I think that the most magical and imaginative olfactory universe is that of Serge Lutens. He cultivates a certain genre, as his perfumes never leave you indifferent, regardless if you like them or not. They give birth to moods and retrieve emotions, caprices, dreams, and sighs; they are “populated” by twisted oriental notes, raised from the dark and offers as a sort of… confession… especially if you read the texts that accompany the perfume’s bottle. Some texts are difficult to decode, as they seem more as collages of thoughts and memories, of illusions and disillusions, new ways of seeing and understanding what already has happened in his life, but also what is going to be next.
The Serge Lutens collection appears, very clearly, split in two, the darkness and the light. These two never merge. They’re not even close. He was, so far, more prolific in the dark area and, even if he didn’t completely let go of the noir theme, you can notice in recent years an increasing interest toward more aquatic and airy editions: Nuit de Cellophane, La Religieuse, L`Orpheline, the L`Èau series, De Profundis (here he tricks us with the name because the perfume itself is clearer and brighter than crystal). And this La Vierge de Fer by Serge Lutens comes to confirm this hypothesis.
La Vierge de Fer smells extremely clean and pure and this doesn’t come as a surprise since its dominant note is the lily. It is white, towering, and virtuous. Not one bit sordid, ambiguous, without any slides toward sweet carnal excesses or funeral allusions; the lily is, in this case, a central glorious and crystalline piece. You can feel the frankincense, but vaguely, far from being a practical presence.
Maybe it just underlines the “cool” sensation of the whole. So, we have a supple, tall, fresh and cold white floral, a persistent perfume, obviously feminine and rather awkward for the house that pushed it out in the world. Fun fact: in my case, the perfume slightly brings back the smell of the Pantene shampoo. This is why every time I feel it, I think about the smell of freshly washed hair after I come back from a walk in the chill of the early morning. Maybe because of its “clean” aspect it was associated with the Maid of Orleans – Joan of Arc. Who knows. Marketing stories should never be taken as they are. But, sometimes, they can offer small clues. It is obvious here that the theme goes with the scent of the perfume. I wouldn’t have considered Queen Margot, for instance.
La Vierge de Fer by Serge Lutens is entirely fresh and unchanging, rather simply built, but with a huge effect. I really like it, I actually want it. Maybe some sophomores see it as a faux-pas because it doesn’t resemble with the style that established Serge Lutens, being way too steady, too bright, too “easy to wear”, too nice, even from the first try.
So what, it is a nice thing after all and easy to digest, belonging among the small pleasures of life.