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  1. #31

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Interesting reading. I'll qualify straight up my knowledge of Lutens is restricted to the export line - I haven't worn any of the Paris 'classics'.

    Maybe not so much a rut as a plateau? A rut, to me, means an artist has nothing new to offer and is just marking time, living off past glories, recycling a formula, and generally playing safe.

    In the last couple of years we have seen, amongst others, Nuit de Cellophane, Serge Noir and Fille en Aiguilles.

    I guess some might call Nuit a safe commercial shot at the fem market? But isn't that also clearly at risk of alienating the hardcore fans looking for edgy orientalism? So it's both - safe and risky.

    Serge Noir? About as non-commercial as you can get - I don't like it, but some here are citing it as edgy break-through territory, his best for a while etc.

    Fille en Aiguilles seems to be pretty well received by Lutens fans generally - so is that a 'safe Lutens' then, one that meets with the approval of most fans of his work because it presses the right buttons - in other words same old, same old but with pine?

    And one other we haven't seen here yet (is it Forreau Noir?) is Lutens third take on Lavender, I believe? Is this 'repetition' due to lack of creative ideas or a variation on what may be a favourite theme? Surely mature artistes re-visit themes and re-interpret them from new angles / cast them in new settings?

    I get the sense that Lutens is in transition perhaps, from a bit of an iconoclast to a more mature 'house' and yes, possibly the fact that C. Sheldrake is working elsewhere some of the time means that he too is looking for new inspiration, so let's see where this all leads. I really like the few Lutens I own but I'm certainly not an apologist for his work, and from where I'm sitting I simply see a creative person maybe at a watershed or plateau - trying a few things out, looking back and playing with some old themes, while still perfectly capable of lobbing the odd hand grenade (Serge Noir, anybody?).

    So, just based on my experience of his work to date and releases from the last couple of years or so, I don't get the feeling Serrge Lutens is stuck in a rut.

    Personal faves: Arabie, Daim Blond, Gris Clair, Chergui, Fumurie Turque and I may buy Fille en Aiguilles.

  2. #32

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    Interesting reading. I'll qualify straight up my knowledge of Lutens is restricted to the export line - I haven't worn any of the Paris 'classics'.
    Maybe not so much a rut as a plateau? A rut, to me, means an artist has nothing new to offer and is just marking time, living off past glories, recycling a formula, and generally playing safe.
    A considered response, thanks. I like your concept of a 'plateau' - nothing negative about that geologically based word.
    I hope everyone that responds to this thread understands the title is a question, "Is SL in a rut?" And not a statement, which would read: "SL is in a rut." Thanks for all the fine contributions to this discussion, that is with the exception of the odd cancer metaphor - which has me scratching my head.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 21st October 2009 at 07:06 PM.

  3. #33
    mtgprox05's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Oh, and I'd just like to add that I don't get all the hate of Five O'Clock, I find it great. The only thing knocking it down to the 3.5-4 range is it's longevity, which is ironic for a Lutens. In all my sniffing it is by far the best representation of ginger, and easily the most wearable ginger fragrance, for me that is. I'm not quite sure what everyone expects from it, it's not loud, controversial, or that unique, but not everything needs to be. What it is, is another well done Lutens oriental, that happens to be a little watery for my tastes, but smells fantastic. I don't get it
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  4. #34

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    I find Fille en Aiguilles and Serge Noir to be related to the much vilified Chypre Rouge
    Yikes, really?
    FeE just dropped considerably on my to-try list.
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  5. #35

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    I think the perfume industry is in a rut...

    Lutens moment as innovator is long over. The concept only carries so far. But the quality is still solid - top percentile of the market, miles ahead of all these new gimmicky niches selling designer-clones in pretentious flacons. Wife loves Rousse, I dig Noir, so we're OK with Serge.
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  6. #36

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    I think mr.reasonable's comment is spot on. And I have to add that few haouses have such a strong underlying theme as Lutens. There is this melancholic, deep, strong, oppinonated concept running in such different approaches as Gris Clair and Arabie.

  7. #37
    zztopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Serge Lutens has always been more niche than say Malle or Creed, which are more of a classic fragrance house ala Guerlain. Serge's niche ofcourse has been the wild sugary spicy oriental theme of Morocco (with the Bourdon inspired Bois series a mild offshoot and an Iris Silver Mist here and there).

    Alas, there's only so much you can do with honey and indian masala. The same critique can be made of Guerlain and the older Guerlains certainly had a lot of similar gourmand quality about them...however Guerlain now has a nice diverse product line with various top citruses (Serge Lutens has none!) and other assorted creations.

    Someone needs to buy Lutens a ticket out of Morocco. That place has served as inspiration for a long enough time. Every company needs to reinvent itself every once in a while. That said, there's no need to be promiscuous and crass in output (see Montale) to cover all bases; if slow and steady catering to the fans is what is most feasible right now, there's nothing wrong with that.
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  8. #38
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    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    I'm beginning to feel that Serge has been running on automatic pilot the last couple of years. Has he been abandoned by Sheldrake? Honestly, what is radically different between Serge Noir, Fille en Aiguilles and Five O'Clock Au Gingembre? And I ask, does anyone find Nuit de Cellophane interesting? Just curious.
    I find that to be true of all SL's. They have similiar bases but with different top notes and heart notes. Actually I find that to be true of a lot oh houses.

