I was sixteen when I saw the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, and fell in love with Niki de Saint Phalle’s wonderful sculptures.
She released her perfume in 1982–as a way to fund her life-long Tarot Garden sculpture project–with a variety of illustrated bottles, including a zodiac series called Eau Defendue.
The eau de toilette opens with peaches and wormwood, and mint–that has just enough of a toothpaste-and-orange-juice dissonance to make one wake up and pay attention, not unlike the vibrant color-blocking of her sculptures–weird and bright, yet pretty.
Carnation and patchouli and some green-dyed-leather twists it around for several hours, and woodsy moss covers the skin for the rest of the day.
Jean Tanguely, Niki’s partner, insisted that moss be allowed to grow on the Centre Pompidou sculptures, as Nature’s contribution to the art–so it can’t be a coincidence that the perfume carries the same green notes.
Igor Stravinsky (watch a video of him conducting here) was a huge influence on John Williams, as well as The Beastie Boys, who sampled The Firebird Suite in two of their songs from Hello Nasty.
I like to think Niki de Saint Phalle, whose artistic style included found materials and juxtaposed media in her feminist compositions, might have approved of this cover by Robyn Adele Anderson. (And the guy on the Theremin is awesome!)
Peach blossom candy and fortune cookies, creamy tuberose sharpened with cardamom, and a bite of sandalwood on the bottom.
There’s a voluptuous mystique to it, gorgeous but with an edge, the sweetheart next door with a femme fatale secret.
Elusive on skin and lasting on silk. I love it.
I loved Chinatown, too, all the crazy smells and the languages and the colors, the shops with fish and spices and trinkets. The restaurant with the sweetest old man who taught me to eat with chopsticks when I still needed to sit on a phone book to reach the table–
Deee-Lite is also from New York. This song always makes me happy.
The Cloud Collection perfumes are lava lamp groovy, with separate liquids rolling around in the bottle. One is advised to shake it for four seconds (shaking a lava lamp is not suggested, though the result is the same) until it turns cloudy, before spraying.
Spicy-tart sea buckthorn at the opening, and leather, then thirty minutes later the berries turn sweet and creamy, with a smooth oud-y base.
The fruit lasts on the skin for three hours–about the time it takes for the perfume salad dressing to separate again–but the sweet woods project much longer and louder, and linger on clothes all day.
The scent lives up to the novelty of the liquid. The seaberry (which I love in tea and candy) is unusual, a berry version of the lemon custard in Aqua Allegoria Teazzarro; and the base is rich as any Fort & Manlé, with twice the longevity.
I’ll wear this one a lot this fall.
Farveblind is is also weird and fun and Danish (like Zarkoperfume).
Marine water and smoke out of the vial that darkens down to black fountain pen ink, dirtying up sea foam. Algae blooms, delicate green, strangely organic and chemical at the same time, with big juicy sillage. The ambergris rises to the surface an hour later, making it even wetter with ocean spray; benzoin sweetens it, turning it fresh again.
Six hours later and it’s still there, chaotic, never seeming to settle down to one depth; yet it’s oddly comforting and beautiful.
Gov’t Mule does a terrific jam cover of Jimi Hendrix’s 1983 (A Merman I Shall Be)–from Electric Ladyland–that goes deep under water around the 4:15 mark.
Tipsy strawberries and seawater, roses and a tangled forest. Projects like spilled wine and soaks clothes for weeks.
Several years ago I wrote a novella set on Öland, an island off the coast of Sweden. My two young lovers celebrate midsummer eating strawberries and getting drunk, and if the pages could be scented, they’d smell like Sådanne.
Salty sand and boozy sweet fruit, so sun-ripe it’s alcoholic, eaten in the shadows of the sea-wind twisted trees on the shore. I adore it.