Tag Archives: Richard Hudnut

Violet Dawn

Louis Mayer (1869–1969) Woman in Violet Chapeau (2)There has never been a time for violet perfumes like the turn of the last century.  No doubt their proliferation, like a purple tide through perfumery, was due to ionones, invented in 1893, and then the development of a chemical that imitated the scent of violet leaf in 1903.

By that time, violets had become the most popular scent in mass market fragrances.  Sweet violets projected a delectable candor that was simultaneously edible and cozy, even though the woman wearing them might have been defiantly undomesticated, and anything but candid.

The earliest of these violet scents is Violetta di Parma;  Borsari’s version was mine for years.  They have replicated the scent of violets in the bottle.

But wait a minute – what is the scent of violets? Continue reading

Charleston All the Way Home

daisy buchananWhen I lived in Westport, Connecticut, there used to be a good deal of speculation in the local papers that it was the model for West Egg in The Great Gatsby.  The ins and outs of the argument geographically escape me now (something to do with the Long Island Sound and sightlines across it from certain town promontories) but in any event, the municipality preened itself on the notion.

I was unconvinced, partially because I could never imagine a creature like Daisy Buchanan summering in the sweltering hot-pot that is a Connecticut July, roiled as it generally is by truly alarming thunderstorms.  Wouldn’t she be much happier out on the Island itself, surrounded by potato fields and beaches and golf courses? Continue reading