Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday in Blue and Other Melancholic Stories

The blues, "but I still got the blues for you", Rhapsody in Blue and Blue Monday, the bleakest day in the year, as I discovered just today upon opening my online subscriptions. Little did I know that the third Monday of January is officially termed "blue", supposedly because the weather is at its dullest, the festive spirit has worn on, the resolutions for the New Year have had their chance of proving how futile (or impossible to keep) they are and everyone is just waiting for the nascent buds of spring to formally and univocally feel better.

Blue seems a loaded term in Anglo context, whereas where I come from it's all blue skies and azure seas and a feeling of contentment; or alternatively the eye of God (this is why the protective "evil eye" amulets routinely display a blue eye). There is no S.A.D at my place, as far as I know, and mid-January is usually halcyon days with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 15-17s Celsius. Greeks, however, with their inherent sense of drama, do black better, close as it is to true funereal colors; once upon a time there were whole villages with people perennially dressed in black in mourning for someone or other lost in war. Melancholia literally means "black bile" in Greek.
It might also have to do with blue just performing more joyfully in these southern latitudes: a beautiful piece of lapis lazuli edged in 18K gold had lost most of its vibrancy and intensity when brought to the grey skies of the UK when I was a student. Lackluster, it just wasn't the same. But two weeks back home and I started to wear it again, an amulet of Pharaonic resonance, no doubt because the country of the Nile exploited its natural sunshine the same way to enhance the beauty of gems.

The French word glauque although directly inspired by the Latin (and the Greek glaykos/γλαυκός which means "light blue") has come to denote a qualitative awfulness or vacuousness as in lifeless and listless. Blue doesn't really do well in French either (at least in that respect) it seems…

Nevertheless blue is a beautiful concept for fragrances, both in shade and in nuance: from the wistful L'Heure Bleue (denoting the hour that the French call entre chien et loup) to the bright cerulean of its modern Guerlain "rendition" L'Heure de Nuit (whose shade one of my wittiest readers compared to Toilet Duck's to the burning of my mind's "eye" ever since), blue makes an honorable appearance in fine fragrance. Just think of the gorgeous "lantern" design by Guerlain, famously utilized in Guet apens, or the majestic blue of Shalimar or even of the pentagon of Tauer perfumes. Blue "sports" fragrances for men have somehow blurred the positive associations of blue (well, at least the escapist ones, if the bleak ones remain, given how awfully bad many of those fragrances smell) yet there are some examples of blue perfumes (or flacons!) which eschew the rule that "blue=marine", such as the infamous case of Angel by Thierry Mugler, Armani's La Femme Bleue or Cacharel's Loulou in its memorable turquoise.

So tell me, which are your "blue perfumes"? Are they wistful and nostalgic, filled with saudade, or are they colored blue and evoking seascapes and fresh ocean spray?

pics via pinterest


  1. Eleni21:08

    What a lovely article! Being Greek, the imagery resonates so much! I too found out about Blue Monday only today (ironically, New Order's Blue Monday is one of my all time fave songs).

    I have to admit though, blue is not one of my favourite colours; I especially dislike navy. In my meagre perfume collection of 13 bottles, not one is blue in colour or mood. I have one one my test list for ages, not being able to find it in Greece: Azuree. And I would love one of Tauer's blue bottled, too.

  2. Eleni,

    thanks for commenting and wow, we must have been in the dark for so long, not knowing about Blue Monday, eh? :-) Thanks for the kind words.

    Blue in our culture is prized, yet I somehow think it has become a default answer, a universally approved of option, especially for males, in itself therefore showing a lack of imagination, sort of….
    My favorite shade in blue is petrol blue, which is actually more green-grey than blue. LOL!

    Azuree is great stuff, I wish I had a full bottle to send you some to enjoy. (I need to get one, one of these days). Maybe try Strawberrynet? They seem to have everything and ship to Greece too!

  3. Ava Luxe's No. 23 always makes me think of a radiant pale blue- it feels so cooling. Perhaps this is the lavender.

    I can't think of another perfume that evokes a colour quite as well, unless it's Tea for Two which to me is the brown of corduroy sofas and the 70's.

  4. Gorgonzola,

    although the pale blue in reference to No.23 made me pause and think (and question my perception because yours makes sense), I had to inwardly nod enthusiastically at your brown reference of TfT. Your description is spot on! (corduroy sofas and 70s brown).

    Thanks for your witty comment!

  5. Anonymous01:08

    Azzaro Chrome steely blue but cloying AlRehab silver perfume oil they make me think Blue but then a have difficulty in decoding olfractory to colours ! SAD has a lot ro do with sunshine and vitamin D levels lucky if you live in the southern hemishphere though a good supplement can help if youre futher North

  6. Anonymous16:07

    Ohh, becoming Wanderlust for Brazil (I lived there for 2 years) when listening to this beautiful song which makes me feel "blue".

    I like the above picture of the blue door. In some countries, doors and windows are painted blue to to steer this way the good spirits and Gods to themselves.

    When applying Blu Mediterraneo - Arancia di Capri I imagine myself in the Blue Grotto:))

    Greetings from Vienna.

  7. Anon,
    oh yes, good one the Al Rehab, the association is there!

  8. Gina,

    Cesare Evoria is amazingly popular where I am and no wonder, since this Capo Verde melancholy can be universal, plus the latin rhythm is sensual.

    Great observation about the blue doors! An opening to the spirits. a welcoming omen too. I loved this picture the first time I set eyes on it, so glad it resonates.

    Love the concept of the Blu Mediterraneo frags; Myrto di Panarea is the most "unusual" in the line, but very Med all the same. The Arancia one is perfectly spot on for the place and mood, though.

    Thanks for chiming in!

  9. Miss Heliotrope06:26

    Yet another "universal" that excludes the southern hemisphere -

    This Monday for us was a lovely day - a change from the extreme heat of the previous week. I find here in Melbourne that blue is closer to the Greek, but then on really hot days (that week of 40+), the sky is not so blue & more white hot (or so I gather, I didnt go out very much). So while blue is warm & sunny, there's usually a cool breeze or at least it's not much over 35...

    I'm another without much in the way of blue scents - Roxana Illuminated's Greenwitch, maybe, I go with the green bit. But in clothes: I adore blue (although green is my favorite colour), especially the darkest navy or indigo, but want a different scent: green or gold to go with it. Blue can be safe, but I find that's more in the approach of how it's used - blue can be dark skies or high mountains as well.


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