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Friday, September 24, 2010

Smooth Talker: Serge Lutens Bas de Soie

By Tom

I know I must be about the last person in the blogosphere to try this one: I don't know if it's ennui but I just don't feel like jumping through those hoops anymore where it comes to Uncle Serge. Certainly not for something that's going to be at Barneys in due time or worse will only be available in Paris. Bas de Soie (Silk Stockings) is now at Barneys, so sniff I did.

I almost feel bad for the house of Lutens; they are locked into the idea that there must, must be four new releases from the house per year come what may. They are then faced with the surly public (I.E., me) who get crabby that they have made another trip to the stewed-fruits and wood well, or worse had dared to answer our pleas to branch out by giving us the Apollonian ideal of a genre we don’t care for. Witness how sulky people got over L’EAU Serge Lutens definitive “clean” or “Nuit de Cellophane” and its fruity florals.

Bas de Soie isn’t going to set the world on fire but it’s not going to have people up in arms. It starts on me as cold, rosy hyacinth and a light powdery orris that is the antithesis of his Iris Silver Mist. It doesn’t do much else except add some of the fresh accord from L’EAU, a rather sharp, metallic shade to it that makes me think of spray cans and a creaminess that makes me think of the super-fatted soaps you get from Erno Laszlo if you have dry skin.

This all sounds pretty freaking dreadful as I type it, but it’s really quite nice in a cool, Hitchcock Blonde kind of way. “Dial ‘M’ For Murder” was on while I was testing this and I thought that it would be perfect for Grace Kelly’s Margot Wendice:: a woman so cool that the discovery that her husband not only tried to set her up as a murderer merely elicits her acceptance of a cocktail. She’d smell of Bas de Soie...

Available at the usual suspects, $120 for 50ML (I’m assuming, I didn’t ask). I received my sample from the counter at the store.

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Blogger Flora said...

Tom, I have yet to try it as it has not made its way to "my" shop yet (and I just checked in today!) but every review I read makes me think I will love it. Must be the hyacinth, which is one of my favorite notes. (I also adore Nuit de Cellophane.)I have a fondness for chilly florals if they are done right, and I think this one must be one of these.

1:19 AM EDT  
Anonymous eleven european mystics said...

I love this post, albeit the critical lamentation on some decay that befell the majestic collection of SL fragrances. It is so well written, and is so redolent of freedom that I find it inspiring as I am more than a tiny bit fed up with grossly amplified reactions to anything that comes out of any given renowned house. Your description makes the scent sound almost harsh. An eastern Mediterranean morning at home, labdanum 18 oil layered with a few drops of Farnesiana EdP I don't want to come close to Bas de Soie

5:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Marian said...

I'm not sure repetition is bad as long as each new release has some merit. We wouldn't expect Jackson Pollock to paint like Vermeer, or Pucci to to design like YSL. I'm not familiar enough with the SL line to know how Bas de Soie compares to pervious releases, but I like it. The opening speckle of pepper and fleeting drift of balsam add some interest to the cool and green iris and hyacinth duo. I wouldn't call it exciting, but as a lover of iris/orris scents, it's haughty yet gentle aloofness is what I hoped for.

9:14 AM EDT  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Great post! I feel much as you do about Serge - both in terms of the scents that are too weird and the ones that are too bland - and only truly love Un Lys out of the whole line, though Chergui is cosy on a cold day.

Bas de Soie was a surprise hit with me - not as cryogenic as Iris Silver Mist, thank goodness. It had that silky quality of La Pausa and I think would be perfect on an ice blonde in murderous mode. But speaking as a mostly law abiding brunette I would happily wear it too.

12:03 PM EDT  
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3:35 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think you will like this. I like chilly florals as well, even if this is a little to femme for me to personally pull off.

8:37 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

thanks very much! It's not that it's really harsh, but it is very chilly. I like that.

8:39 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


"haughty yet gentle aloofness"

Oh how I had written that! Perfect way to put it...

8:41 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


(love the name btw)

I'm a big Serge fan and like most of the ones that I personally would not wear. This is one of those, even though it does smell nice on me.

8:43 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Crass enough to hawk your tat on the comments in Marina's blog, but extra thanks for implying I have skin problems.


8:45 PM EDT  
Anonymous John said...

I'm not familiar enough with the SL line to know how Bas de Soie compares to pervious releases, but I like it. The opening speckle of pepper and fleeting drift of balsam add some interest to the cool and green iris

4:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Alyssa said...

Nice write up, Tom. I'm with you on waiting for new releases. Just getting around to smelling some of the By Kilians this weekend, actually. Um, the first round of By Kilians.

I did jump in on a split of Boxeuses though, but only because it practically fell in my lap, I swear! ;-)

5:37 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I like it as well.

10:19 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Let us know how you liked it!

10:19 PM EDT  
Anonymous eleven european mystics said...

bthe horrible style of my previous comment can be excused - hopefully - by impending surgery. That may also bexplain my olfactory anxiety: mixing and layering impossibly, going back to my favourites and finding them orphaned of the passion that made them lovable to me. ...and even wearing La Myrrhe with suitable feelings of quiet endurance and subdued fire. At the moment your posts are to my nose culture like a compass to a mariner of old :-)

6:11 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


thanks! that's a wonderful compliment!

I hope your surgery goes very well!

12:55 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Oh... but that image is Vanity Fair's recent "homage" to "Dial M," with Charlize Theron inserted into the shot... not Grace Kelly!

8:55 AM EDT  
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11:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this post. Thank you very much!

9:38 PM EDT  
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9:14 AM EST  

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