The theme of Noir in perfume is based on deep dark wood notes, from which the upper lighter notes sing out in greater contrast. Delicate beauty is enhanced by surrounding it with a dark frame. Black clothes, and dark perfume, are still a favorite part of the modern city dweller’s identity in the classic contemporary style. The noir style projects a passionate, strong yet vulnerable persona. Dark adornments of all kinds, including perfume, are sexier from their association with sin, rebelliousness, the darkness of night and the elegance of the Devil. Dark frames enhance and intensify the gestures, features and movements of the wearer. I have noticed that the Noir style has become a substantial genre of its own in perfume, and it goes so well with the dark glamour of the Gothic style.
I think of vintage Caron Narcisse Noir, pale sweetness drying down to a dark dry wood, or a spicey Noir, like Noir Epices from Frederic Malle, which connects top to bottom with a stimulating layer permeating throughout down to the bottom dark base notes.
So Dark Romanticism goes on as strong as ever, unbroken in a seductive line from the nineteenth century French poets like Baudelaire and Rimbaud and the American anti-trancendentalists like Edgar Allan Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Melville, connecting the big dark dramatic scary dots into lines between ourselves and the cycles of nature.
February 21nd will be the last day of FIT’s exhibition of couture Gothic fashion, and I can’t believe how refined and beautiful it is. It is worth making a special trip to see. The designers’ attention to the details of line and finish are an idealized version of the Noir frame of mind. The darkly elegant sensuality of each piece is breathtaking. One Alexander McQueen dress was inspired by his ancestor, Elizabeth How, burned as a witch in the 1600s (above) that looks like an evening gown worn for the flaming party thrown in honor of the exciting scariness of mortality.
Not to be missed are the jewelry and accessory cases in the opening room. There are antique pieces mixed with modern, including mourning jewelry of thick, perfectly carved vulcanite matte black chains. The Victorians wore them around their necks, symbolizing the graceful bearing of lengthy emotional slavery to life’s losses and regrets.
Not to be missed! Suitable attire to attend includes a Noir perfume…