Posts tagged ‘Serge Lutens’

December 1, 2010

Bottled images

I mentioned in my last post that Valerie and I went to Mecca Cosmetica — again. I’ve been slowly sampling most of the fragrances there, and I’m developing a fondness for Serge Lutens. It’s quite a bittersweet fondness, though, because I think Lutens fragrances are really rather playful but somehow turn a bit generic on me. I think my skin chemistry brings out a musky sweetness in most perfumes, even in ones that aren’t really all that sweet to begin with.

I tried Chypre Rouge on one arm and Lutens’ latest ‘anti-perfume’, L’Eau. Chypre Rouge turned predictably sweetly musk on the dry-down on me, although I think there was an interesting fruity tang now and then. It’s a beautiful fragrance, I think, but ultimately quite forgettable — it’s already faded as I write this and I can’t really remember it.

L’Eau, on the other hand, has stuck with me a bit. I believe there are more interesting anti-perfumes on the market (like Commes des Garcons’ Odeur 71 and Odeur 53) but I’m quite fond of this one, even though it’s been described as a ‘giant box of laundry powder for $200’. People have found it quite linear or, at least, reminiscent of only one or two things: fresh laundry, and showers.


In the bottle and on paper, it smells like ironing. Like the impression of ironing: steam rising from cleaned sheets. It doesn’t smell like laundry detergent as such nor an obviously soapy smell, which I liked quite a bit. It smells cool and fresh. It actually does smell… clean.

On me, it seemed to take quite the journey. I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t take on the coolness that was suggested on the tester paper. It started with a sweet, citrus warmth, which made me just think my skin chemistry had turned an interesting perfume into the usual lemony stuff of mainstream ‘clean’ fragrances.

About fifteen minutes later, though, it shifted rather dramatically. The citrus notes had disappeared and I got the impression that I was smelling mildly scented laundry powder, which doesn’t sound all that flash now that I write it — but it was interesting to see it turn rather cool after the opening warmer notes.

By Dahliyani Briedis

Throughout the day, L’Eau kept morphing into something else. It was as though I was cleaning something myself. The laundry powder turned to wet sheets in the washing machine; to the faintly metallic smell of the dryer; to the dustiness of sunny spaces; and then to the sweet and fresh coolness of clean sheets. But it didn’t end there — all of a sudden I was smelling the crisp synthetic freshness of room spray, which turned back to the scent of clean sheets and then moved to the metallic warmth and nothingness of iron steam.

And then the scent moved away from the household and onto the person: it was a musky skin-scent; like clean, scrubbed skin without a hint of soap. It definitely wasn’t the sparkling cleanliness that characterised the notes of the first few movements — more like a soft, enveloping sense of clean, like bubble baths and white pillows. Like cuddling after showers, if you want to be fluffy.

And this skin-scent lasted for quite a while, wavering slightly back and forth between laundry-fresh and skin-fresh, as though I were swathed in my clean linens or had just donned a collared white shirt.

If Lutens’ aim was to guide the wearer through various concepts of ‘clean’, I think he did it extremely well. I haven’t had such clear visuals from a fragrance since Comme des Garcons’ Dover Street Market (tar! Smoke! Road! —It’s awesome) and, unlike many of Lutens’ creations, this scent seems to be remarkably playful on my skin. For a ‘clean’ scent, it is remarkably good — not groundbreaking, not breathtaking, but it did what it set out to accomplish with finesse.

And after years of wearing Christian Dior’s Miss Dior Cherie, it’s nice to break the heady sweetness with such a subtle palate-cleanser. As I have a signature scent, I can’t imagine shelling out the $200 for a bottle — but I suspect a few sample/miniature sizes will find their way into my perfume drawer rather soon.

November 30, 2010

Some rambles, and an outfit

Guess who was at Mecca Cosmetica again today? The sales assistants at Mecca Cosmetica  are really starting to recognise me and Valerie. I’d like to say that I’ll buy something, one day, but the Australian cosmetics market has staggeringly high mark-ups and it’s really much cheaper for me to get most of my things overseas. But I’ll buy something, one day.

