Serge Lutens Bas de Soie : Perfume Review

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Before I write about Boxeuses, I would like to discuss Bas de Soie, a fragrance which joins the ranks of the Serge Lutens export collection. “Silk stocking,” as its name translates from French, Bas de Soie certainly conveys a rustling, shimmering sensation of silk, although at times, it disconcertingly veers towards sharp and metallic.
basdesoie
Even if it is tempting to talk about a new direction for Lutens, I only have to recall the pallor of Clair de Musc (2003), the watery limpidness of Fleurs de Citronnier (2004), the transparency of Gris Clair(2006), and the sweet delicacy of Louve (2007.) Likewise, in Bas de Soie, the familiar dark, magnetic Serge Lutens character is not to be found. If your idea of a fragrance merges the coldness of hyacinth with metallic rose and the luxurious softness of Santa Maria Novella iris soap, then Bas de Soie is a perfume for you.

Certainly, Bas de Soie is an unusual scent, offering a different interpretation of iris. It is worlds apart from the earthy opulence of Iris Silver Mist, where the iris is rendered in a very natural manner, with all of the facets of the raw material magnified and enhanced.

Although I cannot compare Bas de Soie to Iris Silver Mist, it most strongly reminds of Chanel’s modern iris treatment in 28, La Pausa. It is likewise sheer, crisp and pale, with all of the dark, powdery heft of orris attenuated so much that only some metallic shimmer remains. Yet, if 28, La Pausa is singularly orris, Bas de Soie is more than that. It treats iris as a metallic accent, which pierces the green almond and honeyed rose accord of hyacinth. The characteristic floralcy of hyacinth is underplayed in this composition, and instead the flower is made intensely green and sharp, verging on patently artificial.

Layered over the metallic and powdery notes, the core of Bas de Soie suggests a clean and fresh impression. The downside is that it occasionally enters the territory of functional scents with its crisp muguet character. That is what one would expect to find in a soap or a fabric softener. Although the composition never feels cheap, the functional association nevertheless detracts from its allure for me. On a purely theoretical level, it is an interesting concept, but it fails to capture my attention on skin.

Bas de Soie is sold in the export range. The export line fragrance are available from Aedes, Beautyhabit, Luckyscent, Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and from some Neiman Marcus locations.

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20 Comments

  • carmencanada: I likewise found Bas de Soie metallic and soapy — in fact, I think I called it something like “toxic soap” because of its toughness. It is also, as you say, very artificial: this is obviously deliberate.

    In a way it’s not so far from L’Eau Serge Lutens, in addition to the other fragrances you quote, in the sense that it plays on the codes of “clean”, but in a different register of notes.
    I haven’t been able to adopt it either because nothing in there loves my skin. Not so Boxeuses: that works, and will be worn! August 17, 2010 at 3:00am Reply

  • sweetlife: What a careful, thoughtful pan, V. 😉

    No. 19 is as far as I go with cool fragrances. I await your review of Boxeuses! August 17, 2010 at 10:08am Reply

  • Mark: I thought that in theory it was interesting, but in practice not so much. Way way too sharp! August 17, 2010 at 7:17pm Reply

  • Yelena: This is the first Lutens I’ve ever liked, because his other fragrances are too dark and heavy for me. I get lots of compliments on Bas de Soie too. On my skin, it wears really well. August 17, 2010 at 8:18pm Reply

  • Yelena: I forgot to add, it does not smell that good on my friend, very sharp! August 17, 2010 at 8:18pm Reply

  • Uella: On my skin Bas de Soie is a powdery whisper of frosted iris with a clean floral background. It’s more modern than No.19 and although crisp and cool, less austere and strict than Iris Silver Mist. Love it, I even got a compliment from a stranger! 😉 August 18, 2010 at 1:40am Reply

  • Carla: I look forward to your review of Boxeuses. I have been enjoying reading “back issues” of your blog. So thoughtfully written, each review is a real pleasure. Even the comments are interesting. August 18, 2010 at 8:07am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: D, I find it interesting only as a concept. Its artifice is too jarring for me. I also like my iris natural, rooty, rich. August 18, 2010 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: A, for iris-hyacinth combination I also love Silences! Incomparable! August 18, 2010 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Mark, I agree, very sharp! August 18, 2010 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Yelena, glad to hear that it works for you! August 18, 2010 at 1:11pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Uella, I love compliments from strangers! It is always fun, especially on something I’m working on at the moment. 🙂 August 18, 2010 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Carla, thank you! I will post it next week, when I am back from vacation. It is a polar opposite of Bas de Soie! August 18, 2010 at 1:15pm Reply

  • Flora: Nice review; everyone seems to be divided on this one. I have yet to smell it, but if the hyacinth is at all prominent to my nose I am sure it will be love! August 20, 2010 at 4:31pm Reply

  • Bialik: I love it and, like Yelena, find it the first SL fragrance I can wear. I find it soft and light but with a metallic radiance. I group it in my collection with Flora Bella (Lalique) although it is less floral. August 23, 2010 at 5:44pm Reply

  • minette: i adore this one… and i’m not entirely sure why. but i feel so good in it, and whenever i catch a whiff of it, i think, gee, that smells really good. it has a very sexy underpinning, not unlike a silk stocking, and smells a little like sex to me. i don’t get metallic or soapy or anything negative from it. hard to explain it, but it’s like expensive french makeup, powder, sex, and flowers to me. it gives me a lift and makes me feel more confident. what more could i want from a scent? January 14, 2011 at 10:32pm Reply

  • A Facebook User: You say its metallic and sharp like its something bad 🙂
    I must say Bas de Soie is one of my favourites. There is a sense of detached sexiness i havent found in other juices. I also love the cool, green facets of hyacinth in here… There are very few perfumes built around hyacinth, most of them dont capture the soul of this flower since its used more like an accent. Bas de Soie immediately brings hyacinths when they are starting to bloom, maybe just 3 or 4 of the starry waxy flowers yet…
    I agree there is a bit of an artificial feeling, hairspray or nail vernis, but again, you say it like its something bad… February 13, 2012 at 8:19pm Reply

  • fran: bas de soie really really works for me. one of the greatest in my view (and i generally love the more warm and oriental stuff of lutens – as well as encens et lavande). that some people find it soapy, that i get, but i do not find the iris powdery at all. to me it is sharp, metallic and clean and oh so classy, with this little nasty undertone which makes you wonder whether it is really that clean.
    there’s a lot going on below the surface here. really love it to pieces. April 18, 2012 at 8:39am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Although hyacinth in most perfumes is head- ache inducing for me (can’t wear Chamade), I love Bas de Soie. On my skin it is more powdery than sharp. In this spring I wear it a lot: I spray Y and then dab a few drops of Bas de Soie on my wrists for more depth and drama. May 28, 2016 at 7:54am Reply

  • Ligia: I bought a bottle of Bas de Soie a few years ago… loved it but it never stayed long enough on my skin… A year later I got another bottle trying to establish why I had missed it. Its innocence!- this’s what my heart was telling: fresh, slightly warm, crispy white soul.. Well, I’ve been looking forward to getting the next one :).. it might be called ‘an addiction’, hey!! September 16, 2016 at 7:22am Reply

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