Claude Monet. Water Lilies. c. 1920.
Oil on canvas, triptych, each section 6'6" x 14" (200 x 425 cm).
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mrs. Simon Guggenheim Fund.
Photograph ©1997 The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (DSH Perfumes) recently released several floral perfumes based on an ideal of French impressionist beauty crossed with shades of vintage perfume, for a collaboration with the Denver Museum of Art. There are also two other perfumes that refer to the 19th century academic side of French taste at that time, one that referenced the classics and the past as much as our own does.
These all seem to have the same feel of vibrant delicacy, airiness and subtle notes that grow in harmonious complexity over time. They are primarily skin scents but hold with strength and vigor there, to survive even a hot shower. They are all great beauties in the individualist style of DSH.
Le Jardin Vert is as the name promises, green and fresh dew and mist, with black earth and even a touch of the lilac/mixed floral freshness that lays over an entire garden at certain times of year, as a sheer vapor that permeates the air. A little woodiness, and simultaneously the open freshness is grounded with an overall arrangement of notes that magically support an overall sense of well being.
Probably it is ingrained in most humans to feel tranquil and content if surrounded by the scent of fresh live green plants, which notes are here arranged in an Audrey Hepburn style of forthright and innocent grace.
A soft-voiced aromatic presence, as I love musks it suits my taste exactly that this creates an invisible envelope of well being.
It joins in with that peaceful intimate garden shown in countless impressionist paintings, a place of tranquility. If you are open to it this olfactory experience may well lay down a sense memory of peace and well being for you; I see it as building a inner emotional and mental resource.
Giverny in Bloom (EdT) continues the theme of La Danse only layered over with a dense cover of many florals, along with the sun on them bringing out their scents. This has a calm within its center but there is an excitement there from the multiple delicate florals joining together to cause the nose and memory to raise their hackles. Pleasurable ones, those pin-pricks of happiness recalled from all the many times you subconsciously incorporated all the flowers you have known within yourself.
There is the touch of realism within an abstract composition, rather like the impressionism of Monet painting of his Giverny water lilies. Those gigantic water lily paintings that wrap around your vision, that dissolve the closer you get into color, and then sharpen into a recognized form a distance. These perfumes dive into that atmosphere.
Then there are two perfumes that come from the opposite end of the 19th Century French ornamental spectrum.
|Faux curtain at the Paris Opera Garnier via Vagabond Design|
In the vein of the Garnier Opera House in Paris, in the mood of the 19th Century romantics, in the mood of Fleuriste rather than the impressionist garden perfumes, it translates the over the top ornamentation of that other, opposite end of French taste into its core element of flowing luxuriant vitality, with the central note of a red rose surrounded by supporting floral shades.
Fleurist (EdP) makes a soliflore first impression, then revealing itself to be far more than a solifore. Based on a sheer carnation, with a many faceted and lighthearted approach to this dense and heavy flower. Pepper acts as a shadow that highlights a bright clove.
There is nothing heavy here, all the aspects of a carnation gather in transparent layers that together display a flexible, slim kind of dancer's strength. A summer carnation for any season.
The vintage tone comes through as an invisible, perhaps aldehydic uplift, with a mineral almost coppery earthiness. It's a beauty with a refined, delicate air, almost otherworldly, shades of varying aromatic impressions that create a craving for more. One of those perfumes that lives within its own world. I would love to live the life, at least for awhile, that is implied. It is elegant in a way that seems from another time. The partial list of supporting notes listed are neroli, jasmine grandiflorum, rose, and ambergris.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has been and continues to be a painter, and these perfumes visit the classics of art of another time, that we know well and revere, as we now do the vintage formulations of classic perfumes. There is that distinctive tang of the vintage about them, but they are still essentially modern both in their reference to the past and how they take what they want from it for those aspects that enhance a contemporary and even timeless aromatic experience.
DSH is a true indieperfumer, and so goes wherever inspiration carries her. She is prolific and has created a style of her own that is immediately known once you have experienced it. Her site offers sample sets of the wide range of collections she has built over decades. One of my favorite perfumers, I always look forward to new perfumes.
Disclosure: Samples sent to me by the perfumer.
Please follow the links above for much more information.
Monet's Waterlilies above are the three in MOMA, as captioned in the first image.
If you have not been there recently it's always worth visiting again for the experience of these alone.
Vagabond Design has a great piece and more photos of the Paris Garnier Opera House.
Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.