The Magic of Nutcracker : My Financial Times Magazine Column

I wrote Winter Perfumes with the Magic of The Nutcracker for the FT magazine last year, but recently, I was musing on one of my favorite aspects of perfume–a fantasy aid. An instant fantasy aid, I should add, because it takes only a spritz to create your own reverie. This is the topic of my article.

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As a former ballet dancer, I can’t think of winter without associating it with the magic of Hoffmann’s tale and Tchaikovsky’s music. For me, the season has a strong whiff of rosin on ballet slippers, but it is a time of fairy kingdoms, groves made of candied fruit and coffee-scented dancers. My pointe shoes are rarely in service these days, but my Nutcracker fantasies find their expression in perfume. Please read the rest by clicking here.

If you wish to play dress up with perfume, what fragrance do you chose?  

Photo via FT

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156 Comments

  • Karen: Fun question Victoria! (And great article – the comment about Balanchine encouraging dancers to wear perfume to class made me realize what you could learn or surmise by student’s choices.)

    I frequently view clothes and choices of what I wear as putting on a costume. Not that my clothes are way-out or super arty although I do sew many of my clothes, and enjoy giving thought to what I wear. But it is more the idea of what do I want to project. Many of my fashion role models are from the late 50’s early 60’s, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and so on – so the perfumes that I associate with them, not ones they actually wore, are grand and not so subtle. Carnal Flower, Tubereuse Criminelle, Portrait of a Lady.

    But when I am actually dressing up for the opera, I go for a subtle scent – usually #5 pure parfum as I don’t want to be “that woman” who wears too much perfume or jangly jewelry to the show.

    Fragrances really do allow you to create an atmosphere and then embody a vision of that image. March 9, 2015 at 8:14am Reply

    • Victoria: “Fragrances really do allow you to create an atmosphere and then embody a vision of that image.” You put it perfectly!

      I had a teacher who once danced for Balanchine, and she also mentioned receiving perfumes from him (I believe, it was Replique), which she, of course, wore to class. She said that when you entered the rehearsal studio, you nearly fainted from all of the perfume smells. March 9, 2015 at 4:27pm Reply

      • Karen: After reading that Diagelev sprayed the theater curtains with Mitsouko, I did the same. Perhaps just a *bit* too much for our little farm house in the winter! Better suited to a large theater and heavy velvet drapes. March 10, 2015 at 7:01am Reply

        • Victoria: I imagine it was too much for a regular sized home! Mitsouko has such a huge sillage. 🙂 March 10, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

        • angeldiva: Hi Karen,
          This seems like an episode of The Lucy Show! I’m sorry the plan didn’t work out, but, there’s a very funny story there! LOL
          P. March 12, 2015 at 6:36pm Reply

          • Karen: Really! Fortunately it did fade away…. Next time I will go with something a bit lighter, maybe L’occitaine’s Verbena – and with windows open! March 13, 2015 at 6:00am Reply

            • angeldiva: Now THAT sound like a tres chic plan! March 13, 2015 at 7:02pm Reply

  • Patricia: Dear Victoria, I am so impressed that you played the role of Coffee, my favorite of all in The Nutcracker. It requires such grace and athleticism, and always drew gasps of pleasure from the audience.

    As a child my daughter was a serious ballet student and played a Polichinelle and later a Party Girl with the Boston Ballet. This was a great experience for her, and she still takes ballet classes when her schedule allows.

    I need to try Kilian’s Intoxicated and CdG Kyoto, as I’m a coffee enthusiast but don’t own any coffee perfumes! March 9, 2015 at 9:46am Reply

    • limegreen: Victoria, Like Patricia, I was impressed to learn of your past life as a ballet dancer and The Nutcracker role you had. What a woman of mystery you are! 🙂 Did you wear perfume when you danced on stage?

      Your article made me rethink Kyoto, as incense and bitter coffee seems so inviting right now. Thank you! I’ve only sampled CdG Wonderoud sometime last year and nice as it was, I did not explore the line any further.

      On a recent smelling trip, after testing Cafe Rose again, we were “introduced” to another coffee perfume, Bond no. 9 New Haarlem which is not new, of course, but new to me. It’s not overly sweet, even though I smelled chocolate/vanilla (?). Of course I was interested because it’s a Marcel Roucel creation and I love Dans tes Bras. 🙂
      (I’m eagerly awaiting the new spring Diptyque fragrance with osmanthus, coffee, and apple blossoms. Such a crazy combination, it will be either brilliant or ghastly!) March 9, 2015 at 11:18am Reply

      • Victoria: 🙂 Not much mystery, though. I didn’t wear any perfume on stage, although I remember sneaking drops from my mom’s bottle of Diorissimo before ballet classes.

        Kyoto would be perfect too, and that was another idea I had. March 9, 2015 at 4:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I must have danced all of the female parts at one time or another, including the mouse! 🙂 But Coffee is my favorite part from that ballet, apart from Sugar Plum Fairy. Everyone wants to get a chance to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy part. 🙂

      Your daughters are incredibly multitalented, Pat! So impressive. March 9, 2015 at 4:29pm Reply

      • Wendy: I’m a dancer, and my favorite is also Arabian/Coffee. I’ve done just about every role too but am glad that as an Asian dancer I was never type cast to do Chinese. Arabian is more my thing 🙂 I thought Amouage Gold or Hypnotic Poison would be great for that! April 7, 2015 at 10:04am Reply

        • Victoria: I love your choice of perfumes for this role. 🙂 April 7, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

