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Cinema Series, A Streetcar Named Desire


06th January, 2000

We are living in an age in which perfumes have been reduced to expressing the one-dimensionality of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities. With the Cinema Series, I wanted to think about perfume’s connection to the much larger and more meaningfully rich medium of cinema itself.

Since perfume is already a kind of mute, invisible cinema with its own characters, mise en scène, tone, voice and narrative, it seemed natural to imagine how it could condense and translate celluloid masterpieces into perfume notes. The following is a kind of screenplay-as-perfume-brief inspired by the classic film, A Streetcar Named Desire.

In A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Marlon Brando and Vivian Leigh, brutal masculinity and wounded femininity meet up in the city that care forgot, the poetic capital of the United States, that faded southern flower, the Big Easy: New Orleans, Louisiana.

Its perfume incarnation, A Streetcar Named Desire, combines indolic florals and a gourmand note of vanillic rum with a burning leaves accord that is the perfume’s primary character. Anyone who has ever ridden on a streetcar in New Orleans will recognize this melancholy scent of burning leaves as the city’s unofficial perfume.

Possible notes: Tea Olive (Osmanthus), magnolia, orange blossom, jasmine, rose, vanilla, rum, civet, musk, sandalwood, burning leaves accord (with facets of tobacco, leather, chicory)

Each set of notes references not only the city of New Orleans’ character (lush, decadent, romantic and self-destructive) but also the characters and storyline from the film itself.

Indolic flowers are often white, like Blanche du Bois and her act of innocence, but like Blanche, they also hide a more carnal and sensual side that Stanley Kowalski and the city of New Orleans bring out in her. Finally, the burning leaves represent the way that eros can destroy those who get in its path. In short, A Streetcar Named Desire should smell like beautiful regret.

Perfumes that inspire A Streetcar Named Desire: vintage Narcisse Noir, CB I Hate Perfume’s Burning Leaves, the candyfloss note in Angel

Submitted by dubonnetdelrio

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    • Asha | 10th January 2010 23:15

      Oh, this sounds so enticing--kind of like Lanvin My Sin extrait meets Strange Invisible Perfumes Magazine Street.

    • ComDiva | 24th January 2010 19:12

      Liking this one VERY much!

    • vintage*red | 24th January 2010 21:24

      I love this idea. New Orleans has the most amazing scent of any city...beignets, night blooming flowers, stale beer!