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Friday, October 21, 2005

Le Parfum de Therese by Frederic Malle

If a perfume could have a face, Le Parfum de Thérèse’s would be one of those non-conforming faces described by Adorno and Horkheimer, faces that, like Greta Garbo's, do not look as if you could say "Hello sister!'' to them. Le Parfum de Thérèse was created in the early 1950s by Edmond Roudnitska for his wife Thérèse, who at that time was the only person allowed to wear it; in my mind, Le Parfum de Thérèse is associated with Greta Garbo. This perfume has Garbo’s husky voice, perfect bone structure and mesmerizing, impenetrable eyes.

I file it, along with Chanel’s Bois des Iles and Guerlain’s Chamade, under the category of "Golden Perfumes”, because the image of shimmering warm gold is the one they evoke in my adoring mind. Le Parfum de Thérèse is vivid, but it is still an intimate perfume; to borrow Luca Turin’s phrase, it is full of shadowy recesses, as if illuminated by a candle (“Des parfums intimes, pleins de recoins sombres, comme éclairés à la bougie,“ from Le Guide). I would have never thought that a fragrance containing melon and jasmine could work so well on my skin, but it does; the blend is so smooth, not a single note stands out as too loud, yet the perfume keeps developing, changing from the darkly ripe fruity beginning to lovely understated green jasmine, to stunning rose, to the elegant woody- leathery drydown.

The face of Garbo is an idea”, said Roland Barthes. Le Parfum de Thérèse is Edmond Roudnitska’s concept of olfactory beauty, incandescent, ever-changing composition that is both soulful and awe-inspiring.

Le Parfum de Thérèse is available from Editions de Parfum or from Barneys, $160.00 for 3,4oz.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Annieytown said...

I love your reviews so much!

This is also one of my favorite Malles. It is such a masterpiece. Who knew Melon and Jasmine could smell so great together?

8:40 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Thank you A!!

That's what I said to myself before sniffing LPdeT, melon and jasmine? No way. Yes way. Somehow it just smells great.

8:48 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Therese is so lovely. I do not reach for it often, as it is a bigger statement than I am prepared to make most days, but I would just hate not to always have a bottle on hand.

11:24 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I agree R, this is not a casual everyday scent for me, but it is absolutely full bottle worthy for me nevertheless.

11:31 AM EDT  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Le Parfum de Therese is a wonderful fragrance, with all of that indolic jasmine ornamented in such a magnificent way. It is one of my favourites from the Malle line.

3:56 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

I am lighting candles to perfume gods to thank them for not letting the jasmine in LPdeT be indolic on my skin :-)

4:03 PM EDT  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

Maybe this is a perfume I have to try, being Swedish and all... I bought Elizabeth Arden Green Tea this weekend - have you reviewed it?

3:14 PM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

LOL at your being Swedish comment, A! I have tried Green Tea a while ago, it is lovely. If you like tea scents, my most favourite is Thé Pour Un Été by L'Artisan, lovely refreshing green-ish jasmine tea.

9:35 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just discovered this one a few months ago. I bought a small version (5ml) and wow, it is classic. I normally do not like melon scents (and often hate them) but it is blended so well with the other notes. The jasmine is not overly sweet, either. The beauty of this one is the *balance* of the scents.
-Cheri

3:02 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Cheri,
I absolutely agree. It is so very well balanced.

3:04 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live is Aus and as far as I know this frangrance is not available. I so long to try it, Someone, not on this site likened it to Diorella that I love, and referred to grapefruit tones. Can you suggest a site where I may purchase it? I enjoy this site, keep it going.
Ciao

6:48 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm also in Australia. You can get it direct from the Frederic Malle website, they post to Australia :)

7:26 AM EDT  

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