  • sandra: Great Article!
    When I lived in San Francisco and use to go to hip hop and dance clubs I would wear Coco Mademoiselle
    Salsa lessons in New York city it was Beige-I don’t know why.
    The only time I have been to the opera in NYC I wore Chanel’s Rue 31
    Taking the baby to movement classes Journey woman (today is my last day of my maternity leave-so Fate is my choice for today)
    Have a good week everyone March 9, 2015 at 10:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Good luck with your back to work schedule, and enjoy today! Your perfume is certainly perfect. March 9, 2015 at 4:31pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: I love the idea of Nutcracker inspired perfume but as gourmands are not quite my cup of tea ;), I don’t know which of my scents would qualify. Maybe Traversée du Bosphore?
    When I go to the opera or theatre, I usually wear Histoires des Parfums Moulin Rouge. March 9, 2015 at 10:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Traversée du Bosphore would qualify! I was thinking of the magical kingdom of citrus fruit and gingerbread, but of course, the Nutcracker need not be associated only with the gourmands. March 9, 2015 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: That marvellous article did me long for the winter, my favourite season. I am not familiar with the Nutcracker ballet, but I suppose Coffee is very lively. My favourite coffee perfumes are Bornéo 1834 and Angel The Taste Of Perfume.
    When I go to the opera, I mostly wear something light, like Caron Pour Un Homme .
    And suppose I had to perform an opera heroine…like Gilda..(dreaming is not forbidden)..I would wear Lys Soleia.
    Or Liù, performing Liù.. or Diorella for the lively page Oscar…STOP.Wake up, Cornelia! March 9, 2015 at 11:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m on the metro, so I will reply a bit later to all comments, but I wanted to say right away–oh, no, don’t stop such marvelous dreams! And after all, if we don’t allow ourselves the flight of fancy, the inspiration of a dream, then what’s the use of it all? 🙂 And I love hearing what perfumes you’d pair with different operatic roles. How about Madame Butterfly or Susanna in the Marriage of Figaro? March 9, 2015 at 12:00pm Reply

      • Theresa: Or what perfume would the Marschallin wear? (maybe a Chanel Exclusif?) how about the crazed Salome? the mind boggles! March 9, 2015 at 12:18pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: You are right, let’s dream! Madama Butterfly must have something very innocent, and passionate at the time. Maybe Diorissimo. And Susanna something witty, sharp…Vent Vert I give to her, or Gin Fizz.
          And the Marschallin a marzipan perfume, like Joop! le Bain..and Salomé…Sécrétions Magnifiques!

          What do you think? March 9, 2015 at 12:44pm Reply

          • Karen: If only Putain des Palaces had more “dirt/earth” something…for Salomé. And what for Desdemona in my all time favorite Otello? L’heure bleue as it is somewhat heartbreakingly beautiful? March 9, 2015 at 3:32pm Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Absolutely, L’Heure Bleue! but only the vintage for her. March 9, 2015 at 3:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’d love to hear what others think! So many possibilities there. March 9, 2015 at 4:46pm Reply

      • limegreen: How fun! I think Madame Butterfly should wear something ethereal with Japanese incense (not frankincense) and cherry blossom! March 9, 2015 at 4:25pm Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, that would be lovely for a fragile Japanese lady. That’s one side of her…but don’t you think she also has a firm character, capable of strong, passionate love, and facing the consequences of her situation? March 9, 2015 at 4:35pm Reply

          • limegreen: You mean, like a base of patchouli or something hearty/woody that endures?
            Portrait of a Lady? March 9, 2015 at 4:46pm Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Portrait Of A Lady is to my nose way too strong,
              although I love dramatic perfumes. I stepped back smelling this (if that is English). No, not for Madama Butterfly, imo.
              I was thinking of Diorissimo, delicate but heady as well. March 9, 2015 at 5:15pm Reply

              • Karen: Avon (I know I know – not high end, but has some very lovely fragrances), has Kyoto Flower haiku. Notes listed are violet leaf, peony and white musk. It’s pretty, not excessively sweet. But has some earth to it with the musk. And the box has cherry blossoms on it! March 9, 2015 at 5:28pm Reply

                • Cornelia Blimber: That’s the one for Butterfly! March 9, 2015 at 5:53pm Reply

                • limegreen: How perfect! March 9, 2015 at 8:07pm Reply

    • Solanace: I want to play too, with the Punic wars characters. 🙂 Hasdrubal’s wife, the one who killed herself wearing her finest jewelry and clothes when Carthage fell, would be wearing Amouage Epic. Or maybe Fracas? Scipius Aemillianus, Ambre Sultan. Scipius Africanus, Terre d’Hermes. And Hannibal, Chanel Antaeus. (Since Victoria will let us dream, please allow me to adequately groom these guys.) March 9, 2015 at 1:05pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Solanace! Perfect choices!
        I think Amouage Epic is best. And what about Coco? It must be a dark, baroque perfume..

        Which perfume would you choose for Julius Caesar? March 9, 2015 at 1:38pm Reply

        • Solanace: Coco would be great. As for Julius Cesar, I don’t want to choose prematurely. Let me read the book first. 🙂 March 9, 2015 at 2:28pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Julius Caesar was a kind of a dandy, and very sexy! March 9, 2015 at 3:39pm Reply

        • Hamamelis: I vote for Fate Man… March 9, 2015 at 4:49pm Reply

          • limegreen: Word play! 🙂 March 9, 2015 at 4:55pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Haha…..beware of the Idus of March! March 9, 2015 at 5:22pm Reply

            • Hamamelis: Ha! A fateful day… March 9, 2015 at 5:38pm Reply

        • limegreen: Oud and musk, maybe something Roman fruity like fig?
          Something with super loud sillage — overpowers everyone within a 100-mile radius! March 9, 2015 at 4:54pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Hm. Julius was not only a powerful warrior, but also very refined and aristocratic.
            I would say, something reminding of horses, something leathery. Maybe Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa. Or a real good Vetiver. The best is maybe the Malle, but I want something more refined, not so obviously strong for Julius Caesar…the Guerlain Vetiver. March 9, 2015 at 5:20pm Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Fruity fig could be the right perfume for Pompey. Philosykos for him. March 9, 2015 at 5:34pm Reply

