|Image: Claudia Penrroz|
Scented storytelling is thriving at the house of Amouage, thanks to the unfailing efforts of Creative Director Christopher Chong. The brand’s latest release – put together by Jean-Claude Ellena’s brother, Bernard – takes on nothing less than the arc of a long-term relationship as its narrative. It begins with a shock: dense, retro, quinoline-based leather, Bandit-style. The opening salvo is uncompromising and assertive, perhaps even off-putting. But then, new couples don’t give a hoot about how they’re perceived by the world; they’re too busy locking the bedroom door and succumbing to the rush of endorphins.
Alongside the overt physicality comes romance, in the form of a floral facet which achieves the astonishing feat of balancing a pink hue (a first for Amouage?) with weightier, more classically sophisticated materials. So yes, the bouquet of white flowers is as loud and diffusive as anything the house has ever produced, but it’s covered in pale, violet-scented love hearts (shades of Bottega Veneta and, to some extent, Arsène Lupin Le Dandy, minus their disappointing reticence).
But it’s the ending that’s the real treasure. Once the all-conquering madness has died down, once the quasi-adolescent frothiness has bubbled away, we’re left with the pay-off: a drydown of powdery resins and balsams which takes the best of everything that’s come before, but also adds its own age-old heft and authority. This is the final, most meaningful stage of our couple’s story: their bodies are awash with the soothing, reassuring power of oxytocin, their minds are locked in an eternal embrace and as they look into each other’s eyes, they know that they have found their beloved.
[Beloved will be available only at Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman, Tsum and stand-alone Amouage boutiques; review based on a sample provided by Amouage in 2012.]