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  1. #1
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    Default Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    There are a lot of different floral notes available in the perfumer's palette.

    Years ago, florals were pretty much thought to be feminine (with the possible exception of lavender, which some consider more herbal than floral). Nowadays, a lot of men's scents have some toned-down (or not-so-toned-down) florals added. Which of these do you think are acceptable or not so acceptable? Feel free to consider such variables as degree of floral dominance in a scent, and balance of florals with more traditional "masculine" notes.

    To help deal with different classes of florals, I propose the following categories:

    White, such as tuberose, gardenia, narcissus, neroli, ylang-ylang, white ginger, lily, osmanthus, etc.;

    Green, such as lavender, broom, hawthorn, acacia, mimosa, etc.; and

    Red: such as the various types of rose scents, rose geranium, etc.

    Also, feel free to discuss other floral notes you like or don't like on men.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 23rd October 2007 at 12:33 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Rose goes, and I'm very happy to wear tuberose (!), especially if it's touched with green as in Carnal Flower and Tubereuse Criminelle. Indolic jasmine works for me too, particularly in the company of castoreum, musk, or civet.

    I think lotus is a fantastic note on men, especially in summer, when its cool austerity works like a dunk in the pool. (Dawn Spencer Hurwitz's Padme Lotus is an outstanding example.) Ylang-ylang is an ingredient I enjoy in many orientals, male or female, and I think of neroli and lavender as indispensible in men's perfumery. (Though lavender might be better thought of as an aromatic than as a floral note.) Meanwhile, both hawthorne and acacia (cassie) can have a certain grotty undercurrent that works well on my skin.
    Last edited by Off-Scenter; 21st October 2007 at 11:50 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    I think all three classifications are 'acceptable' for men to wear - although I think most men here on Basenotes feel very threatened by some fragrances with primarily white florals.

    Where does violet fall in this categorization? I love violet and I think many men do also.

    In addition, what about verbena flowers? I think these are used a lot in mens toiletries, atleast I seem to see them a lot in pretty mainstream department store of middle quality (Target, Gap, etc).
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

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  4. #4

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    I think all three classifications are 'acceptable' for men to wear - although I think most men here on Basenotes feel very threatened by some fragrances with primarily white florals.

    Where does violet fall in this categorization? I love violet and I think many men do also.

    In addition, what about verbena flowers? I think these are used a lot in mens toiletries, atleast I seem to see them a lot in pretty mainstream department store of middle quality (Target, Gap, etc).
    I'd put Violets in the "Green" category...not sure exactly why. I'd put Iris in there too.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    I think all three classifications are 'acceptable' for men to wear - although I think most men here on Basenotes feel very threatened by some fragrances with primarily white florals.

    Where does violet fall in this categorization? I love violet and I think many men do also.

    In addition, what about verbena flowers? I think these are used a lot in mens toiletries, atleast I seem to see them a lot in pretty mainstream department store of middle quality (Target, Gap, etc).
    For most people, I think verbena falls in the citrus category, mostly because it smells a lot like lemon.

    Violet is a toughie. It's a green scent more than anything else, to my nose at least. A lot of violet notes are made of ionone (a synthetic) and orris (a rhizome). Apparently, the oil of violets itself is so expensive as to be virtually unusable in commercial quantities.
    Yr good bud,

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  6. #6

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    I helped launch Eternity for Men back in 1989. It was very revolutionary for it's time. It broke the "hyper-masculine" notes of tobacco, leather, spices, etc. mold. I've always enjoyed the way it used jasmine, lavender, botanicals to "re-define" what a masculine fragrance could be. It spawned a whole new way of thinking for men's fragrances. I'm very much a floral lover.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    There are a lot of different floral notets available in the perfumer's palette.

    Years ago, florals were pretty much thought to be feminine (with the possible exception of lavender, which some consider more herbal than floral). Nowadays, a lot of men's scents have some toned-down (or not-so-toned-down) florals added. Which of these do you think are acceptable or not so acceptable? Feel free to consider such variables as degree of floral dominance in a scent, and balance of florals with more traditional "masculine" notes . . .
    A very interesting and worthwhile thread Jaime. I always been one for the demystification and degendering of florals and this kind of thread should certainly help.