  • Alessandra: were you a ballet dancer? Me too!!! 🙂

    Started having classes again in september, after a long interruption due to my knees and my fear over their state. Turns out it was probably just a growing up thing (albeit a very serious one, at that time, of course) March 9, 2015 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy your classes and take it easy in the beginning. It’s easy to get over-enthusiastic and sustain a minor injury. Once a dancer, always a dancer, as Allegra Kent used to say. March 9, 2015 at 4:46pm Reply

      • Alessandra: I will 🙂 but I feel great and I think I have improved a lot already, in the turnouts in particular… so I am happy of that! 🙂 and yes, once a dancer, always a dancer 🙂 March 9, 2015 at 8:24pm Reply

        • Victoria: That’s so great, and I can imagine how proud you feel. 🙂 If you had a good turnout and flexibility before, it will all return. And of course, the satisfaction of having a good class is like nothing else. March 10, 2015 at 10:06am Reply

  • Alessandra: P.s.: I LOVE this article… AND the part of the arabian dancer! (especially the one in nureyev’s version of the ballet) March 9, 2015 at 12:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Nureyev’s version has fantastic parts for dancers, while Petipa’s choreography with his gorgeous corps de ballet arrangements is incredible. March 9, 2015 at 4:48pm Reply

  • Alessandra: When I go to paris opera, I vary fragrances (and the proximity with galeries lafayette helps, in case I don’t have osmething with me). I only select the best when I go to my fave theatre to see my fave company. Most of the time, it’s a Chanel or a Guerlain creation. Very often, it’s Bois des Iles. However, this week, I intend to try on Misia before going to Garnier… and see if it lives up to its description for me. I’ll report back. March 9, 2015 at 12:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: The last time I was at Opera Garnier, I could smell someone wearing a perfume what reminded me of Tom Ford’s Cafe Rose. There was also a lady wearing Mitsouko. March 9, 2015 at 4:50pm Reply

      • Alessandra: Haha! Yes, I always detect Mitsouko there…. which I love, of course. Will be road-testing Misia there on thursday (I hope) 😉 March 9, 2015 at 8:25pm Reply

        • Victoria: Enjoy! I’d love to hear what you think. March 10, 2015 at 10:05am Reply

  • Mj: Would love to see you dancing. Are there any videos. March 9, 2015 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, that would be nice! March 9, 2015 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Patricia: Yes, video links wanted!! 🙂 March 9, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not sure, but my uncle is looking. He and my father used to record a lot, but so much was lost in our many moves. On the other hand, my uncle found a video of me as a 1 month old baby. March 9, 2015 at 4:53pm Reply

  • Aisha: Lolita Lempicka is winter/Christmas in a bottle. I have many gourmands, but there’s something about this perfume that seems extra special to me. I always look forward to wearing it when temperatures dip below zero. Like sweets during the holidays, the fragrance is such a comfort. It’s also why I reach for it when I feel a cold coming on.

    I don’t know if it’s playing “dress up,” but when I wear Cuir de Russie, I’m transported back to the days of when I used to frequent the small leather goods department of my favorite upscale retailer when I was a “poor college student.” I never bought anything, but it was fun to dream. Those were very happy times. 😉

    It’s interesting that many have brought up when fragrance they would wear if they were a specific character in an opera. I’m a singer (not professional, but I sing with a church choir and a community choir). We aren’t allowed to wear any fragrances during our performances because some have allergies, which would make singing very difficult. We had the same rule when I performed in musical productions in college, so it’s difficult for me to picture what fragrance a character would wear if she were to wear a fragrance. When I attend concerts or theater productions, however, I like to wear YSL’s Paris. To me, Paris is the bouquet given to the female lead or concert soloist at the end of a performance. 🙂

    Great article, Victoria! March 9, 2015 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: Hi Aisha! Yes, singing and perfume can bother each other. Sneezing..phlegm.. but not always. I had many years of singing lessons, always perfumed, my teacher never protested. And nobody in the choirs where I sang did. But that was in the past, people were not so sensible at that time.
      But some singers can’t bear perfume, true. And some singers created perfume: Pavarotti, Renée Fleming. March 9, 2015 at 12:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: My aunt sings with a church choir, and she doesn’t wear perfume for the same reasons you mentioned. But it’s fun just to fantasize. You really don’t want to hear me sing, but I can imagine what perfume Maria Callas would wear (in theory only) if she sang a particular part. 🙂 March 9, 2015 at 4:55pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Maria Callas was not afraid of perfume. She wore No.5. March 9, 2015 at 5:25pm Reply

        • Victoria: Inspired by this thread, I was just listening to a recording of her arias. March 9, 2015 at 5:41pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: She was the greatest singer ever. Which aria’s are you listening to? March 9, 2015 at 5:55pm Reply

            • Victoria: It’s a compilation of her singing tragic and romantic arias. I was listening to “Ah, Pour Cesoir… Je Suis Titania” from “Mignon” when I was responding to you.

