"There is an indisputably something naive, but something honest and genuine too in this finery, also something harmonious, a simple personality still living unconsciously, which grasps at the things which match is being, without caring for anything else...The small portrait at The Hague is of a simplicity and naiveté which only the greatest masters are able to reproduce."
P.T.A. Swillens, Johannes Vermeer: Painter of Delft 1632-1675, Utrecht, 1950
This famous painting was the theme for my last fragrance project I developed in the past 2 weeks.
A young girl, both feminine and innocent, both simple and enigmatic, a beauty absorbed by the light radiating of freshness but also of an unknown sensuality. A fragrance to be worn, inspired by Vermeer but not a smell and the "exact" translation of the painting.
The complexity of this classical masterpiece and the short time were note very easy to combine. But first, let's see the elements extracted from the painting that I wanted to represent:
Innocence, virgin, white skin
Lips, sensuality and shyness
Lightness, radiance, bright expression
Dark background, mystery, enigmatic
Turban, exotic touch
Ultramarine, immaterial colour, airy
All these keywords were translated into olfactive concepts and then raw materials.
The fragrance I conceived is a lilac-freesia bouquet on a light chypre base refreshened with hyacinth green notes, with peach-osmanthus and animalic accents.
Vermeer, compared to Rembrandt, is the poet of lightness so, I tried to focus on the light aspect of chypre (without doing Ellena style). Inspired by a classical painting I worked in a very "classical" way, note by note, trying to find a balance between old school and modern school.
After a week of long and not so easy trials the most difficult was to combine light chypre with the osmanthus absolute waxy note to suggest the young skin.
The fragrance has a very subtle and sweet dry down that lasts on the blotter more than 3 days.
The formula has 32 ingredients and the price is quite OK - 35 euros/ kg concentrate.
All the Vermeer paintings are very small in real size and microscopically compared to the big Rubens compositions. A good reason to keep simpler in final price and number of ingredients !
There is still work to do on this fragrance but for the moment I moved in a totally different register waiting the evaluation results.
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Fragrance is the 8th Art - Octavian Coifan - Le Parfum est le 8ème Art