«With a refined sense of aesthetic, Serge Lutens made a large contribution to what would later come to be described as niche perfume. For more than twenty years, he has created original and elegant creations that often whisk us away on a sensory expedition through the Orient—in short, Lutens weaves beautiful stories and exceptional fragrances.»
Self-taught, Serge Lutens quickly turned to beauty and created his first makeup collections for Dior in 1967. His ideas were daring and audacious for women with diaphanous, light complexions, while Lutens himself developed a personal taste for black and a striking procession of darkness. After being brought on to work with Shiseido in 1980, he created makeup collections and started down the path of his true passion: perfume. His first creation, Nombre Noir (1982), was mysterious and already demonstrated opulent characteristics (benzoin, tonka, honey, etc.).
These days, Nombre Noir is a collector’s item that represents the earliest traces of the Serge Lutens signature. Next for Lutens was a rather extraordinary collection imbued with the spirit of travel that drifted into highly original olfactory realms. Ambre Sultan is the quintessence of an Oriental voyage that launches off an enveloping and intoxicating scent. Arabia unlocks a Pandora’s box spice market teeming with treasures. Muscs Koublai Khan teases the imagination with a trip into faraway lands once ruled over by Mongols, where memories and sketches of forbidden musk hold sway. These scents, most often voluptuous, leave behind a striking and opulent wake. At times, a particular plant or flower will be put in the spotlight. Iris Silver Mist, for example, enhances the sugary scent of iris rhizomes, for an effect of infinite delicacy and sweetness. An intoxicating black Datura is another such example. The reprehensible tuberose pushes this sulphurous flower to the farthest reaches of its pharmaceutical side with a striking omnipresence. The result isn’t for everyone yet serves as a perfect example of the richness of the dramatic flower. At one time in the distant past, young women were recommended not to venture out during times of peak bloom. Lest we forget Lutens’s crowd-pleaser, Féminité du bois, whose name and olfactory resonance revolved around the feminine side of the woods.
These wonders today number more than forty, including the extremely high-end Gold Section collection. Paris serves as the ideal temple for these fragrances, in the heart of the Palais Royal gardens, a mysterious and strange setting that emerged straight out of Serge Lutens’s imagination.