The divide between darkness and light, between sanctity and profanity, between spirituality and carnality, and the overtones of a Catholic upbringing with its clash of good & evil have for long haunted the imagination of the master, mr.Serge Lutens himself. The contrast of white on black is another of the recurring themes in the canon of Lutens perfumes composed by perfumer Christopher Seldrake. (Just remember the furore about the white skin of his imaginary heroine when Serge Noire was luanched).
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La Religieuse ("the nun") is the latest Lutensian scent opus, a new unisex fragrance launching on January 30th 2015, focusing on the contrast between white jasmine (the flower of carnality and the South), incense (the religious reference par excellence) and the skin-compatible animalic notes of civet and musk. The monastic name isn't that hard to pin down, it being the title of a famous 18th century epistolary novel by Denis Diderot, posthumously published (and itself a reflection of Lettres Portugaises). In it, the fictional nun in question finds the life in the convent insufferable and pleads with the Marquis, a friend of the French author, to deliver her from her vows.
Can the fragrance be a social commentary in our modern age when religion is again exerting a powerful grip on impressionable minds?
The new Lutens perfume, La Religieuse, is part of the export line, encased in the familiar oblong bottles of the house and tinted an ecclesiastical purple.
Uniting only favorite notes of mine and a concept simpatico to the Lutensian universe, if it proves half as wearable as L'Orpheline I'm sold.
Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Serge Lutens fragrance news & reviews