              Here, if someone else wants to listen:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmvW3QZEXi4 March 10, 2015 at 10:08am Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: Ah, wonderful. The virtuoso sound of Callas. March 10, 2015 at 11:55am Reply

                • Victoria: Isn’t it gorgeous! March 10, 2015 at 5:50pm Reply

                  • Karen: Beautiful! There is just *something* that undefinable quality. March 11, 2015 at 6:58am Reply

                    • Victoria: Yes! 🙂 March 12, 2015 at 1:01pm

        • angeldiva: Hi,
          Maria Callas had a voice teacher named Louise Caselotti. Louise Caselotti was my voice teacher beginning in 1978 -Hollywood. Her sister was Adrianna Caselotti who was the voice of Snow White in the animated film.
          Louise was a genius, and knowing these women at such a young age changed my life for the better.

          P. March 9, 2015 at 9:21pm Reply

          • Karen: Wow! Wow! and Wow! What a wonderful experience for you! What style singing do you do? Tell more!! March 10, 2015 at 7:06am Reply

            • angeldiva: Hi Karen,
              The method Louise taught to me allowed me to sing almost any kind of music and language that I attempted.
              Then, the miracle of my life: other vocalists started asking me to teach them.
              I was living and teaching in Palm Springs when -just by chance- I spoke to a woman on the phone who had studied with Louise in Hawaii. It was quite amazing to exchange stories with her.
              If you go on utube you can see inside the ,”Snow White House,” in the Miracle Mile district in Los Angeles. This is Adrianna’a home where I would have my lessons when Adrianna was out of town.
              I was truly blessed!
              P. March 10, 2015 at 3:10pm Reply

              • Karen: What an amazing story! How fun that you got to 1. have lessons with such an incredible teacher 2. see Snow White’s real home with all the memorabilia and 3. pass on the teachings as you taught others! March 11, 2015 at 5:15am Reply

                • angeldiva: Thank-you! You made my day!
                  P. March 11, 2015 at 4:21pm Reply

                  • bregje: Wow!What a wonderful story.
                    And what a blessing to have been given the technique to be able to sing almost everything.
                    And the Snowwhite house…like you were growing up in a fairytale March 12, 2015 at 9:16pm Reply

                    • angeldiva: Hi Bregje,
                      Thank-you for your kind words.
                      The trip to Hollywood each week was a ray of hope in an adolescence that dismal way too much of the time…
                      Of the 6 languages I sang in (not conversed-but, sang) it was and is French that is the most challenging. How I love the sound of the French language, and all things French!
                      Sometimes at night when I’m dreaming… I am sitting in an outdoor cafe and speaking fluent French with some female lunch companions!!! These are the greatest dreams!
                      The first time Louise put an Italian aria in front of me- I thought I would panic. She taught me to open my mind instead of panicking and : JUST TRY.
                      My students sang every kind of music under the sun, and I wasn’t intimidated when they sang in other languages.
                      I also taught them to expand their ranges- they got more work by singing in more than the standard vocal range limits.

                      I had a very long career.

                      Let me also share with anyone who is a Callas fan that both Louise and Adrianna had speaking voices that defied their chronological ages.
                      And, Adrianna sounded exactly like her Snow White character! March 13, 2015 at 12:48am

                    • bregje: i recognize what you say about your teacher’s voices.Both my grandfather and uncle were classical singers(my uncle professional) and especially my uncle still speaks with such a musical voice and he is 71 years old!

                      Oh,and i’ll join you on that cafe terras in France;) March 13, 2015 at 2:01am

  • Solanace: I write from under my jasmine canopy, which I’m leaving forever as we move to a more centrally located (and much smaller, albeit super cute) house. This wonderful article was so timely, because I came here today to wait for the Salvation Army truck (we are terrible, terrible hoarders) determined not to feel blue, so I’m wearing an extra dose of Hypnotic Poison, which creates a hazy white cloud of deliciousness that overpowers most melancholic thoughts. I’ll miss the lemon tree, though. It generously gave gorgeous smelling flowers and delicious fruit year round in our latitude, and attracted native bees and cute ladybugs. Feels like leaving a friend. March 9, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    • angeldiva: Hi Solanace,
      Here’s a positive thought for you! I can relate to your feelings. I’ll be selling my family home of 62 years. It can be overwhelming. But, I’m content with the time I have left, and my dreams about the next phase of my life 🙂

      P. March 9, 2015 at 3:04pm Reply

      • Solanace: Good luck! March 9, 2015 at 3:59pm Reply

    • Karen: Beautiful image – the citrus trees give so many gifts. Good luck with your move. March 9, 2015 at 3:37pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Yes, be happy in your new home! March 9, 2015 at 3:43pm Reply

    • Hamamelis: Maybe a good reason to buy yourself a gorgeous citrus blossom and jasmine perfume…?
      All strength Solanace, I hope your new home will hold new friends for you, one-. two- or fourlegged! March 9, 2015 at 4:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I sympathize with you! Moving, even if it’s within the same town, is such an ordeal, on many different levels. I left two lemon plants which I grew from seed in my US apartment, so I know exactly how you might feel. I wish you much happiness and beauty in your new home! March 9, 2015 at 4:58pm Reply

      • angeldiva: Oooooooooh Nooooooooooooooo!!!
        Not the LEMON PLANTS! 🙁
        My late father -who lived to plant trees -would feel the same loss!
        In the 52 years of loving marriage between my parents, I only saw my father get irritated at my dear mother ONCE!
        We were standing in the front yard, and my mother accidentally stepped on one of his plants.
        ” You stepped on my plant,” said my father.
        Then my my mother turned around, lost her balance, and actually stepped on the plant!
        ” You stepped on my plant! You did it on purpose!” said my father.
        So, he storms up the driveway, leaving my mother, and I with our mouths hanging open in surprise at his outburst. lol
        I run after him- “She didn’t mean to step on your plant- she lost her balance.”
        I could see an embarrassed half- smile on the side of his face…
        Then he left for the night shift at the aircraft company.
        My mother took to her bed with depression.
        ” I didn’t mean to step on his stupid plant.”
        They must have made up when he got home because there was no mention of it the next day. My mother was being nice, and was in a very good mood.
        And, that was only time I saw my parents get irritated with each other.
        So, I can relate to how much of a loss your lemon plants were…
        P. March 11, 2015 at 5:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you for this story. It made me smile, but I also recognized my great-grandmother in your father’s response. She felt very protective of her plants. March 12, 2015 at 1:22pm Reply

          • angeldiva: Hi V!
            Thank-you for smiling! My late angel parents were hilarious 🙂

            Blessings on your plant protector great -grand mama
            And, fellow Ukrainian born Leonard Nimoy!

