In the first of an occasional series, this week I’ll be reviewing the innovative, alternative-celebrity scents engineered by the young, bold and brassy French perfume house Etat Libre d’Orange.
In a world where four top 10 hits equates to a supposed inbuilt fashion and perfume knowledge, I call Cheryl Cole, Alesha Dixon and Leona Lewis to please take your positions and potions opposite Rossy de Palma, Tilda Swinton and Justin Vivian Bond – aka the Etat Libre d’Orange all stars.
Starting with New York’s ultimate cabaret superstar, Mx Justin Vivian Bond’s collaboration with perfumer Ralf has resulted in The Afternoon of a Faun: a masterfully blended chypre which tears strips out of Katy Perry’s Meow and the ilk. Named after and inspired by the Vaslav Nijinsky ballet, The Afternoon of a Faun is as rich and heady as they come.
Perfect for the first days of autumn, its sticky but smooth concoction of spices, leather and moss (the notes also include bergamot, pepper, incense and cinnamon) are merely a backdrop for the scent’s two dominant notes: immortelle and Turkish rose.
As expected, the immortelle has a burnt, herbal sweetness that is by turns savoury and curry-like but never turns full gourmand thanks to the gorgeous deep, dark rose note. The way that these two leads play off of one another and the lack of any weird or unexpected detours gives the scent a classical and refined air.
Compared to some of the other more obviously outrageous scents in Etat Libre d’Orange’s line-up (the appalling Magnificent Secretions and mucky Putain Des Palaces instantly spring to mind), Bond’s Faun is surprisingly conservative and robust.
The Afternoon of a Faun will follow you around all day, and friends and colleagues will share the sillage with you. The last few hours at the end of the day are not that dissimilar from the scent you’ve sprayed earlier in the morning – more closely comforting maybe, and Faun is a serious nuzzler, but no less captivating.
Like Mx Bond, The Afternoon of a Faun is also gender ambivalent, and although its rich opulence may not be for everyone it would make an excellent signature scent, if you’re so inclined, that others of a bold nature will secretly want to covet for themselves.
The Afternoon of a Faun, EDP 100ml £105 (buy direct from justinbond.com and all profits will go direct to Mx Bond).