In my review of Vamp à NY, I wrote that Olivia Giacobetti had found her bearings in the organics register, but actually I think it’s more than that: what she’s doing is extending the vocabulary of perfumery by staying within the range of familiar aromas, while displacing the locus of perception of these aromas. In other words, she’s managed to shift what is usually perceived in the mouth, through retro-olfaction, to a purely olfactory sensation. And what’s more, she’s doing it by exploring a palette very seldom used in perfumery (Bertrand Duchaufour is one of the few who regularly plays with it): the vegetable.
For her new Honoré des Prés collection, Giacobetti has hit on the idea of raw. Raw in the sense of raw materials: working within a more limited range, she’s had to keep things simple – conciseness is the essence of her style to begin with. So that Vamp à NY almost reads as just that, a barely enhanced tuberose absolute. But also raw in the sense of “not cooked”…
What’s so delightful about I love les Carottes is the sensation of having your nose stuck in a hyper-realistic CARROT with all its facets opened up and displayed: the sweet tenderness of its flesh bolstered with orange, its natural partner-in-juice, but also the woody core, the rootiness extended by iris, and the bits of earth clinging to it in the farmer’s market – patchouli, from which Giacobetti has lifted the moist earth notes without dragging in the camphoraceous ones. The choice of carrot is also interesting in that it neatly dovetails into the concept of Honoré des Prés -- someone who’s interested in organic perfumery is apt to drink freshly pressed carrot juice. Why not wear it? After all, carrot is really an extension of iris.
The construction reprises classic codes of perfumery – green, lactonic, balsamic – in a playful, off-hand style, but it skews them towards a novel set of references. Giacobetti has often worked with food aromaticians, and has never restricted herself in her exploration of smelly things – she was, after all, the one to introduce the fig note (in Premier Figuier) as well as incense (in Passage d’Enfer) a step before the Comme des Garçons trilogy. She’d actually already worked on a carrot theme for L’Artisan Parfumeur, the discontinued Fleur de Carotte. If someone is inventing an offshoot of the gourmand family, it might not be the team behind Mugler’s Womanity, but the maverick Olivia Giacobetti.
The Honoré des Prés trio will be launched in the US in September.
There are still a few people who haven’t sent me their addresses for the Vamp à NY giveaway. Please hurry, I’d like to ship this week, next week I’ll be in London.
CJBlue, CyndiN, Dissed, Isabelle Graber, JAntoinette, Nancy,
Stars au Naturel, Therese, Trhoades, Dingo, Robert...
either send your address or send it back, it may have got lost in the battle!