Frédéric Malle le Parfum de Thérèse, 2000

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It’s interesting to see the comparisons between Dior DiorellaDior Eau Sauvage and Frédéric Malle Parfum de Therèse. Diorella seems like the logical successor to Eau Sauvage. Riskier, less seemly than Eau Sauvage, it still came from the same principles and intentions of composition. Parfum de Thérèse seems overall a little further from Eau Sauvage, a bit less similar in composition and concept. Surprisingly, though, I catch entire flashes of Eau Sauvage when wearing Parfum de Thérèse, like hearing a full sentence that you recognize from a well known novel.

Diorella is clearly the next generation of Eau Sauvage. It’s the louche early 1970s to Eau Sauvage’s pre-summer of love 1960s. The few years between Eau Sauvage and Diorella were ones of great social change. The distance between the two, the change in perspective is fascinating. Eau Sauvage has a simple, easy sophistication. By contrast, Diorella is worldly and explicitly carnal.

To work creatively within a finite range shouldn’t be confused with limitation. It is a deliberate, focussed workshop of ideas, with richness between two relatively close points. For Edmond, these ideas played out as the experimentation with olfactory brightness and shade, representation and abstraction (especially in fruit and ripeness) and the play of simplicity and complexity both in formulation and in the experience of wearing a perfume. The chypre was not the invention of Edmond, it was Francois Coty’s, but it could be argued that nobody in the 20th century did more to advance the genre as Roudnitska.

Rather than trying to tell a story, or create a portrait in specific, Edmond composed and recomposed an object of beauty and contemplation for Thérèse. The fact that the height of exploration and creativity was reserved for and dedicated to Le Parfum de Thérèse is an astounding testament to his affection for and appreciation of her.

I’m not really one for story-telling and the romance of perfumery. But my husband David, the love of my life, gave me le Parfum de Thérèse on my 50th birthday. Parfum de Thérèse is now about another great love, mine and David’s.


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