“Stop!” May Morton screeched.
The dead fish in Ruthie Brown’s hand hovered over her head waiting to be slammed onto the front page of the London Times.
“Would you look at that luv…she looks so…frail.”
Ruthie look at the black and white photograph of The Duchess of Windsor in her widow’s weeds captured by some paparazzi as she looked out of a window of Buckingham palace.
“Poor thing. Well she is finally where she wanted to be…in the palace. The Duke had to die to get her in. but there she is. ”
“Awww feel sorry for her do ya luv?” Ruthie said as she oddly and gently laid the flounder on the visage of the former Wallis Simpson of Baltimore Maryland. “Well I don’t.” she sneered and roughly wrapped the fish up. “She got what she wanted. A King and all them jewels. Feel sorry all ya want May Morton but that woman nearly brought down the monarchy. I am with the Queen Mum when she said the two people who caused her the most trouble were Wallis Simpson and Hitler.”
As May Morton hurried out of Billingsgate fish market she passed a news stand. There one the front page of every newspaper and tabloid was the same sad photograph of the Duchess and that solitary crow. May paused to look at the photo. What was it like to be her she wondered? “A King…and all them jewels.” She whispered.
Wallis didn’t notice in the slightest the black crow on the balcony of the Villa Lou Viei where she was in hiding and safekeeping after the scandal broke in England the winter of 1937.
Her friend Katherine Rogers put a hand on her elbow. “Do you want to listen to it on the radio?”
“What did you say?” Wallis turned from the open French doors toward the darkness of the villa’s interior.
“Lord Brownlow is going to read your statement of willingness to give up the King.”
Wallis’ eyes narrowed as her platinum spine stiffened giving her a more regal bearing. She looked down at the circlet of perfect Cartier diamonds and emeralds on her wrist, a gift from David.
“No… I would rather be alone for a bit if you don’t mind.” She smiled. Katherine nodded and faded into the dark interior. As Wallis stepped out in to the warm December sun of the South of France the crow watched her with his own rather regal eye as black and cold as obsidian.
Would he call? Would he stop her from leaving him? Or would she be left with only his glittering gifts of iced stones? Would the gamble pay off? The British Empire was collapsing and now many thought she was a part of that. She was sure now that his choice was either her or the throne. But not both. It could never both.
Would she win?
The haunted call of the crow cut into her thoughts. She turned to see it jump for its marble perch and soar out over the cypress trees toward the Mediterranean. Absently she stroked the diamonds and emeralds on her wrist with the tips of her fingers and thought for the very first time of them as her children.
Deco Diamonds by the dazzling Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH perfumes is part of her Brilliant Collection. These fragrances were created in conjunction with the Denver Art Museum’s Cartier Exhibit in 2014-15. The first of the four perfumes, Fumee D’or evokes the workroom of the famed French jewelry house. The remaining three in The Brilliant Collection were inspired by three icons of glamour who wore Cartier with flair and style. Jacinthe de Sapphir was inspired by Marie the Queen of Romania who owned a Cartier sapphire bigger than the Ritz! Rubis Rose was inspired by the Cartier suite of ruby and diamonds given to Elizabeth Taylor by her first great love, Mike Todd. And the last Deco Diamonds found its inspiration in the cold and glittering glamor of the Duchess of Windsor.
Each of the perfumes in this line also are created in the style and manner of perfumes from the era each woman reigned as a jewelry icon. Dawn has a great talent in creating and an essential understanding of the classics and history of perfume which informs and illuminates her art above and beyond most independent niche houses. This is a perfume of the Jazz Age. As hot as Louis Armstrong’s trumpet solos from the sweltering midnight of Roseland Ballroom and as elegant and sophisticated as George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as it lifted the roof off of Aeolian Hall in 1924. This is a delicious aldehydic jazz age cocktail that sings and swings.
(Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and The Denver Art Museum)
The notes are classically composed and unfold as beautifully as any great perfume from the 20’s and 30’s would. Aldehydes are the shooting stars of the perfume… a meteor shower of glorious glamour augmented by sparking neroli and galbanum and a ripe wet fleshy peach. . And of course the flowers are so very artfuly arranged, gardenia, jasmine, honeysuckle dance a sensuous fox trot around an imperious and lush tuberose. But what gives the perfume the gravity of a classic is the addition of not one animalic note but two. Civet and hyrax frolic with a touch of nasty abandon though out the perfume. There is a lush symphonic dry down of jasmine sambac, ambergris, and sandalwood. All wrapped up in a great oak moss.
The perfume lasts a good long time on my skin. About 10 hours or so. This is in part due to Dawn’s understanding that the natural notes she uses from natural sources need a synthetic frame to support them. Like the structure of DNA the synthetic notes she uses hold the natural notes in perfume together and give then a longer life. A lesson taught early in the 20th century buy such perfumers as Ernest Beaux and not forgotten by smart perfumers of today.
The sillage is as bold and commanding as the Duchess of Windsor was. To wear this perfume is to say that you are a person who knows what they want out of life and how to get it. This is a perfume of confidence that isn’t afraid to be strong and stylish. This bold strength gives Deco Diamonds a masculine edge that I find very appealing. That kind of unisex bravado one finds in many stars of the 1930’s who donned slacks and made them fashionable for women. To put simply, this is a perfume that, like the Duchess of Windsor wears the pants in the family.