January 9, 2012

DS & Durga - Mississippi Medicine, Freetrapper, Poppy Rouge, The Orchid Drinkers

I appreciate the perfume-Americana channeled through a Brooklyn style of contemporary male dandy-ism that DS & Durga has established, and their mirror image for an American female of neo-romantic liberated elegance. They keep their air of Brooklyn based artisanship yet have fanned out to appeal to a national audience, in that they have created a special feminine perfume at an affordable price, carried by Anthropologie, whose aesthetic works well with a bohemian vintage/heritage touch of perfume.

This perfumes follow a form of modern dandy-ism with a contemporary feel. You can wear them to meet a friend on the weekend, or go to the bookstore café to read and write, or go about your daily lifein stylishness with intelligent reference to our vernacular history.

A lot of the charm of the line is in the inspirations for the perfumes. I love that perfumers are enacting their interests in American history and local legends through the medium of fragrance. I get the impression of perfume-nerds who have read all the garage sale vintage botany books, poured over antique illustrated encyclopedias and lost themselves in local histories. The website tells these stories as illustrated vignettes to the perfumes.

These perfumes are divided into masculine/feminine but as we know today ladies are just as likely to wear the perfumes made for gentlemen, especially if their tastes run to the darker deeper dry chypres.

Mississippi Medicine is based on ancient Indian rituals in the Southeast and Gulf areas that involved burning pyres in the forest, with offerings of sweet plants  to ornament the smoke. After the burned woods cooled all was covered over by freshly dug earth.

The notes are described as native birch tar, viola and white spruce on a base of incense and cypress root. The sweetness of birch and viola comes through the smoky incense, reminding me a little of Avignon but with a lot more smoke and sweetness behind the woods and incense. This is the kind of fragrance that clings to hair and clothing. That is, not a big wide range of throw, but just enough to make your presence felt.

Freetrapper is another masculine, based on the world of the young men who cut the trails through the American wilds to get to the beavers; so much in demand by the hatters, doctors and perfumers of the day. They hunted and lived in the woods on their own, in a lawless self-reliant existence, a lot like cowboys did later in the far West. Notes are listed as dark cedar, snakeroot, wild bergamot (bee balm) and black pine. Again, there is a resinous sweetness like the smoke of a fine cigar coming through the woods and herbs. In my opinion this would be an excellent scent for a winter coat or scarf. Unwrapping yourself from woolens holding this scent would definitely register with those around you, in a intriguing and pleasant way, and be lovely to breathe in through the brisk air of the fall and winter months walking outdoors, either in the country or city.

Poppy Rouge is based on an old song about a woman getting herself ready to go out and find someone: “Give me red lipstick and a bright poppy rouge -- A shingle-bob haircut and a shot of good booze”. The jazz age flappers were the first generation  of women who openly wanted and knew how to have a good time for themselves, rather than be just show a good time to others. Orange flower, jonquil and parma violet are listed in the notes.

For those bright occasions when you want to signal a cheerful joie de vivre,without coyness, a fragrance that has that aura of liberated brightness, a spicy sweetness that holds a delicate floral feel and the sense of fragrant lipstick and rouge and a faint touch of powder on the knees, this would be it. Actually I see that red bloomers have come back, useful for biking in skirts, especially for the group Tweed Rides (no fleece, no spandex).

from Modern Foppery
The Orchid Drinkers – is based on tea made from powdered orchid tubers with a pleasant flowery scent and flavor, called Salep, that connected the Georgian English drinker to what was then the very fashionable exotic East. Drunk by wealthy ladies before coffee and regular tea came into England, in ancient Rome powdered orchid roots were used as an aphrodisiac. Notes are listed as airy orchid, sandalwood, bergamot and white tea. There’s a lightly potpourri quality to this, a soft Earl Grey tea overlaid with a sheer orchidaceous-ness, very civilized in a feminine way. Would go very well with powdered hair bedizened with diamonds and flowers.
Above images: from The Dandy Project;
Thirteen Things About Flappers;
Melrose & Spaulding Brooklyn Tweed Ride;
Modern Foppery on neo-Rococco hair and
DS & Durga The Orchid Drinkers flacon, from their site.
See my prior post on DS & Durga.


Jade Dressler said...

"This, this!," whispers my Native American self, emboldened to emerge from the boreal thicket w flowers, sticks n animal hides is the link! Thx Lucy!

Lucy said...

Jade, you'd make a nice partner for that florally decorated fellow ---


Jade Dressler said...

thx Lucy! odd but in addition to them all coming up from behind me, I have met all my besty men while wearing flowers. That would be a first to have the gent wear florals and meet me face-to-face. Into it. I deem one for you too, yours is reading an ancient book, wearing knickers and singing some nu-rock song in your ear while he dabs some scent on it.

Rhonda Allison said...

Nice blog. Giving great ideas for beginners. I have to catch up with your tips as there are plenty of them. Following through...Rhonda Allison

lostpastremembered said...

That Mississippi medicine sounds right up my alley... I love all those fragrances and the idea of them is lovely... also have a vague memory of reading of that orchid root used in many things... must check it out!!

Lucy said...

Deana, Salep would be up your alley for sure. I read it isn't available outside of Turkey though, cause people are digging up so many wild orchids they have become endangered. I recall seeing a salep flavored ice cream, pleasantly fragrant. Fragrant ice cream this summer, what do you say?