While I toil and bubble in the last days of the Summer Seminar, one’s beau has nothing to do but things Bohemian: research locations for his film; plan for the forthcoming Tokyo party, Disco Shinto; swan about generally; go to craft lessons in Shinjuku; have his new acquaintance from his life drawing/ art performance class, Dr Sketchy’s, come down to the house ( while I am naturally working ); troll the junk shops ; spend precious time with the cat, on the tatami or on the balcony ; do a touch of home improvement; read ; and lounge about the house proffering – to visitors, as they photograph him in clothes from their shared dressing up wardrobes – vintage perfume.
Wow – was this really five years ago?
This kind of vintage bonanza has kind of dried up now….
We are both feeling rather subdued, and ready for a quiet time of reading and swimming at the beach today after a wild rollercoaster of a weekend in Tokyo : three packed days and nights of urban intensity; food; art, sex, and ludicrous amounts of cheap, but astonishing, vintage perfume.
The centerpiece of all this hedonism was, of course, the Lady Gaga concert that I had been looking forward to for months, and which we decided to turn into a proper event: staying at a nice hotel for two nights for ease and extra pleasure, with dancing afterwards, and the following two days just doing whatever took our fancy in the continously fascinating metropolis that is Tokyo: a city that I love and seemingly never tire of : this endless and ever-evolving urban proliferation of shining glass…
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What I want from perfume is not a bland betrayal but, especially on another person, a scent that stops me in my tracks: brain stem engaged; instinct aroused; rationality dismissed.
Pissara Umjavani, founder and perfumer of Dusita, has an ability to put together ingredients in a way that – as it should be with quality perfumery – is more than the sum of its parts: perfumes that graze and stimulate emotion. Last year’s release, Fleur de Lalita is a sultry but living, and fresh, green magnolia ylang smouldering in vanillic ambergris and bois de santal that ignites an immediate reaction with its almost untenable sensuality : you can imagine a suddenly smitten and hopelessly in-love man haplessly falling from his bicycle in Bangkok upon smelling this on a girl : both familiar and unknowable, inviting ; yet ever so slightly disdainful.
La Douceur Du Siam, which I personally prefer, is a big, gorgeous, luminous rose de mai absolute tinged with a tingling of green carnation; the spring leafery of galbanum and violet, but blooming, graciously, on a warm, carnal base of white flowers and balsams that embodies the reaction I was talking about earlier : on the right person this perfume could be heartstopping. I don’t think I could wear it myself : despite the unbordered, sensitive androgyny in this house’s perfumes, there is still very much something of the ‘eternal feminine’ about much of the line – a contoured tenderness – but I would LOVE to have someone walk by me in this perfume on some hot summer’s evening. I know for a fact I would turn back and look.
After my last post on Dusita a few months ago, I got in contact with this perfumer in the hope of doing an interview with her, sensing, for some reason, some common affinities. Her love of poetry : both of us foreigners living in cultures entirely different from our place of birth.
I decided, also, to throw caution to the wind and circumvent the usual PR protocol and polite chatter by asking exactly what I wanted to ask, about Thai culture, film, her late father – one of Thailand’s most famous writers – and over several days, in written or voice mail form, Ms Umjavani replied to my questions as time allowed and the answers came to her.
But where my own posts are fast and impulsive ( I am writing this on my phone, on a train, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon ; the sun is finally shining as it should be after all this rain as I go to my next classes), collating, transcribing, and writing a coherent piece on somebody else’s words and life feels like more of a responsibility than my usual opinionated and spontaneous ramblings : I need the proper time – days – and space, to do it all justice.
To be continued.
Black Pepper is peppery.
As in, tumultuously, treacherously peppery – a trail of crushed peppercorns that lingers in the air in sinisterly suave fashion for an entire day (this scent is a miracle of modern technical perfumery);a light, invisible muslin of discreet coumarin, agarwood, cedar and musk giving dryness, arid heft..
Whenever Duncan wears this (I bought it him for his birthday last year at the Comme Des Garçons boutique in Aoyama), I tune in to the unrelenting black spice, the precise smell of the Kampot black peppercorns I bought at a market in Cambodia, and cracked the other night for food.
Not fresh, nose tingley, or slicey, like some of the recent pink peppercorn florals, Black Pepper is completely unique in its fidelity to the theme ; the scent palette spectruming from light grey to pitch; a low registered, masculine thrum.