    I did want to make a point if I may. I think a distinction needs to be made here between the perception of florals as feminine or not masculine by the general public and advertisers and the perception among perfumers.

    Florals have always formed the solid middle of many men's fragrances even the most solidly "masculine" ones. Take Zino Davidoff for example:

    Top notes: Lavender, Rosewood, Clary Sage, Bergamot
    Middle notes: Geranium, Rose, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine
    Base notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Tonka, Amber

    In fact, it's quite arguable that at least as far as many of the classical power house traditional men's fragrances of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s were concerned, they were impossible without a strong presence of florals in the heart note.

    If anyone is interested, he or she can check out the following thread I posted a while back titled "Notes in Men's Fragrances: Some Interesting Numbers" based on a cursory search in the Basenotes Directory, which confirmed the prominent presence of floral notes in men's fragrances in relation to notes consider more typically masculine:

    http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=184802


    Again, excellent idea for a thread.

    scentemental.

    Last edited by scentemental; 22nd October 2007 at 02:26 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Tuberose, rose, hawthorn, and iris are among my favorites.

    I would love to see a powerful, rose and jasmin scent in the tradition of Middle Eastern perfumery brought to the US and marketed as a scent for men.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Acacia -my country's 'signature' tree and so smell- can be white and violet-colored also.
    Whichever be it, I find it not wearable for myself in Fleur du Male.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Very nice thread!
    First of all I'd add to Zino description the camomilla romana empowering the heart if you don't mind Scentemental (on me this aromatic floral is so prominent)
    Floral strong heart, as said before, were so common in the powerhouse scents period also because the floral accord usually helped these ssscents to smell complex and sensual.
    Muguet/lily of the valley: this floral empowering the heart of Ungaro III for example lays between white and green with its clorophillic mood.
    Violets are sometimes used as "violet leaves" giving more a green aspect but speaking of the flower, I'd put them in a "bleu-gris" section. If you smell for example many classic violets you cannot speak for sure about green.
    Jacynth: again is a whyte floral but with a very green pungent clorophillic tone, less milky than muguet.
    Narcissus: one of my favs, not so easy to find in men's scents, it's thick and green, with a indolic touch even, very powdery.
    Jasmine of course, widely used for it's indolic sweetness both as a heart or a base note.
    Iris: another of my favs, that I'd put again in the "bleu-gris" section, not being too green nor white or red. This has a very distinctive character, can be more earthy or buttery, but always powdery, and very elegant.
    Lavender: I'd put it more in eh green section due to it's herbal character, specially if you speak of the traditional spigo which even in the color tends more to the green grey that to the violet.
    Carnation: another classic male floral falling in the red category for its spicy temper.
    Gardenia: not a classic, but who could moan about the white gardenia heart empowering 212 for men?
    Fresia: another uncommon white floral for a men's scent that has wuite a teasing pungent sweetness. a good example of blending it so nicely is Givenchy Insensé.
    Magnolia: again another teasing white floral with a bright sweetness with a pungent tone slightly greener than fresia.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    I love the scent of tuberose - it's my favorite flower and one of my all-time favorite smells - and love Carnal Flower, but I can't wear it as a fragrance. I'd be interested if there was a fragrance that combined tuberose with some wood/incense/leather notes.
    Rose, Ylang-Ylang, and Jasmine I'm fairly neutral to, Carnation, Gardenia, Violet and Orange-flower I like, and lavender I'm not very big on. Unfortunately, I'm not well versed enough in different flowers to say more.
    As a side note, there are two local flower scents I like I have yet to find reproduced artificially. The first is a small white flower that grows on a bush I have yet to identify: it blooms in spring, and while it is actually unpleasant up close, it emits an oddly spicy-sour smell that's quite nice at a distance. The second is a local variety of rose that, if the flowers start to rot due to rain, emits a wonderful spice-rose scent. It just smells ordinary in dry weather.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I love the scent of tuberose - it's my favorite flower and one of my all-time favorite smells - and love Carnal Flower, but I can't wear it as a fragrance. I'd be interested if there was a fragrance that combined tuberose with some wood/incense/leather notes.
    Rose, Ylang-Ylang, and Jasmine I'm fairly neutral to, Carnation, Gardenia, Violet and Orange-flower I like, and lavender I'm not very big on. Unfortunately, I'm not well versed enough in different flowers to say more.
    As a side note, there are two local flower scents I like I have yet to find reproduced artificially. The first is a small white flower that grows on a bush I have yet to identify: it blooms in spring, and while it is actually unpleasant up close, it emits an oddly spicy-sour smell that's quite nice at a distance. The second is a local variety of rose that, if the flowers start to rot due to rain, emits a wonderful spice-rose scent. It just smells ordinary in dry weather.
    Have you tried Tubereuse Criminelle? I love Carnal Flower as well, but also find it not very wearable. TC is the only Tuberose that I've come across that I'm willing to wear.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnifiscent View Post
    Very nice thread!
    ...[snip]
    Fresia: another uncommon white floral for a men's scent that has wuite a teasing pungent sweetness. a good example of blending it so nicely is Givenchy Insensé.
    [snip]...
    Thanks!

