On the last days of March Matthieu Maggi would still, at 95 emerge from his home at number 22 Avenue Foch just behind the Alphand monument and walk the long tree lined avenue to the Bois de Boulogne. For his age he was very athletic and looking a mere 75 he made the trip in no time. The people who passed Monsieur Maggi always noticed that he seemed a bit out of time sporting “The New Edwardian Look” of the 1950’s. He always wore a hat. It was his signature.
(Monument to Jean-Charles Alphand and 22 Ave. Foch)
As he passed beneath early blooming plum trees near the park entrance he would think inevitably of her and the place in the Bois she called the silver woods. He walked there every day and always it seemed like moving through enfiladed rooms of the past when he crossed the circle at Porte Dauphine. Each room had a silver polished silver name plate beside the door, the 90’s, the 80’s, 1958, 1947 1939, 1929. When he stepped into the park he was a boy again. 1925.
His parents of an old Moneyed Parisian family had moved to what was then called Avenue du Bois de Boulogne that year when he was ten years old. To be so near the wilds of the park excited him. Matthieu always found a way to slip away form his nanny, or the tutors and sneak off to the park to explore. He imagined it to be many things but is favorite was a wild jungle in the Belgian Congo.
Spring was about to explode over Paris the day he discovered he was lost in a part of the park he had never been to before. It was so unusual and almost magical with the trees pushing out a silvery green new leaves and the bark a most shimmery nearly hoary grey. He sat down on the moist grass and breathed in deep the wonderful smell of the silver woods. He closed his eyes and dug his fingers into the earth and thought of the book he was reading, Tarzan of the Apes.
The sound of a guttural low purr vibrated next to his left ear sending an electric shiver to his toes and back up to the top of his head. Hot moist nostrils nudged his ear and the purr turned to something of a growl. He opened his eyes and turned his head just enough to be face to face with a cheetah wearing a huge diamond dog collar. His eyes went wide and wild and he was about to jump and run.
“Don’t be afraid” The woman spoke French with an American accent. She was dressed in silver with a huge corsage of Iris on her shoulder. “Chiquita likes little boys. Not to eat of course, she just fancy’s boys.”
Chiquita’s long rough tongue slathered up the side of his cheek and made him giggle and squirm and suddenly feel safe. The extraordinary café au lait woman laughed like a song bird, crouched down next to him took a purple and yellow silk handkerchief from her bag and tidied up his wet face.
“You are Josephine Baker!” He said in amazement. “I have seen you in the papers! What are you doing here?”
(La Baker and her pet Cheetah, Chiquita)
She stood up and winked “Let’s walk a bit.” Chiquita pulled Mademoiselle Baker forward by the leather leash and Matthieu fell in step beside her. She explained how since her arrival in Paris it was her greatest joy to walk Chiquita in the Bois in the early afternoon. This was her time to contemplate and be alone away from all the madness of Théâtre de Champs Élysées and the stage door Johnnies who hounded her after they had seen her “Banana Dance”. Enraptured and perhaps a little in love with the exotic lady and her cat Matthieu listened to every word in utter adoration. Before he knew it they had come to Allée de Longchamp where her extremely long green and gold limousine and driver were waiting.
Chiquita jumped into the car when the chauffer opened the back door. Mademoiselle Baker turned and kissed Matthieu on the cheek.
“Shall I see you tomorrow?” she smiled down at him.
A cold March wind came up from the Seine and pushed into the park shaking the silver leaves threatening to tear them from the branches. Monsieur Maggi snapped back to the present and looked around as if he had never been to this spot before. He shook his head, smiled and turned toward home. Maybe tomorrow he would see her, The Creole Goddess, his first love.
The extraordinarily lovely and subtle Bois D’Argent part of La Collection Privée by Christian Dior is from the moment it drifts onto your skin until I fades into memory like a spring walk in the park. Typically a Woody Chypre is bold and dramatic but not this time. The nose for this perfume Annick Menardo had something else in mind when creating Bois D’Argent than your typical Woody Chypre, something unique and very sophisticated.
It really is a fragrance made of memories and each time I wear it seems slightly different and hard to pin down. It changes exactly the way memories change a little with each visitation. On me Bois D’Argent is soft and cool and rather reminiscent of Cristalle by Chanel minus the purple hyacinth. It has a remoteness that seems to intone a mystery that one hopes to unravel as it unfolds on the skin. But don’t try to solve its mysteries just enjoy them
Bois D’Argent opens with a swaying cypress note blended in with dark slightly dirty iris that is moist as if just pulled fresh from the earth after a rainstorm. A jingle jangle of sharp gin like juniper berries tickles the nose for a bit. You are at once deep in the woods from the opening on. Those woods are the main thrust of this perfume. As the mid notes come up it sweetens a bit with a halo of incense and myrrh that is very soft and fades in and out on the breeze and underneath on the floor of this cold brusque park is a bed of dried patchouli leaves. But always the woody notes dominate.
The dry down is really exceptionally lovely. Here it seems to warm a bit like an early spring afternoon with the woods carrying on as a trail of honey and resins drip down over silver tree bark. A very slight flavor of vanilla soaked amber and musk caress the woody notes and the elegant smooth brush of suede leather like the inside of well worn ridding gloves keeps it interesting.
This perfume last on my skin around ten hours and seems to move from good silage at 4 hours to very close to the skin. Bois D’Argent suggests an air of great affluence; style and elegant confidence. It denotes a certain casual beauty that goes deeper than skin and lasts long past the frivolities of youth. It remembers everything and whispers the memories over and over softly in your ear. It is made for grown ups and wouldn’t want to be anything other than just what it is.
BOIS D’ARGENT FIVE PLATINUM STARS *****