November 2017


„Dance is poetry made visible, the fragrance is a dance of molecules invisible.“

My story about dancing dates back to early childhood. One day, a seven-year-old, freckle-faced, green-eyed girl with thick and long braids asked her mom to take her to ballet lessons. It was something other girls talked about, elegantly raising their arms, swirling around, pretending to be ballerinas performing on stage.

So she did, my mother took me to a ballet school and signed me up for an admission, done by means of a training period at the end of which pupils take an entrance examination to the ballet school. I was so proud and happy, bright-eyed and could hardly wait for a class to start. Unfortunately, it seemed that I was the one who did everything – wrong. Splits? My hips weren’t that flexible. Routine? I seemed to be always the one who couldn’t repeat it without adding something of my own. Surely enough, one day after rehearsal my ballet teacher called me aside and said: „In my opinion, you’d make a perfect handball team player. Go and play handball! Ballet is not for you.“ My mother did not take me to ballet classes anymore after that day. I did start playing handball, never enjoyed it much (it is a quite rough sport) and quit playing in the 8th grade.

I grew up thinking that I cannot dance. Of course, hopping up and down and some feet shuffling was involved in rock concerts, in a disco or any other social event where people danced, but dancing? Like amateur dancing? No, that was just something I thought I had absolutely no talent for.

I admired every dancer, knowing it is such hard work. I loved to watch people dance, just any dancing, classical dances, hip hop, anything really. Especially ballet. To have all the strength of a beast and the fragility of a butterfly? I knew there is a dark side to professional dancing: it is mostly composed of blood, sweat, and tears. Literally.
The agony and ecstasy.

Years passed and I continued to avoid any thought of active dancing training. Work, family, friends, life happened. Until one day, when a young woman I met invited me to come and see what training looked like in her studio. It is a pole fitness studio, and all the insecurities emerged: I am not fit, I am not flexible, I cannot dance. Never could. So many self-limiting thoughts, too many not to be dealt with. I decided to go and give it a chance. The rest is history, really. I am now almost six years in active training and dancing routine, and yes! I have experienced the famous „zone“ quite often when dancing freely! I can dance! And how! Not in the way I thought about dancing as a little girl, not being a classical ballerina, but hey! I dance.

During hard, core muscles and flexibility training, I also learned that pain is a part of the process. That accepting pain is necessary, as is listening to your body. And that the body remembers, oh, it does! Pain is a fact, but suffering because of that pain is subjective. Along with anatomical control, every dancer, in my opinion, develops an expectation of a certain amount of pain or soreness. Maybe this acceptance is best learned at an early age, I like to think that an adult person can embrace it as well.

Yet, I am a recreational dancer. I can only imagine what professional dancers go through…What I have learned is that the body has laws of its own to be respected, though tamed. The satisfaction comes from the complete fusion of body and mind, letting go of all the rational thinking, having confidence in your body and being in the dance flow. The flow is what gives you the most pleasurable moments on the dance floor, or anywhere. Flow is a relationship between the level of challenge and skills: when both skills and challenges are abundant, you can reach the flow!

Precision is a prerequisite of grace.
As with perfumes, as with perfumes!

Those were my thoughts after my first encounter with „Precision and Grace“ perfume. I really admire Geza Schoen, and I was very curious about this perfume (for those who are unfamiliar with names of „Noses“, Geza created Eccentric Molecules, described as anti-fragrance, breaking the rules of fragrance composition). Even more curious when I read that his creative partner was Polina Semionova, an internationally famous ballet dancer. Let me quote her: „The precision only comes with hours of work in the studio. Then, when I go on stage, I don’t think anymore. I release myself to the music. I fly.“

„The Beautiful Mind Series celebrates women – not in the conventional way of the fragrance industry, as objects of desire – but for their intelligence and creativity. The imagery for the series, by design house Me Company, depicts the beauty of the brain in action. Instead of the faces of Stenger and Semionova, the packaging features neural pathways. These are imaginative representations of synapses connecting during memory retrieval, and of the kinesthetic intelligence of the dancer. Here, the non-conformism is all in the concept of the anti-celebrity fragrance, and the tribute to the dazzling female brain.
The dots and triangles are a series of placements, they represent the precise steps she must take,” explains Paul White of Me Company. The color flows reflect a different way of mapping a balletic gesture. “Dance is precise, but it’s also semi-airborne. The pulses of color reflect the flux of the dance, almost like motion capture trails. They represent the dancer’s freedom, her joy.”- The Beautiful Mind Series

I find the fragrance very feminine, but not in an overly powdery, sweet or sultry way, oh no. The opening is crisp and fresh, like when you sit in the wardrobe, preparing to dance. You can feel the adrenaline kicking in, but it makes you feel light and energized. The top note of Williams Pear is so delicious!

