Of deconstructed chypres and prismatic florals

If you’ve read even only a few of my posts, you know that perfume classification is a pet subject of mine.  I guess it’s the librarian in me which loves the challenge of creating a finite, controlled vocabulary which can describe everything in the perfume universe.  I love Michael Edwards’ taxonomy but I’d like to think that I might come up with my own one day.

Marketing is something completely different, as is blogging.  And so when I see new expressions to describe perfumes, they always grab my attention.  Here’s to uncontrolled vocabularies which pique the curiosity and feed the soul!

Let’s look at a couple of great examples.  Luca Turin describes Joy Parfum as a symphonic floral.  Right!  I get it.  A symphony of flowers.  And when Denyse Beaulieu described Estée Lauder’s Jasmine White Moss as a holographic chypre… YES!!!  Lauder’s fragrance is a holograph of a chypre… a sort of olfactory “trompe l’oeil”!  I guess that would be a “trompe nez”?  (But then again, isn’t ALL of perfume an expression of trompe nez.)

In contrast, I once read that 31 rue Cambon was a chypre-less chypre!  Ouch!  Not very satisfying.  Or how about Estée Lauder’s prismatic floral?  That would be Beyond Paradise. Symphonic floral, I get.  Prismatic floral?  Not so much.  But kudos to the Lauder marketing people for trying.

And very recently, I read on a little card next to Mugler’s Chyprissime, “deconstructed chypre”.  I’m not sure I get this one either.  What is a deconstructed chypre?

So let’s end this post with a trompe l’oeil of a trompe l’oeil. You see… people who attended the Alexander McQueen fall/winter fashion show of 2006 thought that they had just seen a moving hologram of Kate Moss. Well, the technology didn’t exist at the time (and still doesn’t) and so what they saw was a decidedly downmarket, low-tech trompe l’oeil trick of Victorian haunted houses called Pepper’s Ghost.

Although it’s not a hologram as we define a hologram today, it’s still very striking and impressive.  (Thanks to Denyse of Grain de Musc who first brought this one to my attention).


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