July 29 2014

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Serge Lutens’ Deviant Duo


Serge Lutens has taken on many a scent challenge since launching his impressive library of fragrances. He gave patchouli a new, post-hippie lease on life with Borneo 1834, which is peppered with hints of galbanum and chocolate. And last year, he rocked the olfactory establishment with L’Eau—”the anti-perfume,” as he called the sage, mint, magnolia, and white musk elixir that was designed to be a palate cleanser to heavier oriental eaux. For his latest trick, Lutens has set out to capture violence through a new scent duo. “A particular kind of violence not to be confused with blind, indifferent brutality,” he assures Instead, Lutens focused his aggressions on “disfiguring” familiar florals so they are barely recognizable when spritzed onto the skin. “Tubéreuse Criminelle is impossible to classify,” Lutens says of the tuberose-heavy flacon that’s been spiked with clean hyacinth and bitter snowbell essences for an effect that is vaguely medicinal, “like flowers in a newly cleaned hospital room.” Its companion scent, Vitriol d’Oeillet, alternatively features spicy notes of clove, cayenne, and carnation. “The use of the carnation was accidental,” Lutens says of the decorative flower. “What I liked was the corrosive part of it,” he says. Neither is your average perfume, but then again, Lutens isn’t your average perfumer. “Only one tendency matters to me: Don’t follow trends.”

$140 each, available at Barneys New York, (800) 222-7639.

Photo: Courtesy of Serge Lutens

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