La Chamade is an old military expression to which Francoise Sagan gave new life by using it in her novel. In its original meaning, la chamade is a signal by drum or trumpet signaling capitulation. In the book and in the copy for the eponymous fragrance by Guerlain, it "symbolizes a surrender to love." First of all, I have to say that I have always been jealous of Guerlain, because they got to make a perfume inspired by Sagan's book. If I had a perfume line, quite possibly each scent there would have been an homage to one of her works. Secondly, I am in two minds in regards to the suitability of this particular scent to this particular book
Chamade, heavy on hyacinth, is a perfume that does not give up or surrender. Besides (and that might just be the reflection of my very subjective impression of hyacinth as a note) neither does it strike me as particularly romantic. The buttery bitterness of hyacinth is the strongest in the beginning of Chamade's development, but it is very evident on my skin in the heart of the composition, where it is actually aided by another uncompromising and unbending green note, galbanum... Without them, the heart would have been all starry-eyed, heavy-lidded and honeyed thanks to the presence of jasmine, rose and ylang ylang. The unyielding, sharp greenness persists as far as in the drydown. Hyacinth and galbanum are fighting the typical velvetiness of Guerlain's base as if it is against their ideology, they will not relent..
None of the above is meant as a criticism! Quite to the contrary. I love Chamade for the tough, sharp fighter it is. When I need strength and dare I say bitchiness to not give up, that is what I wear. I love how it is so very Guerlain, because somehow even the sharp greenness smells lush in the hands of Jean-Paul...and yet stands out as a little bit of an alien in the line up. It doesn't quite belong there and doesn't want to. Chamade is an elegant non-comformist.
This is the kind of perfume that would never surrender, be it to love, to circumstances, or to pressure...In that respect, it is wrong for La Chamade the book. But only if we condense all the content and meaning of it into one piece about the heartbeat signaling capitulation. As Wikipedia cleverly summarizes, however, the heroine "wants to be with the one who doesn't ask her to change", and thus the book is actually about NOT surrendering: now that is the philosophy to which Chamade by Guerlain can subscribe. Wear it and don't change for anybody. And never, never, never give up.
Chamade can be found wherever Guerlain is sold, including online discouners.
Which book would you turn into perfume?