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Can a perfume tell a story? There are countless theories about the way the sense of smell is tied up with memory, but with Narcisse Noir there is something I don't understand. It reminds me of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. It really conjures up the atmosphere of old Hollywood films, but as I only smelled the perfume recently, and never met an old-school Hollywood femme fatale, there can't be any memory that Narcisse Noir triggers whenever I smell it. Still, it just seems to fit my image of this other world, and it just so happens that it was the perfume Norma Desmond drenched herself with as she made the transition from the glamorous to the grotesque. Indeed actress Gloria Swanson is said to have had the Sunset Boulevard set sprayed with the stuff, so it must have had a similar effect on her.
28 December, 2010