Things take form when we open our eyes. The four dimensions twist invisibly, the molecules drain through the tissue of length, width, height, and time, and the forms appear without our realization of the whole process the moment it takes place. Form…
Too physics-related to digest? No worries, I just wanted to give you the idea of how I approached a fragrance I am going to review over the next paragraphs.
I love Physics, though, in my school years, it was one of the most unpopular classes. I am of the firm belief Physics is the root of all Art, it’s the science of dreamers and carries the solutions to all our problems. I challenge you to prove me wrong! In the meantime, I would serve you with some words about one of the billion pieces of art that prove me right: Michael Sontag FORM by Mark Buxton for Verdúu Perfumes:
Verdúu Perfumes is, as they wrote on their Facebook page, “an international perfume project which connects fashion designers, perfume enthusiasts and outstanding creatives from all over the world.” The brand gives a platform for talented designers to collaborate with one of the most prolific and conspicuous creators in the modern perfume world, Mark Buxton. He is the author of one of my absolute favorites of all time, Comme des Garcons 2, and one of the first perfumes I was able to buy myself with my own earned money, Café Café Puro by Café Parfums (quite underrated, I should say).
On the other hand, the designer responsible for the idea of FORM is Michael Sontag, who is famous for working without drawing sketches, but draping the textiles around the bodies of the mannequins. Minimal, clean, yet edgy and stylishly deviating from any current trends – that is, to sum up, what his ‘fluent’ work outcome is about.
Have you ever broken an old mercury thermometer and tried to catch and gather the metal droplets with a spoon and a glass? I have. Have you ever succeeded in doing so? Neither have I. That is the way I am trying hard to define the fragrance of FORM. Not that it is undefinable. If I may put it from a physics perspective, its scent structure is like a set of eccentric circles – having their axis of revolution displaced from their center so that they are capable of imparting reciprocating motion. It’s not a bad thing, it makes the fragrance interesting, though hard to handle at first sniff, literally and figuratively, hah!
Even removing the cap and smelling the vial, gets me high with the opiate smell of fresh paint, thinners, and turpentine, dirty floors, patches of dark and blazing light, corners with chairs piled up with stinky work clothes – the attributes of a painter’s atelier. There is also a pet living there – either a vagabond tom-cat or a loyal retriever.
Whenever I get a wet pet fur in a fragrance, I am almost sure Jasmine sambac is used in a concentrated form, which frees the animalic vapors hidden in the indoles of the innocent white petals. In a blink of an eye, a transition of the scene is made, as if the circle turned abruptly on the opposite end of a scent palette. White sheets of linen spread out and swish in the spring air, delivering the piercing smell of homemade soap, tickling sunrays, and freed spirit.
Are these aldehydes playing with my nose?
Suddenly my heart rate escalates, urged to bounce out of the chest cage and race through the green fields like an unleashed stallion. How come this impetus fades away? The circle swirls in another direction and the bumping settles to normal in a soothing medium of soap powder and chalk dust. As soon as a meditating ball rolls off the edge of a table, the soapy dryness rolls into a wound-healing balm, and there one specific ointment, containing retinol and vitamin D derivatives, that smells exactly like this phase of the perfume. In my country, it’s called Deflamol and is commonly used for burnt skin. I can associate it with another smell if you don’t buy this – the smell of a snuggling asleep pet, dry, balmy and warm.
Are you tired? There is more! The development doesn’t stop here. Despite its obvious subsidence, new aspects of the composition emerge. Invitingly mellow bitter leather and geranium are like a prelude to the final turns of the fragrant circles. Eventually, the perfume lets us rest and sink into the reassuring downiness of the scent of warm naked skin.
Some people would compare it to a fresh-out-of-the-shower skin, some – to the after-sex skin smell, but I suppose it depends on a handful of factors like weather, hormones, physical and psychic exertion… The timelessness of the last weeks helped me perceive it as the scent of a peacefully nursed baby.
The best association, isn’t it?
Lyubov Panayotova, Guest Writer
Notes, as listed by the brand:
Top: Bergamot, Ylang, Geranium, Cardamom, Elemi
Heart: Jasmin, Suede, Cistus, Styrax, Cumin
Base: Oakwood, Patchouli, Birch Tar, Cedarwood, Musk
Photos: Lyubov Panayotova, Michael Sontag
Special thanks to Christi Long of Eau My Soul FB Group for making this collaboration of The Plum Girl Blog with guest writers possible, and providing a “safe place” for so many perfume lovers.
Disclaimer: The sample was graciously provided to The Plum Girl Blog by Mark Buxton during Pitti Fragranze 2018 in Florence.