    Insensé
    is one of my favorite floral men's fragrances, along with Ténéré. I just wanted to say that fresh freesia blossoms always smell like slightly fizzy apricots to me... There are some floral notes that can be fruity without supplemenatation from other perfume materials: chamomile flowers, for example, smell like apples. What others can people name?
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

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  14. #14

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Well what an interesting thread!:
    here we go then:

    White:
    Tuberose: Vierges et toreros by ELDO, Tuberose Criminelle by Serge Lutens.
    Neroli: Farenheit 32 by C. Dior, Fleur du male by Gaultier.
    I probably second named lotus too: Fab examples are classic aquatic as L'eau par kenzo, L'eau D'issey, M; Men...
    White ginger: Mare by Creative Universe, Solo Loewe by Loewe.
    Ylang: Probably Carnal Flower by Frederic or Jungle Kenzo woman has a very prominent Ylang note. Not sure if I would say is a white clean flower, is more deep, and purpleish for me.
    Lily: Lily by CDG, Passage D'enfer by L'artisan.
    I never smelled Osmanthus isolated so I don´t really know.
    Gardenia and narcissus probably wouldn't work very well in a male fragance, am i right?.

    Green:
    Lavender: I really dislike this one, smell to me very old fashion and vintage:
    Elogie du traite is rounded in this one. Many others but i'd pass.
    Broom:? Aulaga in spanish I think Dune by Christina dior has that note, but real broom doesn't much isn't it.
    Hawthorn: I just can think in one!. Farenheit
    acacia:is a variety of the silk tree, mimosa, basicly the same note.
    I just can think on Burberry Brit.

    Red:
    Rose: hmmmm, so many, my favourite: L'eau Bleue fresh.
    Geranium: I probably put it into green,and def. more metallic.

    I probably would add another colour in the range:
    Purple:
    I'd put in it, violet flower,for sure, jasmin, ylang (instead of white), datura,and the glorious nasturtium.

    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    Thanks!

    Insensé
    is one of my favorite floral men's fragrances, along with Ténéré. I just wanted to say that fresh freesia blossoms always smell like slightly fizzy apricots to me... There are some floral notes that can be fruity without supplemenatation from other perfume materials: chamomile flowers, for example, smell like apples. What others can people name?
    Amarillys flowers, amarillys belladona is a gorgeous wild bulb, used to create the Hippeastrum Hybrid Species.
    Massive flowers, but not scented.
    The original Hippeastrum has three o four big pink & white trumpets, with the most gorgeous scent ever smelled, very flowery but fresh and clean, lily like. Don't know how to explain it.
    Cyclamen flowers smell rubbery_like,acrid for me, like spicy roasted sand in the sun. Odd smell, but fascinating.

    I know some Arum Species like Voodoo Lily (Thyponium Venosum) as been used to recreate Fecal / rotten notes. Eerm Human existence anyone?
    Last edited by madridbatabidd; 23rd October 2007 at 08:45 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red


    Hyacinth. I prefer it to be featured prominently as it is in L’Artisan Parfumeur's Jacinthe des Bois, rather than buried as it is in Guerlain's Chamade Pour Homme.