            P. March 12, 2015 at 6:42pm Reply

            • Victoria: Sounds like they were such characters! I love such stories. March 13, 2015 at 10:35am Reply

              • angeldiva: Characters? Let me tell you!
                In her 70’s my mother came home from the grocery store and tossed the TV guide ( it was a little magazine) into the freezer.
                Dad: What’s this in the freezer?
                Mom: Oh You! * she takes the TV guide and smacks him in the arm with it
                Dad: Well at least that will keep our Tv guide nice and FRESH. March 13, 2015 at 7:10pm Reply

    • Joy: I moved last year. In many levels it was very traumatic as we had lived in our home for 34 years. We moved to a beautiful place in Oregon looking out over the Columbia River, but is was wrenching.

      I hated leaving my beautiful, purple leafed Forest Pansy Red bud tree. It was gorgeous in every season. So this spring when I get back to my home on the river, I will buy one to plant. I will also plant some plum trees for blossoms and fruit! March 9, 2015 at 9:11pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: Ah, Filles, one of my all time favorites that I don’t own anymore. It also transports me, but to a forest where a small cabin stands. The pine needles mix with the sweet black tea I am drinking and the sweet pastries I am eating in that tiny house. Sappy, natural, full of spice and tar. I adore it. March 9, 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have only a decant now, since I don’t wear it often. On the other hand, there are times when nothing else will do, so I keep a small amount just for those days. March 9, 2015 at 4:59pm Reply

      • Alessandra: Perhaps it’s weird, but I LOVE it in the summer, in particular! March 9, 2015 at 8:27pm Reply

      • The Scented Salon: I should have kept some. Slumberhouse’s Rume also smells like Filles but that is a rarer, limited perfume. March 10, 2015 at 2:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t tried that one. I don’t know that many like Filles, come to think of it. March 10, 2015 at 5:57pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: I love Filles and emptied a full bottle. Bought a new one and was a little bit disappointed: it is thinner now. March 10, 2015 at 6:24pm Reply

  • angeldiva: These days I’m playing dress up with Bronze Goddess. I was so happy when the new bottle became available on the EL website.
    It smells so exotic, but, subtle. I’m so comfortable spraying this all day that I hope this bottle lasts until Summer! I have FINALLY slowed down my buying. So great that this is part my last acquisition.
    I can highly recommend it!
    P.

    Also, I don’t routinely go to the opera. But, I’ve been to the Grammys 14 times, and the last time I wore Annick Goutals Le Chevrefeuille. March 9, 2015 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Karen: Hey Doll! Too fun that you’ve been to the Grammys so many times! And my heart breaks a bit thinking of your move. On a different note, while waiting for my Iris to arrive, I tried Bois des Iles over LB, thinking the sandalwood might capture some earthiness similar to Iris, and it is absolutely beautiful. March 9, 2015 at 3:35pm Reply

      • angeldiva: Hey Doll !
        Thanks, going to the Grammys is about the only event I leave the house for ! LOL
        Don’t be sad! My life has waaay too much of that! At least I found an honest plumber, and am accomplishing the upgrades to the house.
        I want to copy your layering! But, I’m too slow to understand the perfumes you used.
        🙂 Is LB L’Heure Bleue? Who makes Bois des Iles?
        When will the Iris arrive??!!!{{{{
        Such life changing questions! lol
        P. March 9, 2015 at 9:29pm Reply

        • Karen: Bois des Iles is a Chanel – the amazing SA gave me a sample. It’s funny as it’s not something I would have picked, but yowzer – layered over L’heure bleue it is gorgeous on me…. And believe me, I am running up the (very long) driveway (well, not actually running, it’s still got snow and ice despite the warmer temps, it’s in the shade) to check! Iris and Rose Flash by Andy Tauer, cause I definitely need another rose….. March 10, 2015 at 7:13am Reply

          • angeldiva: Hi!
            Oh! That Bois des Isles! You did write about that experience! I sure hope that your snow abates, soon. Now, I understand why your Iris is taking so long to arrive.
            It will be all the more thrilling when you can enjoy it- The Layering Queen Iris!
            Out here in the Old West we have a serious drought to contend with. When it rains- the feeling is just Sacred. Then the after rain smell is so hopeful and rare. You take this feeling for granted when you get enough rain.
            Everyone has their cross to bear with the weather this year. I just pray that all the elderly are sought out and protected.
            P. March 10, 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

            • Karen: Iris is supposed to arrive tomorrow! And Rose Flash (plus samples, hmmm which ones will I receive?) today! I can’t wait to experience Iris over LhB. March 11, 2015 at 5:19am Reply

              • angeldiva: Hi Karen,
                I can’t wait for you! Women need seasonal perks to keep them going! Let me know how you like it? Try to at least sniff some Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder. It’s beautiful. Subtle , but beautiful…
                P. March 11, 2015 at 4:26pm Reply

                • Karen: This is more connected to comments about Snow White’s house and your Paris cafe, but the reply button is missing plus the thread is so narrow. Just please count me in for sitting at any cafe!! I was thinking how fun it would be to have a salon-type gathering to discuss perfumes, books, art – anything that inspires us to make the world a more beautiful place, through whatever gestures we can. March 13, 2015 at 6:23am Reply

                  • angeldiva: Oh! Honeeeeeeey!
                    I so get THAT! I’m going to retire in France if it’s the last thing I do. I can feel the vibrations of the French language rolling off my tongue.
                    I see in my mind the perfumed hills of Grasse.
                    And, don’t let me commence about French men. Maybe I’ll meet a French plumber!
                    Love!
                    ps When I hear the French National Anthem ( my father could sing it- and he had like 3 drops of French blood) I get misty eyed and choked up! March 13, 2015 at 7:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: How fun! I’ve never been to the Grammys, so it sounds quite exotic.

