June 2, 2017
Madalina Stoica and Julien Blanchard Jul et Mad via instagram
JUL ET MAD Paris, founded in 2012 by Creative Directors Madalina Stoica-Blanchard and Julien Blanchard, debuted three new fragrances in their Les White Collection at this year's Esxence, March 23-26, 2017.
Fugit Amor, Bella Donna and Mon Seul Désir photo by Ermano from Esxence
A favorite representative of three different artistic mediums inspired each perfume in the trilogy: painting, sculpture and tapestry. Luca Maffei created Bella Donna, extrait de parfum, in response to the painting “La Belle Ferronnière”; the Renaissance portrait (purported to be by Leonardo da Vinci). Stéphanie Bakouche was inspired by August Rodin's sculpture Fugit Amour and by the Flemish medieval tapestry Mon Seul Désir.
La Belle Ferronnière
“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Mystery and controversy surround the ever-popular work of the Renaissance “La Belle Ferronnière”. Over the years art experts have often wondered if the beautiful lady in the portrait was really painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Her identity has also never been truly established. The name “Ferronnière " simply refers to the ornament she wears on her brow, a delicate chain supporting a gilded jewel, a popular fashion accessory in late 15 century Lombardi.
Luca Maffei, Madalina and Julien in front of “La Belle Ferronnière" at the Louvre, Paris Photo Jul Et Mad
When I look closely at the painting, the Bella Donna fragrance comes into focus.The first scent I notice is a zing of fresh ginger with a touch of citrus, portraying the almost defiant, yet vulnerable gaze of the young woman in the portrait. Sandalwood paints the color of her eyes and hair and the richly fruity, fleshy pink mulberry accord reflects the youthful warmth of her skin. Mulberry is central to my perception and understanding of this beautiful lady. I am conscious of mulberry from the opening through the heart and well into the dry down. At about thirty minutes I begin to notice the rusty roses that scent her gown and the delicate tracery of ribbons and embroidery in orris, jasmine and magnolia. “La Belle Ferronnière” is supported, in the painting, by a wooden balustrade. The fragrance also seems to lean and rest on the base notes of sweet woods set off by a background of resins and musk. My experience of Bella Donna is quite intimate. The olfactory image stays with me for six hours and more, youth and mystery haunting my imagination. Notes: Bergamot, Fresh Ginger, Mulberry Accord, Magnolia Flower, Jasmine Absolute. Centifolia Rose Absolute, Orris Butter, Ylang Ylang, Sandalwood, Saffron, Benzoin, Opoponax, Labdanum and Musk.
Francesca da Rimini and Paolo Malatesta, 1819 – Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
The tale of Fugit Amor, the tragic love story of Paolo Malatesta and Francesca de Rimini, was immortalized by Dante Alighieri in Canto V of the Inferno from his Divine Comedy. At the very moment of their first kiss, the lovers were murdered by Francesca's husband (Paolo's oldest brother) Giovanni and were eternally damned to the second circle of hell. The sculptor Auguste Rodin revisited the love story in stone and bronze. In 1880 he was commissioned to create La Porte de l'Enfer (The Gates of Hell), inspired by Dante's Inferno. Many of the figures created for this work became stand-alone sculptures, among them the provocative Fugit Amor. Today "Fugit Amore" appears once more, but this time as a fragrance by perfumer Stéphanie Bakouche.
Fugit amor, Auguste Rodin 1891
The spicy, peppery opening of the Fugit Amor suggests the hot wind and the heated atmosphere of the second circle in Dante's Inferno and the forever un-resolved passion of the star-crossed lovers. A strong presence of cardamom and the incense notes of resinous elimi add an otherworldly air. The spice motif continues, but with the cool effect of carnation, rounded and smoothed with amber. Despite the elegant flow of this fragrance, I can detect the tension of opposing forces – love and lust – a burning heat and an unmistakable chill – that seem to be tearing the figures in Rodin's sculpture away from each other. The spicy carnation and ambery floral heart lasts for at least six hours. As Fugit Amor dries down I can detect a breath of cedar wood and vetiver that seem to add fuel to fires of the inferno. The sillage reflects the intimacy of the lovers, but the Fugit Amor perfume is not a transient fragrance and lasts for hours on my skin and throughout the night on clothing.Notes: Pink Pepper, Elemi, Ginger, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Carnation, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Amber and Musk.
Stephanie Bakouche and Julien Blanchard photo by Michelyn
Mon Seul Désir was created by Stéphanie Bakouche, inspired by an oft copied Flemish tapestry from the late middle ages. Mon Seul Désir is one of a group of six designs in wool, silk and gold threads referred to today as “La Dame à la Licorne. This fabric art is executed in the ornate, mille-fleur (thousand flowers) style of the late middle ages. Five of these famous tapestries are said to represent the five senses. The sixth, Mon Seul Desir, (translated "my only desire" – or very differently "by my desire alone") perhaps represents the heart – the innermost sense.
La Dame à la Licorne” – Musée de Cluny, Paris (sixth tapestry is named Mon Seul Desir just like the perfume)
The scene is set with the first spritz of Mon Seul Désir. The woody sweetness of nutmeg and the nostalgia of smoky leather transport me to another time and place, perhaps to Flanders in the late Middle Ages. Nutmeg, one of my favorite notes in perfumery, is lifted and focused with a touch of pink pepper and mandarin. In about an hour the heart of the fragrance is revealed. Golden threads of warm peachy-ripe osmanthus are woven into the dry nutty effects of coriander, while the richness of oud creates an almost courtly sense of abundance and luxury. As Mon Seul Désir evolves the strength of the lion is apparent in the continuing presence of leather. Wisdom and love, symbolized by the unicorn, manifest in the opulent ripeness of osmanthus. The sensuality of the rich, red background is strewn with sweet woods, amber, benzoin and musk. Mon Seul Désir entices politely and irresistibly, remaining on my skin for eight to twelve hours. Notes: Nutmeg, Mandarin, Pink Pepper, Osmanthus, Coriander, Oudh, Benzoin, Musk, Guaiac Wood, Amber and Leather Notes.
Isadora Duncan by Edward Steichen, 1923
The magic of art as inspiration never ceases to amaze me. I find it miraculous that a single artist's vision can bloom and transform from one medium to another, from one person to another, over continents and centuries. No matter how we choose to express ourselves, whether it be in music, visual art, poetry, dance or perfume; whatever the medium, inspiration is key.
"The artist is the only lover; he alone has the pure vision of beauty, and love is the vision of the soul when it is permitted to gaze upon immortal beauty.."-Isadora Duncan
Disclaimer: Many thanks Indigo Perfumery for the samples of the beautiful Bella Donna, Fugit Amor and Mon Seul Désir. Opinions are my own.
Gail Gross, Editor
Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief and closinng quote by Isadora Duncan
Photo by Ann of Indigo Perfumery
Thanks to the generosity of Indigo Perfumery(where the fragrances are making their US debut) we have a reader's choice of one 5ml Love Dose of Bella Donna, Fugit Amor or Mon Seul Désir for one registered US reader (be sure to register or your comment will not count) and samples of the others. To be eligible, tell us what appeals to you about any of the three fragrances, based on Gail's reviews and which Love Dose you would like to win. Which art form is the inspiration for your own creativity? Draw closes June 5, 2017