A visit to Aunt Alicia was always a fascinating bore. One leaned so much about what it is to be a woman, well a particular kind of woman anyway. Other girls had afternoon lessons in languages or music but to for this young lady on the verge of womanhood, her lessons were all about how to please a man for in fact she was in training for the family business, to be a courtesan.
Aunt Alicia’s elegant old butler Charles took her coat and hat at the door.
“What are we going to learn about today, Charles?”
“Something very special Mademoiselle. That is all I can say. ” He winked and led her to the parlor. Whenever Charles winked she could see how handsome he once was. That thought always lead her to wonder how he came to be Aunt Alicia’s butler. She imagined he was tragically in love with her and the only way he could be near her was to become her butler.
“Come in my dear.” Aunt Alicia’s imperial voice brought her crashing out of her daydream.
The drapes were pulled shut against the harsh late afternoon light. The new electric lights were very low and pink giving the room dusty deep shadows in the corners and a theatrical glow where it was needed. In the center Aunt Alicia was arranged on the settee like a dramatic tableau at the opera. She slowly turned her head and smiled without creating one single offending line in her face.
“Good Afternoon Aunt Alicia.”
Aunt Alicia studied her pupil with the narrow eyed intensity. A kind of opera glass inspection one unusually reserves for the dissection of the competition in the boxes before the curtain goes up. Her smile took on a startling rare warmth as the eyes relaxed.
“Yes I think it is time.”
“Time for what Aunt Alicia?” she dropped her head to study the carpet at her feet.
My dear Gigi, in your lesions we have learned how to walk in a pleasing manner, how to talk in a pleasing manner, how to dress, how to choose a cigar for a man and how to eat challenging foods.”
Gigi looked up from under her lashes, “Ortolan.” She said sheepishly of her battle with the little bird on the plate.
“Ah well yes, that will come with time Gigi.” She said and rose from her tableau and sailed majestically in a rustle of pink satin, boning and tulle to the French doors that lead to her little garden. With the push of one had she opened the doors to the sunlight of the outer world. “Come along my dear.”
Gigi met her at the threshold of nature and was stunned by the glorious aroma of the tuberose, and jasmine and orange blossoms. She wanted to run barefoot through the fresh sweet spring grass in the garden and gather up as many flowers as she could. Aunt Alicia did not move or make any indication that she wanted to do anything of the kind. Her only intent was to admire her garden from the safety of the dark parlor.
“Last time you learned about jewels, the importance of a fine collection and what not to accept as a gift from a gentleman.”
“Yes and Madame Dunard and her dipped pearls. I remember.”
“Yes and more importantly Gigi that you must wait for the best.” Gigi nodded and looked out into the garden.
Aunt Alicia pulled Gigi back into the parlor and lead to the foyer and the stairs that climbed up to her boudoir in rose and black marble grandeur.
“What do you imagine is the finishing touch to any woman in her preparation for the day, or a man for that matter?” She said as she opened the elaborately carved Art Nouveau doors to her inter sanctum.
“I would imagine a coat or a hat if you are going out?”
“No! That is what the petite bourgeoisie would think the answer to my question is. Now you must concentrate Gigi.”
Gigi looked around the room and her eyes fell upon the crystal array of bottles on Aunt Alicia’s vanity. The room itself smelled like a more magical version of the garden she had just seen.”
“Scent! Aunt Alicia, I would say scent.”
Aunt Alicia nodded and smiled. “Today my dear Gigi, you will learn about the art of perfume. Where to apply it and when, and how to choose a fine collection that is almost as important as a fine collection of jewels, you see Gigi this is your final lesson.
“My final lesson?”
Uncharacteristically Aunt Alicia put her arm around Gigi’s waist and gave her a squeeze. “Yes my dear you are ready to graduate to womanhood. Now let us begin. Sit down.”
Gigi sank onto the silky soft Louis XVI chair and looked into the mirror and saw for the first time that she was indeed a lovely young woman.
“Now then Gigi, The first thing you must know about perfume is this. A woman must never smell like an artificial flower, she must smell like a woman who is at the center of humanity’s garden.”
“Gigi” by Jardin d’Ecrivains is a lovely young lady of a perfume ready for life’s adventures to begin. It has the most interesting characteristic of being youthful and yet set in a classical mode of sophistication one usually associates with classic perfumes from the early 20th Century. This is a wonderful perfume that would be well suited to any young woman daring enough to step up to a perfume that is more than just pretty, and sweet. “Gigi” is for a woman of any age who appreciates the fine art of perfume. It is a fine introduction to the possibilities there are in the world of fragrance.
The Parisian perfume house of Jardin d’Ecrivains inspiration behind its perfumes is to create great fragrances inspired by great literature. The motto of the house is is from Victor Hugo, “Vous voyez, parfum éveille la pensée.”, “You see, perfume awakens thought.” Yes perfume does indeed awaken thoughts and dreams, worlds beyond our own. Brilliant literature interpreted by brilliant notes and it all works so wonderfully well in “Gigi”.
“Gigi” opens in a sparkling fleeting green of a freshly cut grass note. It shimmers with dewy brightness as it blends with the bright early morning aroma of sun warmed Neroli and Orange blossoms. A perfectly lovely and young opening that entices the mind to want, like Gigi, to run barefoot though the notes and bask in the innocent sensuousness it engenders.
Then it all changes, the metamorphous into sophisticated perfume happens here in the middle notes. The tuberose arrives in soft splendor, it is restrained and lovely. Not a screeching indolic but rather soft and romantic white glow that enhances the perfume in the most delightful way. It flows from the warmth of the skin interwoven with jasmine and a dark leaf and berry blackcurrant that gives it an earthy wine note. It is as if the white flowers were sprinkled with a fine red wine like Bacchanalian dew.
The finale of the perfume is all sandalwood, and white musk that keep the memory of those wonderful white flowers glowing in the background. All of the notes are few in “Gigi” and just the right ones. Rather than jamming the perfume full of too many notes it is composed beautifully and with thought to what it is meant to be and of its inspiration.
In my testing of the perfume it has a moderate longevity of about six hours. The sillage is moderate as well not pushing out rudely but staying at about three feet and inviting to the nose of those within range. My sample came with my August Olfactif delivery. I am so impressed with this sample service from every aspect, themes (August is all about the last days of summer) packaging and their wonderful website and blog complete with interviews with the perfumers. I encourage you to try Olfactif, a must for any perfume aficionado.
GIGI BY JARDIN D’ECRIVAINS 5 GOLD STARS *****