Monday, July 30, 2012

Etat Libre d'Orange The Afternoon of a Faun & Dangerous Complicity: new fragrances

Etat Libre d'Orange have stunned us with Jasmin et Cigarette and Like This. They have surprised us pleasantly with Fils de Dieu du Riz et des Agrumes and Archives 69. They have had our jaw dropped on the floor with Secretions Magnifiques in a most memorable way. And now, set for release for October 2012, the French niche brand is issuing something that has me reminiscing of the days when I was practicing for piano solos at the Conservatoire, listening from the adjoining rooms all the other musicians practicing as well; namely a fragrance inspired by a most famous musical piece, L'apres midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy set into a ballet infamously by Nijinsky.
And to follow, there's yet another fragrance launched in autumn 2012 stepped in the myth of original sin...

The symphonic poem by Debussy derives its theme of the wanderings of a mythological creature, a faun, symbol of the wild forest life, from another source too: the erotically charged poem by Stéphane Mallarmé, The Afternoon of a Faun (1876).

 "The pomegranates burst and murmur with bees; 
And our blood, aflame for her who will take it, 
Flows for all the eternal swarm of desire. 
At the hour when this wood's dyed with gold and with ashes. 
A festival glows in the leafage extinguished: 
Etna! 'tis amid you, visited by Venus 
On your lava fields placing her candid feet, 
When a sad stillness thunders wherein the flame dies." [excerpt]

The new Etat Libre d'Orange fragrance romantically named The Afternoon of a Faun is composed by perfumer is Ralf Schwieger (of Lipstick Rose fame) and will include notes of bergamot, pepper, cinnamon, incense, immortelle (everlasting flower), orris, myrrh, leather, benzoin. Sounds like the erotic dream of the amorous faun is passed on into the olfactory domain now...

 Etat Libre d'Orange also issues another fragrance, Dangerous Complicity, inspired by Adam and Eve and their loaded story in the garden of Eden; a charged olfactory composition that will create talk thanks to its ingredients if nothing else. Perfume Violaine Collas combined Rum Jungle Essence by Mane, ginger JE, coconut JE, bay essence, calamus essence, osmanthus absolute, Egyptian jasmine absolute, ylang ylang essence, lorenox (an aromatic woody-leathery base developed by Mane), patchouli essence, a leather accord, sandalwood, and Cashmeran.

music: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, L'Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, directed by Charles Édouard Dutoit.


  1. This is a wonderful piece of music which opens with a famous flute solo. As a flutist, I was fortunate (in the 1980s) to be able to perform this with orchestra.

    When I got an email about these perfumes from Parfum1 this morning, I immediately ordered both in the 10ml sizes. I was so excited that someone used the Faune title for a perfume, I just had to have it, LOL!

    Can't wait to try these, although I do prefer the French: .

  2. Somehow the comment box left out my italics: l'Apre-midi d'une Faune

  3. brie18:33

    Same as queen cupcake the name alone fascinates me and would compel me to buy this perfume. Having been a former ballet dancer I am quite familiar with L'apres-midi d'une faune and the music.

  4. Miss Heliotrope08:07

    Debussy & perfume - sometimes the interweb is full of goodness.

    This list of mine is getting rather long.

  5. QC,

    indeed the beauty of this piece is hypnotic. So delicate, so subtly sensuous.
    A flutist eh? How lovely! Performing with an orchestra really makes for a completist experience, in my piano experience, doesn't it look like it that for you too? (I found the same applied when I sang in a choir; the unison of all the voices instead of a solo).

  6. QC,

    no problem. Thanks for adding it!

  7. brie,

    we do gather the artistic crowd around here don't we!

    The connection is indeed very fetching, I have to admit!!