When you start to dance, making your first moves, still listening to the music, still rationally thinking, you feel the floral notes, jasmine mostly, mixed with a sweet and ripe plum. As you lose yourself to the music, florals of mimosa and osmanthus give in to warm and velvety tones. Everything surrounding you disappears. You are flying, emotions are your wings. Eyes closed, your body has a life of its own, its warmth and movement generate musky, sandalwood tones which breathe with your body, gently enveloping it, making you feel safe and secure. With a warm drydown of pure happiness, soul-deep joy! And it lasts and lasts…

In my opinion, this perfume gives the flow you experience in dancing an olfactory description. Enjoy it. Dance. Wherever and whenever you can. Yes, you can!

„The sexiest thing about a woman is her mind.” – Geza Schoen

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl private collection
Perfume Sample Provided By: TOP

This will be probably the shortest perfumes travelogue ever written in my blog series: what’s up in Paris?


I wanted to write just that and post some photos, but couldn’t resist, so here it goes…

Call me a Francophile if you wish: for me, Paris is the capital of the World. Fine perfumes world, too.

What can a perfume geek like me do&see&visit in Paris?

Now, here we have a problem: that depends on how much time you’ve got. A day or two will drive you crazy, a week wasn’t enough for me.

If you have a one day stay in Paris, I suggest making a quick tour of grands magazines: GalleriesLafayette, BonMarché and Colette.

Or Nose, 20 rue Bachaumont. Here you can find some well-known perfumes, all in one place, a fine selection. Running around from one to the other will be a race with time, so dress properly and get those metro tickets ready!

If you find the time, visit Le Grand Musée duParfum, I find it really fascinating!

For a bit longer stay, let’s say a couple of days, I suggest a visit to some major flagship stores, like the famous Guerlain shop on Champs Elysees.

Run quickly to see Serge Luton at Palais Royal. Do drop by AnnickGoutal’s at 14 rue de Castiglione, for some real chic Parisien, lingerie included (both in 1st arrondissement). I skipped Fragonard simply because I’ve spent days researching it in Grasse, but as long as you are running around the 1st, have a go. Oh, while you are there, drop in at Maitre Perfuemur et Gantier, yet another famous Parisian perfumer.

The man I adore, Francis Kurkdjian resides nearby as well:5 rue d’Alger was the one I rushed into. Then move over to Saint-Germain-des-Pres district, there you’ll find the flagship boutique of one of France’s most beloved modern noses, Frédéric Malle. My beloved as well… Don’t forget Parles Moi de Parfum, run by Benjamin and Romain Almairac. Their fine boutique has a selection of over 200 raw materials, which serve as a basis to create their niche perfumes.

If you are planning to devote a whole week to this kind of sightseeing, there are ooh! So many! Niche houses! I can’t really name them all here, but I know the next time I visit Paris I will certainly find time to go to Le Jardin Retrouve Salon…

Is that all? Not in your dreams. There’s more. And more. So much more. I already have a very long list of “must do’s”!

One thing is certain, though: I’ll be back…over and over again. Feeling like Alice in Wonderland…

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl private collection

Update: February 2018.

Short, business visit: this city gives me more and more each time I visit! Ok, Seine has flooded terribly but the spirit is high.

Since I didn’t have much time I planned a visit to Le Jardin Retrouve showroom. Apart from meeting Clara in person (finally!), she showed me everything: the history tree, concept, novelties, plans for new products and the lab!

Next time I will definitely save some time for JAR experience, which is on my bucket list as well. Enjoy the pics!

And, of course, some Guerlain classics at Guerlain flagship store, including the monster bottle spotted at Sephora, 68 Champs Elysees, just next door to Guerlain:

Love this city! ❤️💙❤️


Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl

„According to the legend, Venus lost her necklace during a sea bath and the pearls scattered in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It created a beautiful string of islands with Elba as the most beautiful of its jewels.”

This August I visited the island of Elba, during our summer road trip to Tuscany.