      Bronze Goddess is summer vacation in the bottle for me. March 9, 2015 at 4:59pm Reply

      • angeldiva: Hi Victoria!
        Yes, it’s soooo fun. A long, long day. I loved the show this year (AC/DC RULES), but my companion was a bonehead!
        Wish I’d taken my plumber!
        I’m also going to live in Bronze Goddess this season.
        Care to add anything about it’s allure. I’ve studied your review, but still can’t compute it’s amazing effect on the skin, or isolate the notes. Except coconut milk.
        :):):)
        P. March 9, 2015 at 9:33pm Reply

        • Victoria: It has a radiant feel, which is what makes it so beguiling to me. Besides all else, it also has a marvelous amber note. March 10, 2015 at 10:03am Reply

          • Karen: Bronze Goddess is now on my must-try list! It sounds gorgeous and Amber is one of my kryptonites. March 12, 2015 at 6:23am Reply

            • Victoria: It should be returning on the counter for the summer. Lauder also makes an additional lighter version, also a limited edition. March 12, 2015 at 1:30pm Reply

              • Karen: It sounds so wonderful, my only problem is my list has now expanded yet again! But a friend commented this morning about Misia that I was wearing (first sample all gone, now on to the second sample bottle) that I “wear” perfume so beautifully! So, that made me quite happy and relieved any guilt about my recent purchases. March 12, 2015 at 3:36pm Reply

                • angeldiva: Hi Doll!
                  Banish the guilt, and layer the Iris!
                  🙂 March 12, 2015 at 6:47pm Reply

                • Victoria: Such a nice compliment! 🙂 March 13, 2015 at 10:23am Reply

            • angeldiva: LOL 🙂 March 13, 2015 at 12:57am Reply

            • angeldiva: LOL My Kryptonite! This is so funny- I’m going to lose bladder control!

              But, I smell good! March 13, 2015 at 7:20pm Reply

          • angeldiva: Beautifully Said! March 12, 2015 at 6:46pm Reply

            • Karen: It is great to have some layering “pieces”. My problem is that I get stuck on a fragrance and wear wear wear that one, till my next crush comes along! The Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger is another beauty. March 13, 2015 at 6:26am Reply

  • Anne-Catherine: Great article! Also The magic of perfumes, and The magic of ballet dancers, always gracious and mysterious people!
    The question is not that easy to answer though but fun to think about.
    I would say the setting and the costumes also play an important role. You can play Mozart in 18th century or in modern clothes. In an 18th century gown, poudre de riz would be perfect.
    As for THE characters, I would see madame butterfly in portrait of a lady, Elektra in Fate (both gentle because of white flowers and poWdery notes and dark because of Incense and spices), blue beard in secretions magnifiques.
    Last friday I went to THE opera AK Na Thon ( Echnaton) music by Philip Glass and The costumes designed by Walter Van Beirendonck. echnaton for me was the hippie’of the Egyptian pharao’s with his cult for the sun and nature. I think about the Paco Rabanne for men, which was popular in THE 80’s for him, or THE afternoon of a faun, while his adepts should wear Antonia, carnal flower,…
    For his enemies I think about black by Bulgari.
    Victoria, can you give us some more characters, this is really fun!!! March 9, 2015 at 4:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much! And thank you for these reflections and thoughts. I love your choices so much.

      So, let’s see. What about more ballet characters? How about Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, Spartacus, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet? March 9, 2015 at 5:02pm Reply

      • Anne-Catherine: Here are my choices for Giselle and Juliet.
        I had to Google a few characters, to be honoust.
        Giselle I would see with Loulou, made of flowers, but in a combination that it has a dark, mysterious side
        juliet definitely in True Lust: joyful, frivolous in the opening, powdery when the relationship becomes serious and dry sandalwood and Amber in the end. March 12, 2015 at 1:26pm Reply

        • Victoria: Beautiful and interesting choices! Love them. March 12, 2015 at 1:38pm Reply

          • Anne-Catherine: Thanks!
            For Kitri I would choose Eau de Protection, the perfume made for Rossy de Palma. Maybe a bit to obvious, because She’s Spanish, but for me it’s a perfume for strong, clever and proud women, who always take Fate in their own hands ( life is what you make it).
            Spartacus needs a courageous and strong perfume like Xeryus. does it still exist??? March 12, 2015 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Joy: I loved your writing today. The photo of the bottles was so intriguing!

    For a very dress up occasion I would surely wear Chanel, L’heure Bleaue, or Mitsouko. I would apply it very lightly, however.

    I worked in a fragrance free environment for many years. Although I loved my work, I missed wearing fragrance. I was once asked in a meeting to wash my hand cream off. I use this lovely German hand cream that has the most subtle fragrance. I am happy to be in a situation where I can wear what I want. I enjoyed reading that Balanchine encouraged his dancers to wear fragrance.

