Originality is risky. You may have observed this yourself in the matter of wardrobe selection. You may be creative and a free spirit, and completely unrestrained by those tiresome things called conventions, but that’s not the point, the point is, what about everyone else?
When it comes to scent convention tends to control what we wear and where we wear it. A pervasive oriental to the office? A titanic white floral to a dinner party? Perfume no matter how romantic in essence, has to fit in with its olfactory surroundings and those tend to be the set pieces of existence everything from the dry cleaner’s to the doctor’s office. Continue reading
The publishing mogul/poet Felix Dennis is blunt about it: “The problem with the great idea is that it concentrates the mind on the idea itself…But unless the idea is executed efficiently and with panache and originality, then it doesn’t matter how great the idea is, the enterprise will fail.”
It’s a nifty piece of wisdom, and has always struck me in regard to the grand old firm of Guerlain, whose business model for many years was less to create than to perfect.
You didn’t wear Guerlains for their startling uniqueness, because almost nothing of Guerlain’s was unique. You wore them for the quality of the materials used and for the careful handling of those ingredients. Guerlain’s execution was what shone through. The origin of the idea was not important. Caron might create, Coty certainly did, even Jean Patou from time to time produced creations, but Guerlain guerlainified, and the results were charming, very high quality, with a delicacy all their own. Continue reading
If you’ve never encountered Vent Vert, you are in for a bracing experience.
It’s said to be the first of the green perfumes, composed by Germaine Cellier in 1947. Personally, I think the first green note was Alpona from 1939, but a lot happened in France during the mid-forties and it’s not surprising that the perfume dialogue was interrupted for a while. The green innovation, which may well have been Ernest Daltroff’s originally, was taken up again after the war by Ms. Cellier, with very successful results. Continue reading
Sometimes in smelling all sorts of things you stumble over a creation that is simply beautiful. In writing about holiday scents – which is a difficult thing to do because there’s a jumble of scents tumbling about houses during the last week in December, you often are road blocked by cliché smells. The worst of them is pine.
Let me re-phrase that. The strongest of them is pine. It out-smells everything else. Pine is the prima donna assoluta of Christmas time smells, and like the prima donna, will not be ignored.