Here we go again, my son said in Piombino when we boarded a ferry: “Here we go again, a ferry&an island”. Because we have a summer cottage on the island of Brac, Croatia and his all childhood memories of summer vacations are tied mostly to that island, which he loves deeply. There are many similarities between the two! I felt at home. Yes, I am in love with seas, yes, my soul anchors in seas and yes! I need a vitamin sea often!

During the ride, I mostly enjoyed the scent of the Tyrrhenian sea. On your way you pass the island Palmaiola:

Upon arrival in Portoferraio, we started to explore the island, ancient and rich in history.

The legend says that Argonauts rested here, pirates invaded it now and then, it has had many rulers throughout its history. Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814. He fell in love with it and carried many reforms to improve the quality of life on the island. He did escape after 300 days spent there…This is a view from the outer wall of the garden of his former residence:

Of course, Napoleon is still present here 🙂 Take a look:

Every island is predetermined by the sea that surrounds it. The scent of the sea is ever-present and changing, it is not the same in the mornings, evenings or nights, it is not the same in January or August, it is not the same depending on from which direction wind blows. The scent of the sea mingles with flora on the island, fragrances of sunbathed low plants in the noon, fig-trees respiring in hot summer evenings, eucalyptus trees murmuring in the wind, citruses protruding every here and there…

When I walked the streets of Portoferraio after an afternoon spent on the beach, I searched for Acqua dell’Elba stores, knowing these perfumes are the only possible souvenirs I will take home with me:

Not only did I enjoy these perfumes in situ, I also bring you a short interview with one of the owners. I was so fascinated with their effort that I just had to find out more!

The heart of Acqua dell’Elba is in the laboratory in Marciana Marina, where the owners, Chiara, Fabio, and Marco have worked since 2000. Together with master craftsmen who gave life to their perfumes. It was also here that the first Acqua dell’ Elba shop was born. The story of how the company has been born is interesting as well: the three owners went sailing in their boat. They reached Paolina’s cliff, where an ancient ivory statue kept the secret of the essence in its top. So they decided to recreate that fragrance, the scent of the sea surrounding Elba…you can find more details on their web page, but this is what they told me, Q and A’s.

Q: Is there a difference between Italian and French perfumery?

A: The only difference in our sector is between mass and niche products. Even if we’re trying to expand our markets and enlarge the number of people how know and appreciate Acqua dell’Elba, we are a still small company, operating in a niche, who share with other niche companies the same values: authenticity, passions, uniqueness.

Q: How would you describe the style of your creations?

A: Acqua dell’Elba is the Essence of the Sea. Its uniqueness lies in the creation of artisan fragrances inspired by the sea in one of the most beautiful island of the Mediterranean Sea. Each product is created by expert Tuscan craftsmen using natural raw materials of the highest quality.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge in perfume production today?

A: Being authentic, meaning by that the capacity to maintain a link with your roots, your territory, and your background. As for the wine sector, the perfumery industry should work much more on the concept of “terroir”.

Q: Which one is your favorite in the collection?

A: As a man who likes nature and a wooden tone, my favorite is Arcipelago Uomo. (An aromatic and flowery fragrance for him with notes of -Spices: sage, pepper, and rosemary -Flowers: lily-of-the-valley and jasmine -Woods: Mediterranean shrubs, cedarwood, and cypress)

Q: Which one would you say represents the very soul of Elba?

A: All Acqua dell’Elba’s products bring to people a piece of Elba: The elegance of the landscapes with Classica; the adventure of the nature with Arcipelago; the deep of the sea with Blu; the energy of the wind with Sport; the essence of an island with Acqua, Smeraldo, and Altrove.

Q: I recently purchased three different Acqua dell’Elba perfumes. While visiting Elba I went for a swim on Portoferraio city beach and after that, sea salt still in my hair, I walked into one of your shops. Smeraldo was my first choice because my afternoon smelled just like that. Which one is for you is the scent of a romantic evening on Elba?

A: Acqua, the perfume for the couple, the perfume of love… (A fragrance for ladies and gentlemen with notes of – Fruits and Spices: citrus fruits, myrtle berries, and sea salt -Flowers: marine algae, sea moss, myrtle, and jasmine – Woods: cedarwood)

The perfume of love. For the sea…A sea lover I am and I find that simply beautiful. Now I have a dream: I would love to work on the creation of a perfume speaking in olfactory language about the island of Brac as well!

The Plum Girl

Photos: ThePlumGirl private collection and Acqua dell’ Elba 

Perfume notes: as stated by Acqua dell’Elba