I’m on a Serge Lutens kick at the moment, which is funny considering that I was considerably late to the Lutens party and it took me quite some time to ‘get’ the brand’s aesthetic. This is due in part to the fact that much of what Uncle Serge puts out is truly hedonistic and oriental, and can often feel thick and oppressive. This style is attractive to many but for years I failed to see the beauty amongst the spices, resins and balsams.
Unsurprisingly, it was the florals (specifically the incandescent Fleurs d’Oranger) within Lutens’ stable that served as a gateway to understanding perfume’s most highly respected, reclusive and artistic individual. But why the florals? What does Lutens do to nature’s blooms that others don’t? What does he see amongst the petals, the stems and the pollen that many perfumers and creative directors cannot?
The answer is simple – Serge Lutens sees the darker side of flowers and he’s not afraid to present the beautiful amongst the downright terrifying. Within his exclusive collection of fragrances housed inside his Palais Royal shop in Paris (a purple-tinted perfume Mecca), Lutens has three of the most deadly, carnivorous and fatal florals ever to have graced the noses of the human species, they are; the maniacal tuberose – Tubéreuse Criminelle, the viper jasmine – Sarrasins and the ghostly iris – Iris Silver Mist.
You may or may not be aware that I am somewhat partial to the odd floral or two. OK, that’s a severe understatement, I am a floral addict and if you were to examine me under a microscope you’d probably discover that my genetic makeup has been significantly altered by the sheer amount of white flowers that I wear. Maybe I’ll wake up one day and I’ll actually have become a flower? Is that pushing it? Thought so.
When most people think florals they think of summer; of golden sunlight beating down on fields and meadows of fragrant flowers shouting their narcotic odours into the warm summer breeze. But for me florals aren’t exclusive to spring or summer, in fact one of my favourite times of the year to break out my bottles of trapped flowers is the time, for the most part, when they are not blooming in the wild. My favourite time for florals is winter.
Floral fragrances are surprisingly versatile in winter, they can provide warmth and comfort or they can react with the cold stiff air to create a sparkling aura that freezes on the skin. So as the weather appears to be quickly changing and the mercury is heading closer and closer to the 0 mark (well it is here at least) I thought I would share with you some of my favourite florals for my favourite time of year.
Us perfumistas/fumeheads/fragonerds/whatever it is we call ourselves are keen followers of the mantra ‘It’s all about the juice’, meaning that we don’t care about the marketing, the bottle or any of the other stuff that comes with a fragrance. We just care about the smell!
It seems that we may differ from the mainstream consumer.
In the mainstream perfume industry the bottle is seen as the key marketing tool for a fragrance. Those of you who watched the recent BBC4 documentary ‘Perfume’ would have seen that in the case of the latest Tommy Hilfiger fragrances (Loud for Him and Her) the bottle and the marketing were the prime focus of the development team and the juice very much seemed like an afterthought.
So how important is the bottle to a perfumista?
I asked my Twitter followers whether they were swayed by the bottle design when purchasing a fragrance. The general consensus seemed to be that no, the bottle doesn’t matter, however an attractive bottle does help. Some even mentioned that if the fragrance was good and the bottle was bad they would decant the juice into something more aesthetically pleasing. We kept coming back to the same conclusion – it’s all about the juice…
I feel that I may buck the perfumista trend slightly, if I love a perfume I will buy it, regardless of whether it has a nice bottle or not. That said, I do like a nice bottle and have on occasions found myself wanting a fragrance because it’s housed in a nice bottle (Hello Lola by Marc Jacob!) I can’t help that I’m drawn to shiny, pretty objects can I?!
There are some brands out there with some really fabulous bottles and in this post I would like to highlight just a few of my favourites.