    I did make a funny fragrance mistake last week. I wore L’Heure Bleaue hiking in the desert. I find sometimes that I love Chanel no. 5 in an outdoor setting. But a strong no on the L’Heure Bleue! I could not wait for it to wear off. It may have worked in a cooler environment, but not the desert at 75 F. March 9, 2015 at 9:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. They usually create such nice illustrations, and I liked the color theme of this one.

      L’Heure Bleue is one of the strongest, most diffusive scents, so yes, I imagine that it didn’t work well in the heat. It would be like donning a heavy velvet coat. You were brave! March 10, 2015 at 10:04am Reply

  • Aurora: You must have looked adorable as Coffee.

    I’ve so enjoyed reading the comments about what a diva would wear.

    When I wear Un Jardin sur le Nil, it makes me feel like a sophisticated travellerwho wouldn’t dream to incommodate others with a power fragrance.
    And Shalimar extrait makes me feel immediately ready for an evening out, no matter if I am in my slippers and old sweatpants. March 10, 2015 at 8:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, it’s a very sultry, smoldering part. I probably did look adorable when I danced it as a teen, but I would have been quite upset to hear that. In my mind, I was the femme fatale who made those three guys melt. 🙂
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFxwSrlUHZU
      Admittedly, I find it hard to watch these 19th c ballets today, especially La Bayadere, and not wince at the orientalized dances like this one. March 10, 2015 at 9:59am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Thank you for the link, an amazing dance, acrobatic indeed! I had a quite different idea how ”Coffee” could be (never saw The Nutcracker) —I expected a dancer in brown trousers, and brown make up, hopping around like a coffeebean. March 10, 2015 at 4:43pm Reply

        • Victoria: Goodness, no! Although some productions for kids do try to make Coffee a little bit less sultry. March 10, 2015 at 5:58pm Reply

          • Karen: Beautiful set! Saw the Mariinsky Ballet a month ago – Rites of Spring made my feet hurt! Watching the dancers in such contorted positions, jumping and landing with feet turned in – can understand why there were riots, and I can check it off of my list now, but no desire to see it again! The Swan, however, literally made me cry it was so exquisitely beautiful! As was Le Spectre de la Rose – and wouldn’t that be a perfect name for a perfume! March 11, 2015 at 5:31am Reply

            • Victoria: I admit, that Rite of Spring is not my favorite ballet. I much prefer the Afternoon of a Faun from the same period. And the Swan! Here is something you might enjoy–Anna Pavlova dancing the part:
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMEBFhVMZpU March 11, 2015 at 5:44am Reply

              • Karen: Exquisite! March 11, 2015 at 7:02am Reply

                • bregje: Rite of spring isn’t my favourite either but Firebird is.(or can be depending on the company: nl national ballet performed a beautiful version about a year ago).
                  Of course there is a big difference between the classic tchaikovski ballets and the more contemporary Stravinsky.
                  I had to get used to Stravinsky/diaghilev/niinsky.(if you want to read a great novel try Vaslav by Arthur Japin)
                  I was classically trained but got into a contemporary company.Very often i did not quite like the contemporary choreographies until i started dancing them and got the feeling of the steps. March 12, 2015 at 7:30pm Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you Victoria, it was wonderful: I didn’t dare using the link at the office but watching it at home was a delight. I understand very well what you mean about the dance’s ‘oriental’ theme it has little to do with real Arabian tradition, but at least the music’s beauty – although it too a fantasy – is real enough, isn’t it. As a child I had a record of Alice in Wonderland using the nutcracker so in addition to the dancers I picture the also the white rabbit, incongruous as it sounds. March 11, 2015 at 2:53pm Reply

        • Victoria: The music is another story, and you can fill it with your own images and fantasies. March 12, 2015 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Gentiana: A great article, again !
    What a multi-talented person you are, Victoria! It is such a fascinating thing to be a ballet dancer… I admire people who are gracious and athletic enough to do this super-difficult dancing. Nutcracker is a wonderful winter fairy-tale. and I could look to the ballet, and listen its music hundreds of times…
    My new absolute dress-up perfume is Jubilation for women, making me neglect a little bit my all-time favorite Nuit de Noel and its challanger, Oud by Mona di Orio… Former perfumes for special nights (opera, theater, Christmas Eve etc)- speaking of winter only:
    Alchimie, Absolu, Femme (all Rochas), Chanel No. 5, Fendi for women, Fendi Theorema, Cinema (YSL), Kenzo Flower, Tresor. March 10, 2015 at 9:01am Reply

  • Therése: I play dress up with perfume almost every evening. I’ll come home from the office and put on something “office inappropriate” 🙂 like Fracas, Mitsouko or a crazy Montale oudh. If I am actually dressing up I’ll want to wear something elegant, like Cuir de Russie.

    I took up ballet four years ago, at the age of 38. It’s probably one of the best things I have done for myself ever. There is a dance school in my hometown that started giving ballet classes for adult beginners. I know I’ll never be any good at it, but dancing is just so amazing. March 10, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    • angeldiva: Hi Therese,
      I think it’s so amazing that you took up dance once again! I’m trying to find the courage to take a belly dancing class!
      Well done you!

      P. March 10, 2015 at 5:22pm Reply

      • Therése: Thank you Angeldiva! You should absolutely try belly dancing, you will not regret it. As Victoria said in her reply to me: the most complicated step is the one in to the studio. Dancing is such a joy. March 11, 2015 at 3:17am Reply

      • Karen: Poof! I bestow upon you the courage to take belly dance classes! There is an amazing woman here in the DC area, Laurel Victoria Gray. She founded the Silk Road Dance Company and years ago began saving many Middle Eastern and Central Asian traditional dances by annotating (? correct word is escaping me) the steps. She began at a time when many traditional dances really were in danger of being lost as these had been suppressed and/or no longer danced. (Why do those when there are discos!)