    I think they are having difficulty coming out with new powerhouses after introducing us to so many. They are probably caught between innovation vs what the customer will buy to make the house profitable. N ot to mention the owrld reccission has everyone concerned about profit vs loss. But like many companies investing highly in R&D they are likely to blow us away with a new one in the next year or so.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vibert View Post
    . Serge Noire starts out magnificently, and I dismiss it only because it collapses abruptly into something much less interesting after only a half an hour's wear.
    I've seen a number of people say this. For me, Serge Noire _starts_ after about sixty minutes and hits its stride after about two and a half hours. I only love the first hour because I know what's coming.

    Crayfish

  10. #40

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    I do not agree at all ! ... I think he has just been smart and has been designing in accordance with the economic climate of the mo'. ... And has very cleverly designed for what was necessary and for what "style" was missing in his oeuvre !

    I think "Fille en Aigulles" is a brilliant composition, ( and "back to form" ), and very different from "Serge Noir" or "5 o'Clock...".

    I actually really liked his "5 o'Clock" which seems to be disliked here by most. I think it's a very nice, easy wearing "every day type" ginger frag. ~ Totally different from all his others ! And an excellent ginger rendition ! (I often find I reach for it much more often than I ever thought I would, just when I don't feel like wearing anything else. It's like a "sorbet" ("palate cleansing") scent !

    And though I do agree that "Nuits de Cellophane" is kinda boring in comparison to his "usual". It's the perfect "basic pretty floral" to attract the least adventurous "general" customer who might be interested in one of his frags (due to hype?), but who would not necessarily go for his other "richer" numbers. (A perfect "bread & butter" type for the economic climate, and the more "general public" !)

    I think he has just been adding some "astuteness" to his more usual artistic freedom ! ~ Nothing wrong with that !
    Last edited by Sybarite; 22nd October 2009 at 01:14 AM.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    ...Someone needs to buy Lutens a ticket out of Morocco....
    you crack me up!

  12. #42

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    Someone needs to buy Lutens a ticket out of Morocco.

    I don't agree at all ! ... I think he has only given us so many facets from the Moroccan inspiration. And there's much more that could still be mined from it. ... I think it's far from exhausted ! (Spice is only but one facet of the Moroccan influence ... there's much more to be had !)

    Besides, it's his thing ! ... why change it, when it works so well ! ...
    (Not that I'm advocating any more "spicy-stewed-fruit" ... There's much more to Morocco ! )
    Last edited by Sybarite; 22nd October 2009 at 01:28 AM.

  13. #43

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sybarite View Post
    There's much more to Morocco ! )
    I toured Morocco once, Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, Rabat, and I did smell something that Serge hasn't touched on yet: the smell of the leather tanneries. In my entire life, I have never smelled anything more nauseating than the one in Marrakech. The raw skins are brought in with flesh still attached, piled up, with no refrigeration, so they're just rotting in the desert heat. And then there are the dye vats, full of nose-splitting chemicals. The worst part is the fact that children are used to dive into the vats and hold the skins under the liquids. There are blue, red, green and gold dyed children working there. A complete horror and exploitation. And then there's the ubiquitous smell of camel dung and the smell of the mountain Berbers that have an entirely different concept of hygene then most westerners. I think Serge's take is based purely on a spice market fantasia, which is fine with me.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 22nd October 2009 at 02:07 AM.

  14. #44

    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    I toured Morocco once, Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, Rabat, and I did smell something that Serge hasn't touched on yet: the smell of the leather tanneries. In my entire life, I have never smelled anything more nauseating than the one in Marrakech. The raw skins are brought in with flesh still attached, piled up, with no refrigeration, so they're just rotting in the desert heat. And then there are the dye vats, full of nose-splitting chemicals. The worst part is the fact that children are used to dive into the vats and hold the skins under the liquids. There are blue, red, green and gold dyed children working there. A complete horror and exploitation. And then there's the ubiquitous smell of camel dung and the smell of the mountain Berbers that have an entirely different concept of hygene then most westerners. I think Serge's take is based purely on a spice market fantasia, which is fine with me.

    See ! All that wonderful inspiration ! (LOL)

    A nice leather scent for the next Lutens would be an excellent idea ! Perfect suggestion ! ... Daim Blond didn't have half enough leather in it for my satisfaction !

    And ... Oooh ... I want a purple kid as well now ! (Or a nice fuschia maybe ?? )
    Last edited by Sybarite; 22nd October 2009 at 03:01 AM.

  15. #45

    Talking Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    I toured Morocco once, Marrakech, Fez, Meknes, Rabat, and I did smell something that Serge hasn't touched on yet: the smell of the leather tanneries. In my entire life, I have never smelled anything more nauseating than the one in Marrakech. The raw skins are brought in with flesh still attached, piled up, with no refrigeration, so they're just rotting in the desert heat. And then there are the dye vats, full of nose-splitting chemicals. The worst part is the fact that children are used to dive into the vats and hold the skins under the liquids. There are blue, red, green and gold dyed children working there. A complete horror and exploitation. And then there's the ubiquitous smell of camel dung and the smell of the mountain Berbers that have an entirely different concept of hygene then most westerners. I think Serge's take is based purely on a spice market fantasia, which is fine with me.
    Oh no. Aoud Cuir d' Arabie has already been done by Pierre Montale

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Is Serge Lutens in a Rut?

    Quote Originally Posted by cpk View Post
    Oh no. Aoud Cuir d' Arabie has already been done by Pierre Montale
    Exactly what I was thinking. And a mighty fine fragrance it is (despite my knock at Montale in my earlier post).
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