Rose d’amour


Why I am only finding this out now I do not know, but: Paris’s array of enticements is currently augmented by an exhibition dedicated to the wonderful Pierre Loti, French writer, adventurer and fearless sartorial event. J’arrive, j’aime, je m’en vais is at the Musée du Quai Branly, the French capital’s motley assortment of non-Western art and artifacts, until 29 September.

The exhibition explores his childhood, his travels, his costumes, his high society connections, his folie for sailors as well as his long fascination with le dernier voyage – death. Along with Loti’s books, drawings and personal effects, the exhibition features a darkened alcove shielded by black velvet curtains offering nothing more than a centennial recreation of a scent made for Loti in 1913. “Rose d’amour” contains Damascean rose, lilac, mint and violet, as I discovered on a brief visit to the wonderful and frightening world of perfume blogs. Sometimes I feel that trying to summon the vanished existences of marginal figures is like describing scent, but having now read actual descriptions of scents I realise I probably have the easier deal.

But the important thing is, Strange Flowers now has something to put in its bathroom cabinet alongside Eau de Castiglione and Ganna Walska’s “Divorçons“.

Further reading
Dress-down Friday: Pierre Loti
Obsèques de M. Pierre Loti
Pierre Loti | drawings


  1. Dear Flowers
    Another reason, as if one were required, to visit The City of Lights.
    I have a new ambition in life now… to be described a ‘fearless sartorial event’.
    Do you really find the Musee de QB to be motley?
    I rather like this dramatically lit if chaotic counterpoint to our own V&As fastidiousness.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • Thank you for the comment! “Motley” is probably unfair, but it is a collection defined by what it is not. I realise the curators can’t win – either the exhibits are scattered unsatisfactorily about the city in different collections as they were previously, or brought together in a big institutional gesture which risks appearing patronising. There are some amazing things in there, and I love the building. But I also love the V&A.

      • Dear James
        But the institutional gesture is what the French do so well!
        I jest, your points are all well made, perhaps I am too easily seduced by Jean Nouvel’s architectural fireworks and grand opera of the exhibits’ presentation.
        Oh, and I do love the V&A, the terms I used to describe it were meant as those of endearment.
        The central point remains… this looks like a very good excuse to board a Eurostar!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

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