February 6, 2009

Dark Glamour

The theme of Noir in perfume is based on deep dark wood notes, from which the upper lighter notes sing out in greater contrast. Delicate beauty is enhanced by surrounding it with a dark frame. Black clothes, and dark perfume, are still a favorite part of the modern city dweller's identity in the classic contemporary style. The noir style projects a passionate, strong yet vulnerable persona. Dark adornments of all kinds, including perfume, are sexier from their association with sin, rebelliousness, the darkness of night and the elegance of the Devil. Dark frames enhance and intensify the gestures, features and movements of the wearer. I have noticed that the Noir style has become a substantial genre of its own in perfume, and it goes so well with the dark glamour of the Gothic style.

I think of vintage Caron Narcisse Noir, pale sweetness drying down to a dark dry wood, or a spicey Noir, like Noir Epices from Frederic Malle, which connects top to bottom with a stimulating layer permeating throughout down to the bottom dark base notes.

So Dark Romanticism goes on as strong as ever, unbroken in a seductive line from the nineteenth century French poets like Baudelaire and Rimbaud and the American anti-trancendentalists like Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Melville, connecting the big dark dramatic scary dots into lines between ourselves and the cycles of nature.

February 21nd will be the last day of FIT's exhibition of couture Gothic fashion, and I can't believe how refined and beautiful it is. It is worth making a special trip to see. The designers' attention to the details of line and finish are an idealized version of the Noir frame of mind. The darkly elegant sensuality of each piece is breathtaking. One Alexander McQueen dress was inspired by his ancestor, Elizabeth How, burned as a witch in the 1600s (above) that looks like an evening gown worn for the flaming party thrown in honor of the exciting scariness of mortality.

Not to be missed are the jewelry and accessory cases in the opening room. There are antique pieces mixed with modern, including mourning jewelry of thick, perfectly carved vulcanite matte black chains. The Victorians wore them around their necks, symbolizing the graceful bearing of lengthy emotional slavery to life's losses and regrets.
Not to be missed! Suitable attire to attend includes a Noir perfume...

14 comments:

Barbara Jaye Wilson said...

Quickly ran through this show for the third time yesterday only to confirm that yes, I’ve got to go back a fourth time. It really is that good. Your description of noir scents is intriguing. Wouldn’t it be great if those scents were part of the show.

Lucy said...

Hi Barbara --

It was great poking around the garment district yesterday, poking around in all the small places.

This show is so dense and packed with layers of info and strange beauty, it is like traveling to another culture. The exhibition catalog/book looks worthwhile too...

chayaruchama said...

Queen Victoria began the fashion of 'mourning jewels' when Albert died; jet was the stone of choice, used in brooches, lavallieres, and earrings...

That exibit must be a wonder.
You NYers get ALL the fun !

However, when it comes to noir in perfume- it can be a crap shoot, these days; often-especially recently- anything BUT.

Noir is "Gaslight' and "The Third Man' and 'the Blue Angel' to me....
SIGH.

Lucy said...

Dear Ida, I wish you were here, to see it with you again would be such a pleasure!
There are a number of dresses on exhibit that would be perfect for you.

And I know you would know and have with you exactly the right perfumes.
You are a tremendous resource of knowledge, my dear.

Lucy

Trish/pikake said...

Gorgeous pictures! Thank you for sharing them.

~Trish

Lucy said...

Thanks Trish, I'm glad you liked them. I wish I could post a lot more, and taken some myself...there are different environments/scenarios set up and very low lighting, basically its an atmosphere of suitable gloom, very unsuitable for photography unless you are a pro with a tripod in tow...

Trish/pikake said...

I love that last one by McQueen, makes me want to pull out an old Noir, Magie Noir.....remember that one?

Also, hope you don't mind me putting you on my blog roll :-)

I'm a newbie blogger, but think we might have a common readership.

vincent said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A said...

Love this post, it is so New York (I recently moved out of the city, sigh). Do not fear, I recently discovered a great new noirish perfume, Bond No. 9's Lexington Avenue. It's rather retro modern and sexy with some sweetness...and it actually does something unusual in a woody scent - it leads with a wood, in the topnotes...and also has them in the base. Mixed with all these rich, unusual gourmands-- it is amazing.

Lucy said...

Dear Trish/pikake,

Congratulations on your new site, it is lovely.
Yes, let's link.
I envy that tropical vacation you described, it's seems like heaven for the smell conscious...
I don't know Magie Noir but will look out for it now.

Lucy said...

Dear A --

So you continue to be with us in spirit. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker.

My favorite of the Bonds is West Side, also lots of wood.

Trish/pikake said...

L,

Magie Noir is an old Lancome one, reminds me of growing up in the 80's :-)

Thanks for peeking at my site and the kind words. I'll be poting a few times a week I hope.

~T

A said...

Lucy, timely coincidence, I've requested West Side from my husband for Valentine's Day! (Though I sense I may be gifting myself come Feb. 15th, we're not big V-day people.) It is beautiful, and I think that the fabulous red bottle would be like a cheerful, year-round valentine atop my dresser.

Lucy said...

Dear A, that is a mouth watering V day prospect, indeed!