime signature, Roma by Laura Biagiotti, a vanillic femme fatale perfume she still wears to this day.
But she did also have that most lugubrious of 70’s tuberoses, Chloe by Karl Lagerfeld (which I also wore secretly); and in recent years, and since finding love again, she has been dousing herself in tuberoses : L’Artisan’s Nuit De Tubereuse sprayed lavishly in the hair, and her new perfume coup de foudre, Fracas by Robert Piguet, which she discovered last year and which apparently smells quite incredible on her ( I am yet to smell this glamour queen Classic in person, but will in the summer – she told me that he loves it so much he sleeps with a sample every night on his pillow when they are apart..)
I LOVE the idea of my sister wearing tuberose. I wear and love this flower note too, as you know – I had a bottle of Flos Mortis as a Christmas present from my parents; I wear the Roger Et Gallet sometimes for work. But deep down I know that these gorgeous, mesmerizing lune flowers smell so much better on her ; both my brother and sister smell so nice, naturally, ; different skin types, with cleaner canvases ( Greg smells exquisite in jasmine ; I do not ).
She is a fierce creature, Deborah: passionate, ‘bolshy’ – we are often at loggerheads, aggression our common denominator. But she is also quite hilarious, and the best mimic I have ever met ( she should have been an actress). She NEEDS the right flower to reflect this. And as a perfume otaku, I now get to blossom vicariously; wear it through her.
So with my mum and dad and Duncan in cahoots, on Wednesday, the Big Day itself ,we are giving her a whole armory of tuberoses : Santa Maria Novella Tuberosa; Speziali Fiorentini Tuberosa D’Autunno, Jeroboam Hauto, and Histoires De Parfums Tubereuse Animale, which I imagine will possibly be as lethal to her lover as Sharon Stone with her icepick in Basic Instinct. I don’t think I am giving away any spoilers here : to my knowledge she doesn’t read the Narcissus ( even if Perfume, in its black and gold Art Deco Splendour, is displayed proudly on a specially constructed ‘plinth’ in her North London living room).
If she does read this beforehand, though, Deborah just think of this as an early 40th birthday present : you have always been a force to be reckoned with, you don’t accept bullshit, you are clever, loyal; streetwise; will not compromise on the person your were supposed to be – – – – and I love you.