    @Queen cupacake,
    forgot to say you have to come back and let us know how the fragrances fared for you when you try them out!! ;-)

  8. C,


    Love Debussy. The stuff of daydreaming.... *contented grin*

  9. Yes, I will certainly return with my views on these fragrances after I have tried them. Thanks for asking.

    And yes, I much preferred playing in the orchestra (solos and all) to playing solo recitals. There is something magical about being submerged in the experience--the aural landscape--of many instruments (or voices) with their unique qualities. It is a fabric of sound and time, originated by one mind--Brahms or Debussy or Berlioz. The individual mind has left the planet but its musical thoughts live on. I no longer play in an orchestra and I miss it terribly.

  10. I will need to seek this one out. I've always associated Nijinski and Debussy with Guerlain's Apres l'Ondee - ever since I was told the story by an SA that Nijinski loved it so much he used to gift his ballerinas with the perfume. Of course, it's hard to top Apres l'Ondee so I'll need to keep an open mind.

  11. QC,

    you put it so exquisitely... :-))

  12. OperaFan,

    oh la la...If I'm not terribly mistaken, it was Diaghilev who gifted his ballerinas with a Caron fragrance actually (it was NN) and insisted they wear it (he was partial to Mitsouko himself, as you must know).
    That SA must have been very partial to ALO! (Or rather Guerlain ~in their never-ending competition with Caron in those older golden years~ made up that story and perpetuated in their "education" much like the Jicky love story and all the rest; a guess which I'm inclined to believe is more like it, come to think of it....Nijinski being more "famous" as a star in his own right than the impresario, too! It makes sense, doesn't it?)

    Not that ALO needs any special assistance in selling/appreciating; it's easy to like, isn't it.


    I do hope the new Etat with its faun associations and all proves to be as dreamy as all that!

  13. PRELUDE A L'APRÈS-MIDI D'UN FAUNE is one of my favorite piece EVER. Synchronicity is a master...this morning I showed a friend a partition i want to learn...the Prelude!
    I am very excited to try this now. thanks for this very interesting article :))

  14. MariaA17:52

    Lovely article, and such an artistic crowd!!! Love it!! I also love Etat Libre d' Orange very much haven't tried all of them but so far my favorite is Fils de Dieu, I am going to buy the sample bag after summer I think so I will have a chance to try them all!! I am greedy!

  15. Violaine,

    don't say!!! Knock me down with a feather. :-O
    You're most welcome. :-)

  16. Maria,

    I feel enriched by what the readers bring in this venue. It's an eclectic crowd and I learn a LOT of things myself; I think this is the biggest reward in blogging.

    I also loved the Fils de Dieu, it's delicate, yummy, refined and not crudely "foody". An oriental refined through a modern sieve. Do get the sample bag, I'm sure you will like lots of other things too (Rosy de Palma for instance is a good rose, if you're having difficulty with those as I recall)

  17. MariaA12:03

    Dear Elena,

    you do remember collect, its just that I get the feeling that my credit card will grow hands one day and slap me to death!

  18. I love this scent .. and of course am adding it to my ever growing Fragrance Wardrobe...
    I think its a wonderful Unisex
    "FALL" scent...!
    however .. you barely touched on it
    aside from explaining the name and
    showcasing the music....
    and I thought ... hmmm??????
    yet there's another scent that is just as wildly unusual....

    "A Rebours" -by Friendly Fur
    I just love it !! a unisex "FALL" scent as well...
    ....a bit expensive for me ..
    20ml for $210.00
    refill tubes without the fox fur
    2 x 20ml $115.00

    I'm curious whats your take on it!
    aside from the controversy of using real FUR!

  19. Aldo,

    this is because the post is not a full review, just a presentation of something I thought was interesting.

    I haven't heard of the real fur bit perfume (A Rebours, therefore inspired by Hyusmans I suppose?), but using real fur for production would surely mean sustainable fur (assuming people continue to buy it) and that would mean killing animals, surely? This is makes me hesitant to try. I do like and wear vintage fur though; the animals are already slain, so I'm not feeding the industry.
    If a sample comes my way I'll give it a try, that much I can tell you. :-)


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