MUS­INGS

Fashion (Canada) - - Musings - NOREEN FLANA­GAN, ED­I­TOR-IN-CHIEF FOL­LOW ME ON TWIT­TER AND IN­STA­GRAM @NOREEN_FLANAGAN OR SEND A NOTE TO LET­[email protected]

It’s not quite win­ter as I pen this note, but the chilly wind and fall­ing leaves sig­nal its im­mi­nent ar­rival. I’ve just fin­ished tak­ing down our bal­cony gar­den, which is al­ways bit­ter­sweet. I’m re­minded of warm nights, al­fresco din­ners with friends and lazy af­ter­noons spent read­ing in this quiet oa­sis. For the next six months, I’ll look out on this empty space and pine for sum­mer. This year, I ap­proached the task a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. In­stead of hastily stash­ing the wilted and dy­ing flow­ers and herbs into the gar­den waste bags, I took a mo­ment to savour the scent they left on my fin­gers. It’s that scent—es­pe­cially the basil—that will stay with me over the com­ing months. When I smell the store-bought ver­sion in De­cem­ber, it will re­mind me of the prom­ise of spring. I credit Olivier Polge, Chanel’s per­fumer, with in­spir­ing me to take no­tice of this sim­ple ol­fac­tory mo­ment. In Septem­ber, I met with Polge in the fields of Grasse in south­ern France where flow­ers are grown for their fra­grances. When I asked him about some of his favourite me­mories as­so­ci­ated with scent, he re­called a time 20 years ago when he was in south­ern Italy in a huge shed filled with berg­amot. “In my mind, I re­mem­ber that smell as if it were yes­ter­day,” he said, smil­ing. “Some­times [the scents you re­mem­ber are sim­ple], like when you put your hands on the leaves of a gera­nium.” While I was in Grasse, I also had a buck­etlist op­por­tu­nity to tour tuberose and jas­mine fields with Joseph Mul, the gra­ciously un­der­stated farmer whose fam­ily has worked the land for gen­er­a­tions. In 1987, Mul started grow­ing flow­ers that Chanel uses in its fra­grances. Read “Be­witched” (page 60) to dis­cover what bloom lingers most in his mind. Grow­ing flow­ers re­quires pa­tience and pas­sion, but the pay­off is a new crop each spring that is des­tined to live on in the fra­grances we then im­print with our own me­mories and dreams.

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