        Perhaps you can find someone in LA who offers classes like hers – a huge variety of cultures and styles. The costumes are stunning, too! Sure there are some videos on YouTube. March 11, 2015 at 5:40am Reply

        • angeldiva: Ive been Poofed by the best ! LOL Thanks, Karen! Maybe belly dancing can poof away my belly! Your Ms. Grey sounds amazing! Are you looking for the word, “Choreograph?”
          I danced (and toured) as a child performing international folk dance. So, my feet remember! I’m just in such a rut…
          Just sprayed L’occitane Verbena under Clinique Aromatics Elixer. This is my – get out of the rut- scent!
          OK – I’m going to make the call to the dance teacher!
          Wish me luck! :):):) I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!!!

          P. March 11, 2015 at 4:34pm Reply

          • angeldiva: Apologies. “Ms. GRAY.”
            P. March 11, 2015 at 5:15pm Reply

            • Karen: Well very cool! No, Laurel transcribed existing traditional dances that were passed down but as people leave villages and/or traditional customs the dances (or songs, textiles etc.) get lost as the steps (or words/notes, methods) are not written down. Like how Alan Lomax recorded tons of music in the early 1900’s – everything from American Indian to Gullah to prison chain gangs. The music is incredible and would have been lost without its being preserved.

              For both the music and Silk Road Dance, there are lots of videos on YouTube. Laurel’s done a great job of posting and it’s very fun to watch the variety of dances (from Iran, Uzbekestan, Near and Middle East). And the music that Lomax – and his son and daughter – recorded, all over the world, is mind boggling! March 12, 2015 at 6:34am Reply

              • angeldiva: Just Amazing, Karen! March 13, 2015 at 12:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Congratulations! As my ballet teacher said–and she taught a few adult classes for beginners as well, the most complicated step for an adult in ballet is the first one into the studio. After that, all else is easy. 🙂 Is it modern dance or purely classical? March 10, 2015 at 5:55pm Reply

      • Therése: Thank you, Victoria! It’s purely classical. We are a group of about ten-twelve ladies between the ages of 38-66. We have so much fun! March 11, 2015 at 3:21am Reply

        • Victoria: Fantastic! I miss my New York studio so much, because we had the best classes, a mix of professionals, beginners, anyone in between. March 11, 2015 at 5:46am Reply

  • bregje: What a wonderful article and right up my alley!

    Personally i fell in love with the music and later the ballet of Swan Lake:it was the most beautiful music i had ever heard(i was about 8 years old).
    My friend and i tried to copy Alexandra Radius’ moves,who was my heroin at the time,only to find out that we’d held the picture upside down the entire time;). And so a relatively ordinary(but perfectly performed) arabesque became a very complicated backward turn(on point,mind you).

    But now for Nutcracker:
    I think Fille en Aiguilles is an excellent choice!
    Sugar plum fairy:feerie rose des neiges
    Candy canes(russian):Pi original code,givenchy
    Nutcracker:Vetiver,guerlain
    Spanish dancers(chocolat):Black opium
    Dew drop:Jour combined with apres l’ondee
    Mother Ginger:probably five o’clock au gingembre(because i feel that scent should be in there somewhere;))
    Chinese dancers(tea):eau parfumee au the vert,bvlgari
    Clara:Angel
    Flowers:Beyond paradise or Diorissimo
    And the rest:Shalimar Initial,Prada Candy,Obsession,Coco,Allure,Traversee du Bosphore,Gucci pour homme 2,etc.

    I have a return-question for you:
    What perfumes would you choose for the characters of Swan lake?
    I was thinking l’air du temps for Odette,but what about Siegfried?The dark and mysterious Odille?Von Rothbart?

    Oh ,and have you seen the video for ‘take me to church’ by Hozier?Directed by David Lachapelle featuring Sergei Polunin? I think he’s such a beautiful dancer. March 10, 2015 at 6:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m trying to imagine what exactly you’ve tried to do with an upside down arabesque, and it’s hilarious. 🙂 A great story!

      Thank you for this fun list! So much great ideas. Odille might need something dark and sultry like patchouli. Rothbart could have Bulgari Black! What do you think?

      I haven’t seen that video, but I’m going to look for it on youtube. March 10, 2015 at 7:02pm Reply

      • bregje: Bvlgari black fits well,i think!Or Egoiste.

        And i agree with you on the patchouli for Odille:i was thinking about voleur de roses. Or Poison;). March 10, 2015 at 9:45pm Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, even better choices, I think! I love Voleur de Roses, especially for the name. Seems appropriate. 🙂 March 11, 2015 at 5:45am Reply

  • Christine: You asked earlier and now my brain is spinning: Kitri must wear Amaranthine from Penhaligon’s. A little sweet, a little barnyard. And Giselle? Après l’ondee, truly. But what about Copellia? Original Miss Dior Cherie? Candy? March 11, 2015 at 9:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Candy would be perfect for Copellia, I think! March 12, 2015 at 1:28pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: If you like Lolita Lempicka, try Myrrhiad by Huitieme Art. It does smell slightly of resiny myrrh bit its beauty lies in the mixture of licorice and smoothing sugar and vanilla. It is a comfort sent that retains its mystery. March 12, 2015 at 12:11am Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t have good luck with Huitieme Art so far, but I will be sure to try Myrrhiad. Thank you! March 12, 2015 at 1:29pm Reply

      • The Scented Salon: I don’t like licorice too much myself. Huitieme Art is very tricky. For example, their Fareb is one of the most off-putting perfumes I’ve ever smelled. March 12, 2015 at 7:25pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, I think that it’s one of mine too. 🙂 March 13, 2015 at 10:36am Reply

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