July 12, 2017
Model wearing Bakelite bracelets, c. 1970s
Tuberose is a bit two-faced. She can be the sauciest floozy in town, all animalic carnality and buttery buxomness. But meet her another day, and she is positively green; potently floral and still something of a seductress,but more Kim Novak than Jane Mansfield. Naomi Goodsir’s Nuit de Bakélite is in a league of her own: the only tuberose I’ve met that has more facets than Elizabeth Taylor’s engagement ring. Alternately crunchy with plant stems, smoky, creamy, rooty, floral; sylvan and urban all at once. It is tuberose maximus, the distillation of every conceivable aspect of the flower, the ground where it grew, the braceleted hand that cut the blossom, the smoke in the air of the room it now sits in. It’s the whole kit and caboodle of everything tuberose. And it’s a knockout.
Top L-Naomi Goodsir Accesories, A photo of Naomi Goodsir's Bakelite Jewelry on her finger and wrist, Bottom: Isabelle Doyen (MC) and Nuit de Bakélite (photo Ermano)
There is, of course, a back story. Nuit de Bakélite’s genesis came about some four years ago when Australian milliner, designer and Creative Director Naomi Goodsir shared her love of vintage 1930s Bakelite jewelry with superstar perfumer Isabelle Doyen. Co-Creative Director, Renaud Coutadaudier, had known perfumer Mme. Doyen for 13 years as a friend, but they had never worked together. The inspiration was sparked, and after a number of iterations during which Coutadaudier, Goodsir and Doyen worked closely together, what emerged was a tuberose that turns tuberose on its head, flips it back and whirls it around. Isabelle Doyen describes her singular creation as “tuberose sap, peeled tuberose, tuberose in a cage of green and leather …” It is all those things and more.
Aline Weber, photo Liz Collins for Numéro #132, April 2012 ©
If you thought you knew tuberose from Fracas and its buttery buddies, or from the girlish green floral of Estee Lauder Private Collection, Nuit de Bakélite will have you rethinking tuberose’s distinctive charms. The thick dairy lactones of the lounging voluptuary are there, certainly, acknowledging tuberose’s vintage antecedents with a classical spray of white flowers. But so too is the fresh breeze-blown fragrance of young buds, the tuberose as she is just getting out of bed.
Photo by Takeuchis for Cake Magazine©
Nuit de Bakélite starts with a crunchy, juicy, clean greenness, uncannily like a fresh lettuce leaf pulled straight from the ground.The crisp verdancy of this top note is quickly joined by pastryish sweetness from iris and angelica. Kharo karounde, with its citrusy-jasmine bouquet, joins in, opening out the grassiness of the opening and accentuating tuberose’s airier, virginal side.
Garconne (Nadja Auermann), photo by Ellen von Unwerth, Paris, 1991
Then things get a bit smudgy as a waft of smoke adds a kohl-like veil over the intensity of the florals. In the middle stages, rippling layers of resins, white flowers and woods peak through at different moments, making Nuit de Bakélite a sultry floriental one moment, a Sobranie puffing garconne the next.
Vintage Barbie, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Neil Taylor Collection©
In reference to its namesake, Nuit de Bakélite has a distinctive plastic note that comes out now. Initially, it is buried beneath the topsoil of woody and smoky notes of the middle stage. But after half an hour or so, it gradually begins to stand out, smelling like a combination of Barbie doll and vintage melamine plates. It adds a quirky, modern quality to a classical composition.
Jayne Mansfield, 20th Century Fox promotional photo, c. 1950s
Like your tuberose with cream? Wait till the dry-down. You’ll find that Nuit de Bakélite has gotten in touch with her bad self again, channeling the busty pinups of Technicolor. Now she morphs into a milky vixen almost rosy and custard-like.
Manolo Blahnik as Nancy Cunard for a drag ball at London's Porchester Hall, photo by Peter Schlesinger, 1972
Nuit de Bakélite proves for perhaps the first time that tuberose can be just as much a chameleon as narcissus, violet and jasmine. Give her a little time, and this fleshy white flower will perform a striptease that, while showing off her naughty side, brings you also to the unadorned, dewy plant she can be when she chooses. In Nuit de Bakélite’s waning moments, this eccentric tuberose settles down on her chaise longue, lights a smoke, winks at you through her monocle and beckons you with a crooked finger. You’d be a fool to resist.
Notes include angelica, violet leaf, galbanum, orris, karo karounde, tuberose, leather, davana, styrax, tobacco, labdanum, gaiac wood, everlasting flower, ylang, and woods
Disclaimer: Sample provided by Naomi Goodsir – many thanks. My opinions are my own.
— Lauryn Beer, Senior Editor
via Naomi Goodsir
Editor's Note: If we were holding our year-end "Best of Scent" today Naomi Goodsir Nuit de Bakélite would be on the shortlist for "Fragrance of the Year". If you are in the EU, Fragrance & Art has it available here and if you are in the USA head on over to Luckyscent, to order now! -MC
Thanks to the incredible generosity of our friends at Naomi Goodsir, we have a 50 ml bottle for draw to one registered reader in the U.S., Canada or Europe. Please register here or your comment will not count. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying what appealed to you about Nuit de Bakélite based on Lauryn’s review, whether you have a favorite Naomi Goodsir perfume, and where you live. Draw close July 16, 2017