Étui Noir
Étui Noir

I have a confession to make: I’ve always found leather perfumes difficult. They’re just so damn demanding most of the time and one has to commit to wearing them for the whole day, which can be a chore if they start to get annoying, which I find they often do. Don’t get me wrong, the smell of leather in fragrance is often beautiful, but with time it can become dry, harsh and tar-like, suffocating a guy and sending himm reaching for a mouthwatering cologne to quench the nose-thirst. So yes, I like leather, but it’s not often that I find myself loving a leather fragrance, and whilst there are exceptions (Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather being the most notable), leather just isn’t my thing as a rule.

With that in mind, I’m always very happy when a scent comes along to convince me that I do, in fact, like a style I’m slightly averse to. In terms of leather, that very scent is the new Étui Noir by Miller Harris. Described, rather fantastically, as being “like a well-worn leather jacket shared by lovers with comforting flashbacks of each other” and “as deep as the night”, Étui Noir is a leather with a difference. This is a leather fragrance crafted with an emotional point of view, speaking in nuanced and eclectic tones. It’s representative of the new style of Miller Harris, which is much more focused than it has been in recent years and to put it simply, Étui Noir just is an interesting fragrance to unravel.

ARTSNIFF - Scenting Lady Gaga
ARTSNIFF – Scenting Lady Gaga

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

No celebrity needs more perfume assistance than Lady Gaga, especially after the massive disappointment that was her debut fragrance ‘Fame‘ and it’s safe to say that because of this her taste level perhaps isn’t where it should be. Fame’s crime wasn’t that it was a dreadful fragrance (general consensus was that it’s decidedly ‘meh’) but the fact that it was frightfully generic and captured only the pretentious element of Lady Gaga’s personality without any of the talent.

Love her or hate her it’s hard to deny that Lady Gaga is indeed talented. Yes, a lot of her ideas are derivative and she does have a tendency to bang on about how what she does is ‘art’ (her upcoming album is annoyingly entitled ‘ARTPOP’) but all-in-all she’s an exciting and provocative voice with a brand of pop that is satisfyingly addictive.

With this edition of the Scent a Celebrity Series, I have picked four perfumes that accurately capture the weird and wonderful persona of Lady Gaga – a woman who has sported fashions made from Muppets, beef and bubbles, to name just a few. Amongst them, these scents embody a spirit that seeks out the weirder odours and isn’t afraid of perfume that is challenging, confrontational and darkly beautiful.

I am very pleased to be able to share with you a teaser video for Thierry Mugler’s latest collection; “Les Parfums de Cuir” (The Fragrances of Leather). Launching in October, the collection has been created to celebrate Thierry Mugler Parfums’ 20th birthday and contains four brand new leathery interpretations of Mugler’s classic fragrances; Angel, A*Men, Alien and Womanity.

“This innovative idea marries two know-hows of today and yesterday: Haute Perfumery and the traditional craft of glove makers and perfumers.”

To create Les Parfums de Cuir Thierry Mugler parfums a “tailor made […] natural leather” was added to four custom made vats containing each perfume allowing them to infuse & mature for four weeks and eventually, after the “leather-imbued extracts” were added to a solution, they became Les Parfums de cuir.

More details on the collection below the jump…

Lady Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan
Lady Gaga wears her meat with style…

My love for leather in perfume is certainly a work in progress. It was Lila Das Gupta’s Evening of Leather for Perfume Lovers London that helped me forge a new appreciation for the genre, but I’m very much in the curiosity stage and full blown leather-love (which is not as rude as it sounds) is still a long way off. At Lila’s talk two fragrances in particular caught my attention, and Mona di Orio’s Cuir was one of them.

To say I have been blown away by the fragrances in Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection is a vast understatement. Each one is a fabulous and contemporary take on such well visited notes such as; Oud, Musc, Tuberéuse, Vetiver and Ambre and the collection takes inspiration from the golden ratio, a mathematical theory of proportion which is intelligently showcased in each and every one the perfumes.

All of the other perfumes in the Les Nombres d’Or collection have been very easy for me to love and Cuir is most definitely the exception. I still don’t love it, and I don’t think I ever will. You see, Cuir and I cannot be friends, but I admire its balls. It is an extreme, maverick leather that doesn’t care about being pretty, or even pleasant, it just wants to be wild. The Mona di Orio website says of Cuir “In these days of anodyne scents, trans-fat free lives this is a welcome walk on the wild side that would be wonderful on a man. On a woman? Only one way to put it: Cuir is ruthlessly chic.” [1]