MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
Influenced by everything from Picasso to Klimt, Byzantium to Ancient Greece, the most beguiling perfumes all have secret meanings. By Emma Zacharia.
Salvador Dalí said that “of the five senses, smell is unquestionably the one that best t gives the idea of immortality.” In his s characteristically oblique way, the painterr was on to something; fragrance cann conjure moods, feelings, and memories s more quickly than most media. It cann be personal, precious, and, importantly, ephemeral – all reasons why for centuries scent has been n associated with fine art, poetry, and legend. Though the ideall of beauty (achieved through harmony, proportion, and truth) has been pursued by artists since the time of the Ancientt Greeks, its properties are valued equally by perfumers. Golden vials inspired by Classical art and architecture e remain as relevant today as they did to the Ancient Egyptians, whose incense-based mixtures inaugurated the scented culture of seduction.
Take, for instance, Yves Saint Laurent’s aromatic cologne, Kouros, created in 1981 by the perfumer Pierre Bourdon. Blending dry coriander, sage, and vetiver with sweet patchouli, bergamot, and honey, it takes its name and inspiration from the ancient G Greek kouroi, the freestanding freestanding, muscled male nude sculp sculptures often found Van Cleef & Arpels Rêve Enchanté EDP, RM399 (100ml)
YPablo Picasso Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau Fraîche, RM301 (50ml) & RM444 (100ml) n near temples dedicated to Apollo. Remarking on a trip to Greece he made before the fragrance’s inception, Saint L Laurent said: “I was fascinated by the bl blue of the sea, the sky, and its intense freshness ... At the same time, I dreamed of the statues of young men with all the splendour of the ancient Greeks. I had my new perfume, and its name.”
Dolce & Gabbana’s latest offering, the One Collector’s edition, also draws on antique artistry: the glittering burnished gold mosaics and coins of Domenico Dolce’s native Sicily. The opulent Byzantine decoration found inside the island’s Norman-Moorish cathedrals at Monreale, Cefalù, and the Cappella Palatina in Palermo have already been referenced in Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion collections (fluted Corinthian columns in miniature supporting precarious stilettos; crumbling ruins printed across structured tunics), and the One Collector’s Edition invokes them through scent. Each bottle is crowned by a golden Sicilian coin, embossed with Classical gods and goddesses promising to bestow wisdom, courage, and intelligence upon the wearer with every airy spritz.
Meanwhile, Estée Lauder’s Modern Muse is inspired by ancient mythology. A woody, floral mix of honeysuckle, amber wood, and dewy petals, it celebrates the nine muses, the personification of science and the arts, represented
Many fragrances reference the rich world of art Estée Lauder Modern Muse Chic, RM307 (50ml) & RM445 (100ml)