October 31, 2011

DSH Paradise Lost - Clarimonde Perfume Project Part 6

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz was inspired by the colors and the textures of the Clarimonde narrative, the tiny blue flowers in Clarimonde’s hair that faded, as she did, into the next world while waiting for Romauld, her satiny hand and the coolness of her touch, her sumptuous dresses and jewelry, the flickering candles that paled beside her luminous blonde beauty and vivid green eyes.

In the words of the perfumer herself:

"Just as T. Gautier was inspired by the luscious colors of Delacroix, I found the sensuously atmospheric descriptions throughout the love story to evoke otherworldly perfumes and luminosities.

The phrase “A twilight blue oriental perfume” most captured my imagination from the first time I heard it along with the image of faded flowers along side a bed of gold and silver, attended by a negro page wearing black velvet holding an ivory cane; and the satiny hand of “Clarimonde” as she lay dying. This cool, almost misty scene that might have been a last glimpse of Clarimonde paired with an alternate universe of warm opulence in Venice were always shimmering in my mindʼs eye as I created “Paradise Lost”.
( As you can tell, I do not want to give away too much of the story for those who have not read it).

The colors always flickering and wafting about my mind were cool periwinkle blue, the rich cobalt of “the blue hour”, faded terre verte earth & faded pinks, golden naples yellow, vermillion, deepest black velvet and oxblood.
This Bronzino portrait was also a great source of inspiration. (Thank you Alexis Karl for bringing it to my attention). 
Paradise Lost Perfume:

perfume notes: topnotes: wild blue chamomile, immortelle,
pressed violets, golden champaca
heart notes: faded flowers, candlewax, oriental lotus, black orris
basenotes: sable fur, fossilized amber, myrrh gum,
bloody sweet accord, mitti "
I find this an immediately graceful and purely lovely perfume. It begins like a fast run along the keys of a harpsichord, hitting warm golden highs and then develops into cool mentholated orris, and violet without sweetness, then separates out for a few of the floral notes that come up and reach into the air for a moment. I catch a transitory scent of iron, like blood, a cool metallic tone that still allows room for the amber in the base. I assume the sable fur is an accord. The dry airy warmth of thick fur makes a haze in the background against which sharper foreground notes stand out.

DSH drew inspiration also from this Bronzino portrait of a lady. I see this style as fully inhabiting an era that revered aristocratic beauty as defined by tremendous discipline in self-presentation. 

The most similar vestige left of this manner of being in the present day is the female ballet dancer. The erect posture and gestures of the hands are cultivated with elegance and self control as the ideal form. This perfume is very much within that type of aristocratic, elegant, and composed manner of beauty. This might be the fragrance of a great lady among her silks and wealth. 

There is a strong sense of movement and development from the initial symphonic combination of all the notes to the separating out into individual ones. Fleeting moments of the metallic blood accord, and the violet and dry immortelle reach out, and then the fragrance moves on to the dry down and a sense that the skin has been perfumed clear through.  As if it had soaked in, and become part of the wearer's identity and signature.  

There is something fiercely intelligent about this form of elegance.  I can imagine this as something that an Audrey Hepburn type would wear (she was a ballet dancer before becoming an movie actress, and you can see that she always composed herself in that graceful, perfectly light and erect way).

This is a limited edition.  13 “Paradise Lost” Perfumes are being produced and include an Art Nouveau, Paris-made charm bottle in silver and ochre colored glass with 5 ml of perfume.  Please contact the perfumer at her site if you wish to obtain a sample.

The name of the perfume, Paradise Lost, refers to the beauty and regret called up by the story of Clarimonde. It also recalls the great poem by Milton, which was most concerned with spirituality, so it is a well chosen name for this particular circumstance.  The little Art Nouveau flacons are of the era of the translation of Clarimonde by Lafcadio Hearn.  The idea of wearing this perfume around the neck also recalls the favorite point of passion of the vampires of legend, even if this vampire in particular was far more gentle and affectionate than the frightening ones we know today.  Perhaps that is what makes Clarimonde and Paradise Lost all the more seductive and dangerous.

Above, Bronzino portrait of Lucrezia Panciatichi
1540; Oil on wood; Uffizi 

Photo by me of the flacon.
Please see The Clarimonde Perfume Project site for links to the story in both audio and ebook form (free downloads) and all the other posts about this perfume and the others by the wonderful writers in this project.

Disclosure: I received the sample of perfume and flacon courtesy of the perfumer but have not received and do not accept compensation for this or any of my descriptions and personal opinions on perfumes.
Copyright 2011, Lucy Raubertas, all rights reserved. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so very much, Lucy, for inspiring us and fostering this lovely literary event! Clarimonde is such a haunting and beautiful story that I just hope to do it justice.
It's always a great honor and pleasure to be here at Indieperfumes!