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 22nd October 2007 at 05:07 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    One of my favorite uses of floral notes is the neroli in the opening of Calvin.

    I have a hard time with other white florals, especially if they have a green aspect -- for instance, I find Gardenia very prominent in SL Fleurs de Citronnier in a way that pushes it beyond "dewy" and into "cold and clammy" territory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galamb_Borong View Post
    I'd be interested if there was a fragrance that combined tuberose with some wood/incense/leather notes.
    G_B, are you familiar with SL Un Cèdre? I find the balance between tuberose, spices, and cedar in this one to be absolute perfection, although granted it's not universally loved around here. Definitely a white flower I can wear.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post

    Hyacinth. I prefer it to be featured prominently as it is in L’Artisan Parfumeur's Jacinthe des Bois, rather than buried as it is in Guerlain's Chamade Pour Homme.

    scentemental

    That l'Artisan offering is quite amazing. Unfortunately I have nothing but a sample of it, but I'm glad I got to smell it. I'd buy a bottle right away if I ever came across one. Haven't tried the Guerlain though.

    I love this thread btw, great one! One of my fav subjects. Nice walkthrough there Magnifiscent!

  18. #18

    Smile Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by sofresh View Post
    Have you tried Tubereuse Criminelle? I love Carnal Flower as well, but also find it not very wearable. TC is the only Tuberose that I've come across that I'm willing to wear.
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulSC View Post
    G_B, are you familiar with SL Un Cèdre? I find the balance between tuberose, spices, and cedar in this one to be absolute perfection, although granted it's not universally loved around here. Definitely a white flower I can wear.
    Thanks, both of you! I'm definitely going to add both of those to my "to sample" list which, after only day a back here, is already growing...

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Great! You guys have mentioned some flowers I hadn't listed in my opening post.

    Heliotrope hasn't been mentioned so far. That's a floral that can be fruity. Sometimes, it reminds me of cherries; at other times, just almonds.

    Speaking of fruity florals, calycanthus is supposed to smell like apples and cinnamon, and osmanthus is described as jasmine-like with overtones of plum and raisins.


    I'm pretty partial to some white florals, especially tuberose and jasmine. Etro Royal Pavilion is great in this way. Parfums d'Orsay Arôme 3 is also very nice.

    Oh, and speaking of jasmine, who has a preference between sambac jasmine and the officinale type? I really like the sambac in Boucheron Trouble. And what about the gardenia-neroli in the topnotes of Cartier Le Baiser du Dragon? It would be too heavy for me, except that the density of the basenotes provides an adequate counterbalance. Even so, I can only wear it in cold weather.

    --------------------------------------
    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    ...[snip]
    Florals have always formed the solid middle of many men's fragrances even the most solidly "masculine" ones. Take Zino Davidoff for example:

    Top notes: Lavender, Rosewood, Clary Sage, Bergamot
    Middle notes: Geranium, Rose, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine
    Base notes: Patchouli, Cedar, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Tonka, Amber

    In fact, it's quite arguable that at least as far as many of the classical power house traditional men's fragrances of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s were concerned, they were impossible without a strong presence of florals in the heart note.[snip]...
    Very true. Even so, a lot of men's fragrances of that period tend to insert spicy notes into the heart. Perhaps this was an attempt to "distract" from the floral nature of the middle phase of drydown, or to attenuate the florals.

    I think guys seem to have more of a problem with the "indolic" white florals, because of the carnality of those. They really have some challenging associations for a lot of men, in terms of wearing them, at least.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 22nd October 2007 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by shifts View Post
    That l'Artisan offering is quite amazing. Unfortunately I have nothing but a sample of it, but I'm glad I got to smell it. I'd buy a bottle right away if I ever came across one. Haven't tried the Guerlain though.

    I love this thread btw, great one! One of my fav subjects. Nice walkthrough there Magnifiscent!
    shifts,

    Very glad to see another admirer of Jacinthe des Bois and very glad to see it's you who admires it.

    The hyacinth note in Jacinthe des Bois is really beautiful and quite true to nature.

