Saturday, 30 July 2016
I: Bulgari Black (Duncan)
I first saw him drinking coffee in a dimly lit corner of an airport Costa, face tinted blue by his laptop. My chair screamed as I pulled it out. He glanced up, smiled wearily and my heart lurched like a boat tied to stalwart iron tugging to flee.
Each Friday I travelled home to a cold northern city, to a house alive with family, to someone I’d loved for more than fifteen years; familiarity had perhaps dulled our edges, but the bonds, plastered, riveted, taped and put to bed were secure. We’d had moments of darkness, nights of war words; resolved in the light of pale morning, skin reeking of fuck and Dior. But I felt loved enough.
On weekly London commutes I saw him everywhere; at check ins, on trains to Liverpool Street, wandering scattered concourses, thumbing magazines in the warm, sugar-aired W.H. Smith. He trailed vanilla and a weird sniff of smoky plastic, mixed with businessman heat and exhaustion. It was intoxicating. I stalked his vapours.
‘Can I buy your coffee for you?’ He was standing behind me, exuding that sweet scent of Lego tires and chai. Such a casual request led us recklessly to a room in a hotel, sitting in loaded shadows, each of us wondering how the other tasted. It felt insane but my skin burned for him. ‘You smell of burnt tea and rubber, it’s driving me fucking crazy’. I stood and touched his face hard, pushing fingers over his lips and stubble. He flinched, then chewed and licked at my fingers. I leaned down and pushed my face into the gap of collar and neck. ‘What is this smell?’ I asked, nuzzling his throat, ‘it’s amazing’.
Friday, 15 July 2016
‘He had never looked forward to the wisdom and other vaunted benefits of old age. Would he be able to die young — and if possible free of all pain? A graceful death — as a richly patterned kimono, thrown carelessly across a polished table, slides unobtrusively down into the darkness of the floor beneath. A death marked by elegance.’
From Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
This piece must begin with a story of a gift and the kindness that accompanied it. In the weeks running up to the gluttonous excess of Esxence in March this year a certain cookie-obsessed Viennese resident asked if she could perhaps look out for a couple of brands on my behalf as she was Milan-bound with friends Dr Fox and creatrix extraordinaire Vero Kern. A very generous offer from Val the Cookie Queen, as many of you know her, a remarkable woman, passionate, forthright and loyal. I say this, as I have no real desire to attend these events and I know how much Val dislikes them, so her offer was not only incredibly kind but also selfless. Val’s awareness of scent is quite forceful, she understands the way it works, turns, convolutes and bullshits but she has beautiful taste in scent. She wears Vero Profumo perfumes mostly, in fact almost exclusively; she and they and Vero have symbiosis.
|Foxy's beloved copy of Mishima's|
'The Sea of Fertility'
So with Val’s offer in mind, I perused the list of attendees and chose only a handful of brands, some old friends, Mona di Orio, Masque Milano and One of Those (as Nu_be are now calling themselves) and a couple of brands I hadn’t tried before whose wares intrigued me, including UNUM and Homoelgans.
Thursday, 7 July 2016
‘..Long afloat on shipless oceans
I did all my best to smile
'Til your singing eyes and fingers
Drew me loving to your isle
And you sang
Sail to me, Sail to me
Let me enfold you
Here I am, Here I am
Waiting to hold you..’
From Song to the Siren (Music:Tim Buckley Words: Larry Beckett, Tim Buckley)
I have been coating and comforting myself in layers of blue refractive Nettuno most evenings these last few weeks before falling exhausted and troubled into bed filling the inert, unyielding mugginess of June nights with this most enigmatic and compelling of scents from the mind of quixotic olfactive siren Stefania Squeglia of Mendittorosa Odori d’Anima. Nettuno is the third of her charged and charismatic Talismans after the architectural patchouli rose curves of Le Mat and the sea urchin, booze and leather dream of Sogno Reale.
Le Mat, pulled from the earth, trailing dirt and life, Sogno Reale, a glittering oceanic oddity and now Nettuno an astral, alien thing, cosmic and weird, a glassy rose, rotating slowly in a cyan void. All three Talismans are the work of Amélie Bourgeois at Flair in Paris. Amélie and Anne-Sophie Behaghel created the entire Mendittorosa line including North, South, Id, Alfa and Omega. I reviewed Sogno Reale in December 2015; it was a scent that I’d craved reviewing and then it just surpassed my expectations:
|Mendittorosa Odori d'Anima|
‘It smells mysterious and unexpected. Reading any of the descriptions does not really prepare you for the curiosity of its gauzy ozonic games. It is a bizarre mix of Italian sea-food platter, awash with salt and iodine, shells, claws, rock and sand mingled with a fantasy of mer-people crowned in diadems of polished urchin shells in dazzling aqua shades.’ The Silver Fox. Dec 2015
Stefania is one of the most intriguing people in contemporary perfumery in this humble fox’s opinion, indulging openly in her passions for astrology, olfactive runes, fate and spirituality and pouring these desires into her collaborative odiferous work with Flair, glass makers, jewellers, poets, dancers, designers and a coterie of likeminded friends.