A girl: "How come we aren't doing all this stuff?
Another girl: "We didn't know."
~from "The Strawberry Statement"
Long before "world wide peace" became the finishing note in the pouting mouths of aspiring beauty queens in pageants across the world it was something less cliché, more noble. I wasn't born in the 60s and only have that strangely appreciative feeling that later generations too will have for that romantically delusional and missteppingly optimistic decade (Historical research suggests things were much grimmer than populary thought of). Someone once said that the 1960s as an "idea" didn't really begin till May '68 (Paris May) and it ended in August '69 at the Summer of Love in Woodstock. I vividly remember watching The Strawberry Statement/ Strawberries and Blood (a 1970 film) on state-television as an impressionable teenager. Simon's tiny apartment worked as a time capsule in retrospect: the "2001: A space Odyssey" soundtrack, the Robert Kennedy photo on the wall, Neil Young's "Down by the River"... The (how ironic!) paean for peace by John Lennon at the final sit-in was waving like the rowing gestures of the quiet hero in my mind for months. Almost 40 years later it still has resonance. (It would take an even more touching, more nuanced film to lightly smudge the impressions in my mind: Johny Got his Gun...)
So what's an essentially political post doing in a perfume blog? But I have long opined that basically everything is political, more or less! Everything we do, the views we have, the actions we perform have impact and they make a difference: To us certainly, but also to the world. The very etymology of "political" comes from the Greek word πόλις which means city-state (the formation of choice in classical Greece) and in that concept the citizen is the one who forms the essence of the city ("it is men who stand as the walls of the city") and is keenly aware and participant in everything that surrounds his/her life, embodying the city and the world around spiritually. The ideal of participating in common affairs was simple yet wise: if the city/world goes well, so will the citizen!
On a related thread I was contacted a few days ago by independent artist and perfumer Roxana Villa, who has created a special fragrance for the International Peace Day: developed specifically to help raise funds for an annual worldwide telecast concert of Superstar musicians performing Sacred Music from the most mystical concert venues on the planet. The perfume is officially unnamed due to the squatting on words perpetuated in the fragrance industry these days...but the Peace sign dangling leaves little doubt; and it rang a bell.
Let's leave Roxana explain the concept in her own words: "This fragrance is very much like the concept music albums that came out in the 60's when the Peace movement became part of mass consciousness. This perfume began with the intention of supporting a friends vision to create a global chant for peace as a series of concerts in sacred sites all over the world. His vision has not yet manifested. I intend that this perfume will facilitate manifesting that vision, just as Q facilitates manifesting consciousness for the California coastal live oaks. The illustrated image, the illumination, was created by my husband Greg. He is an award winning visual artist who has worked both in illustration (Time, Sports Illustrated) and in film (Narnia, Golden Compass). We choose a shade of burgundy from my palette as the color harmony for this fragrance based on the pigments in the image".
The perfume was orchestrated like a symphony with three complex chords of base, middle and top notes. Each chord contains up to seven different essences which come from all parts of the world and what I personally get is an earthy floriental (with a delectable neroli and possibly petit-grain with coriander/ginger opening? Roxana didn't specify but it's piquant!) on a smooth, smoky tobacco-vanillic woods aftertaste (sandalwood? and probably also rosewood in the middle?). It consolidates my faith in Roxana's woody blends and seems like a great, sweet fit for moving into the autumnal season.
Perfume launches September 21st, the United Nations International Day of Peace. The fragrance will give a portion of the proceeds from each of the 7 gram liquid perfume flacons and solid compacts to the POE (Project Peace on Earth) organization to facilitate their vision of a global prayer concert for Peace.
Join the celebrations for peace on the International Day of Peace link and learn about the non-profit project Peace on Earth here.
The perfume will be available as a pure, perfume extract and a solid natural perfume unguent. Visit Illuminated Perfume for purchases and Roxana's Journal for a chance to win two liquid samples.
Please visit the rest of the participating blogs with thoughts on Peace:
Bitter Grace Notes
Memory & Desire
Perfume Smellin' Things
The Non Blonde
Illustration by Greg Spalenka