    It's interesting to note that the flower is named after a man, Hyacinthus of Greek mythology.

    The hyacinth is consider the flower of rebirth and regeneration. If you've every smelled the fresh flowers, you'll undestand why.

    blue-hyacinth.jpg

    scentemental

    Last edited by scentemental; 22nd October 2007 at 08:21 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    ...I think guys seem to have more of a problem with the "indolic" white florals, because of the carnality of those. They really have some challenging associations for a lot of men, in terms of wearing them, at least.
    I don't know - I crave those naughty indoles. Give me my Nuit Noire, my Une Fleur de Cassie, my Charogne, and my Jardin du Nil! :bounce:

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by Vibert View Post
    I don't know - I crave those naughty indoles. Give me my Nuit Noire, my Une Fleur de Cassie, my Charogne, and my Jardin du Nil! :bounce:
    You are one tough dude then! Actually, they don't bother me that much either. It's more certain types of powdery or very sweet scents that I want to stay away from. Even there, there are some notable exceptions...
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

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  23. #23

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    I very much enjoy smelling gardenia, beginning at a somewhat early age with White Shoulders (lost my virginity to a girl wearing this--a trad. Southern girl). My wife (different girl) wore this from time to time, as well, in college, and she has now "modernized" that category of her wardrobe with Marc Jacobs.

    I'd love for a nose to bring gardenia over to the masculine side.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by JaimeB View Post
    You are one tough dude then! Actually, they don't bother me that much either. It's more certain types of powdery or very sweet scents that I want to stay away from. Even there, there are some notable exceptions...
    Agreed. Powder puts me off more than indoles, though sometimes the two together (Une Fleur de Cassie) work well on me.

    People say you've got to be tough to wear Yatagan or Parfum d'Habit. I think it takes far more guts for a guy to wear Carnal Flower or En Passant!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    I've been thinking about carnation, and what kind of scent the flower evokes. I guess I would have to say it's floral-spicy, since the eugenol in carnation is so much like clove buds. A red floral?

    What carnation-featuring scents do you guys especially like? For me, I would have to say Équipage, Van Cleef and Arpels pour Homme, Eau Cendrée, Fendi Uomo, Canoé, Carven Homme, Sybaris, and of course, Caron Bellodgia.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

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  26. #26

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeperez23 View Post
    I think all three classifications are 'acceptable' for men to wear - although I think most men here on Basenotes feel very threatened by some fragrances with primarily white florals.
    I'm not sure I would agree with your comment of most men being "threatened" by some fragrances with primarily white florals. To be sure most primarily white florals are just not my thing, but then neither are aquatic and fresh fragrances. Am I threatened by something just because it is not to my taste? I really don't feel that is the case.
    Last edited by oolong; 25th October 2007 at 03:26 PM.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Florals for men?: white, green, and red

    Quote Originally Posted by Vibert View Post
    People say you've got to be tough to wear Yatagan or Parfum d'Habit. I think it takes far more guts for a guy to wear Carnal Flower or En Passant!
    I couln't agree more! As a perfume lover who started out being a home gardener, I particularly love soliflorals and would have more of them if there were more around. I am talking of those in a moderate climate, north of the orange blossoms. Already the bourbon lily, lilium regale, and those devoted to the madonna, lilium candidum do not exist as a perfume. The smell can just not be captured. I have found linden (Tilleul) though, and iris blossoms (ADParma), and it isn't impossible to come close to pure rose, muguet (lily o.t. valley), jasmine, and lavender, of course. However, the vast majority of floral perfumes for men or women is about flower bouquets or 'twisted' smells. Just think of the jasmine in vintage Brut! I really love and wear YSL Paris, because there is no heaviness about it. But when it comes to Jardin des Bagatelles (Guerlain) and Carnal Flower (both in the floral-floral group of perfumes) I have to pass.

    Yatagan earned its fame long before Lutens came onto the stage, merely a friendly gnome from the Black Forest compared to the likes of Cuir Mauresque, Arabie and Kublai Khan! Tabac Blond is the one that still takes resolve to put on in 2007!
    Last edited by narcus; 23rd October 2007 at 08:41 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

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