Here is a Microsoft Paint rendition of what I was wearing:

I did it this morning, half-dressed. I prefer to do these scribbles when I haven’t yet seen the outfit on me, so that I capture the impression of the outfit instead of a literal depiction. It somehow looks very wrong if I try to do a literal depiction — the colours play off each other in a rather strange way.  I do think the cardigan is pretty much like that in real life, though, but that’s  basically how it comes across in my head. What do you think?

I’m wearing my favourite Alannah Hill skirt. It’s called ‘Lost in Headlights’ and I really do wear it an awful lot (case in point: with navy blue and cream; with pale blue; with black — though I haven’t yet shown that). My belt is called ‘Little Picket Fences’, which I’ve worn quite often because it tends to add this nice flash of colour and texture without being too bold. Without it, the entire outfit feels really unbalanced — the belt drags the cream tones of the skirt’s spots and of my stockings up, so that it’s not bottom-heavy and bright white, and the blue draws a line from the bow in my hair (which I made myself) to the shoes. It’s like a magnet, belt-ified. Which is very awesome. I need more in my life.

My stockings are cream with a faint mauve stripe running through them (difficult to see, but it might be there if you enlarge the photo). I can’t recall what they’re called, unfortunately, but if anyone is desperate to know, I will hunt through my receipts. This outfit was the first time I wore stockings with an open-toe shoe, really. I was never really against it as such; I just never saw an aesthetic reason for it in my wardrobe. But the peep of white is important here, I think; it breaks the blockiness of the stockings and the shoes. I’ve shared my shoes before (click the link for a close-up picture — it’s at the bottom of that post). They’re from Midas, with a bow I added myself.  I find I end up customising my shoes quite often just to get the right balance of colour, and I really love how these turned out.

Aaaand… the cardigan is called ‘Fly Away’ and is also from Alannah Hill. It isn’t really visible in this photo, is it? Hrm. It’s rather vital you see it. Here’s a not too dweeby photo of me (apologies to Valerie), but my shoes are cut off. I’m not too sure what I’m doing. I may be about to break into a strange ‘yay we’re home!’ dance:

So that’s my oufit. Plus minimal makeup. Ideally, I’d have OPI’s Suzi Says Feng Shui on my nails, but I didn’t have very much time to do my nails this morning. (Too busy drawing my outfit on Paint!) And no perfume, which is very important if you’re like me and your method of perfume purchasing is rather systematic. It involves a number of steps:

1. Identify the fragrance families and notes I like and compile lists of perfumes that interest me;

2. Hunt down stockists and spray perfumes on the testing papers. Then, I sniff and try to identify notes (because I’ve forgotten what they were), and scribble them down on the testing paper.

3. Decide on one, maybe two, to test on skin. Agonise for a while, often in such a way that the sales assistants begin to worry about mental state of health.

4.  Select the one or two fragrances, spray carefully (so as not to contaminate the other wrist, or Valerie’s, if she’s testing too).  Sniff wrists and look a bit baffled, because skin chemistry is a strange thing and always changes perfumes.

5. Laugh at Valerie if she’s selected one that turns to sweet garbage juice on her skin. Conversely, sob most dramatically if I’ve selected one that somehow turns to a white floral, because white florals give me headaches.

6. Spend the next two hours periodically sniffing my wrists to see if the fragrance has evolved in any way. Celebrate if it has; dwell in the mind’s Caves of Disappointment and Misery if it hasn’t.

Today’s sniffing ‘speriment involved Serge Lutens’ L’Eau, which is his new ‘anti-perfume’. I’m quite fond of it — I know it’s not very popular in the niche perfume sphere, but it seems to work quite well on my skin. Will post my thoughts on it in another post — I suspect this post is getting absurdly lengthy!

[Quick plug: if you haven’t already entered my giveaway, do consider it! I’m giving away three bottles of Ulta3 nail polish and a Moleskine notebook I decorated myself. All you have to do is leave me a little comment on this post (click) ^^.]