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Archive for March, 2011

I wish I had more time to paint. I’ve been working so hard on the new website and various perfume designs, oh yes, and I can’t forget the little museum construction, that there’s been little time for anything else. But Spring is here, my garden is coming back and my painting studio is beckoning. I do see a little opening though, as I am working on “2011 special project no.2” (*TBA in May and as you will see, the numbers in special projects this year may even hit the double digits before we’re through!) and this project keeps speaking to me about some drawings and small paintings as well as the perfume designs. I think I *must* make this happen or I may explode. It’s just possible.

Awakening, 2009; multi-media on paper


But for today I’ll be at the Essense Studio making perfume, sending out orders and smelling smells with my ‘young protogΓ©’ (who I will introduce you to sometime soon). It will be awesome.


*Today’s the day for a little draw: In honor of Persephone’s return, please leave a comment with your favorite Spring flower to enter to win 1 of 6 Vert pour Madame sample vials and a 5ml deluxe mini. (7 total winners). The draw is open until noon on Monday, 3.28.11, MST.
Wishing you a lovely first weekend of Spring! oxo

*image credit: persephone image found here

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When it rains it pours, it seems. With my first perfume launch under my belt another design comes out on its heals: Lautrec.

It’s been very exciting being invited to work on numerous special projects this year and Lautrec is the first to be released. Some of these special projects are with blogs (how fun!) and some with museums (super fun! and of course, with more to come) but it does make me very happy indeed to have the first be a celebration of one of my favorite blogs: Ca Fleure Bon. If you are not familiar with this wonderful magazine / blog, you really need to check it out! And, if you click on this link you can be entered to win a limited edition bottle of Lautrec (until 3.25.11).

a page out of my working notebook: this is the Lautrec image


In January, when speaking to CFB’s E-I-C, Michelyn Camen about the upcoming anniversary of the magazine, I said that I would love to create a ‘holy grail’ perfume for her to commemorate the occasion. She knew that as an artist I take much of my inspiration from painters and visual artists and she knew the I design jewelry so through the conversation a concept was set in my mind: to create a perfume based on an image from one of her favorite artists, Toulouse-Lautrec in a hand embellished bottle with a hand-made necklace to speak to the inspiration and the love of ‘bling’ we know MC has. The Toulouse-Lautrec woman is a pure Parisian, chic and utterly urbane, with a feather boa and in a late 19th Century style. Then there’s the ring to inspire the gem piece: a gorgeous black opal an a setting of diamonds and sapphires. Both are beautiful and evocative; both very luxurious, Parisian, and fabulously vintage. I love all of these elements. It’s going to be good.

Lautrec limited edition bottle no.1


For the gem pieces it was easy to come up with a palette: black opals (I found some very unusual ones from Peru that act a bit like ‘aurora borealis – tigers eye’ and the more conventional from Australia with fiery sparkling flecks of colored light), swarovski crystal connectors that look like vintage diamond settings, rock crystals, moonstones, agates, jet, vermeil, and precious metals. Then the palette for the perfume had to be chosen: it had to be sweet and sensuous with luscious fruits in the topnote and a gloriously rich drydown. So here goes: passionfruit and mandarin paired with cognac and sweet absinthe (right out of the Moulin Rouge) to open, a thoroughly French heart bouquet of orange blossom, cassie flower, rose de mai, sambac jasmine, ylang ylang and orris, to rest on a bed of caramel, benzoin, sandalwood, patchouli, tolu balsam, oakmoss, labdanum, vanilla and animalic civet. All the while I was considering Lautrec a fruity-floral-chypre, so popular during the Belle Epoque and before, it turned out to have a real gourmand character. I suppose the use of the caramel and vanilla with benzoin should have been a sign. I know I love it and so does “dedicatee”, MC. And I suspect that Toulouse-Lautrec himself wouldn’t be disappointed to have it as his namesake either.

Lautrec necklace no.3


**AD: Lautrec will be available on my website this weekend in perfume-extrait form in 5 ml antique bottles as well as the 4 other embellished Limited Edition bottles and necklaces. You should email me at dsh@dshperfumes.com to see photos of the Limited Edition bottles and necklaces.

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persephone
Spring has finally sprung! And I for one am thrilled. Not much has REALLY changed but something just clicks for me when its officially Spring. (The early onset of Daylight Savings Time doesn’t hurt the effect either). The thyme has become green again, new parsley is already up and the momma clary sage has babies sprouting in my garden. Plus, I’ve even seen buds on the apple tree and lilac bushes in my yard. I’m filled with inspiration and growing energy to take on all that I’ve planned for this year: sweet.

vert pour madame extract presentation
Which brings me to the very first launch of the new year: Vert pour Madame. I have actually been considering and even sketching this perfume for almost two years but in the past few month or so everything has come together just the way I wanted it. I have noticed the influences of the 1980’s in fashion and certainly the resurgence of interest in the classic (galbanum based) green chypre of the past few years and thought that it would be fun to examine, deconstruct and be influenced by the past to create something of my own but with some homages; some quotations. So, of course I looked at one of the quintessential green Chypre perfumes of the era, Chanel no.19, with its lovely use of galbanum juxtapose a classic rose / jasmine heart and leather in the drydown as well as a much more modern construction, Jil Sander 79 (very lily of the valley / galbanum/fresh citrus/ cedar), which I felt when I smelled it was a total throw back and reference to Jil Sander’s roots in the late ’70’s when she started releasing perfumes. Both have the elegance and sophistication (and womanliness?) that I associate with the green floral chypre genre. Ultimately, after sniffing around and thinking, I found myself at the doorstep of a revered classic among perfumistas: Deneuve. This long discontinued perfume was one of my best selling ‘reconstructions’ until some of the drydown notes I was using became unavailable and I had to discontinue my own version, too. It seemed a natural… to create my own retro style chypre with an echo of Deneuve. Perfect.

The fact that ‘Vert” is redolent of early Spring florals, a cool freshness in the topnote and a richly resinous woody base made it just right to coincide with the Vernal Equinox. One of the pivotal notes (but not necessarily an emphasis note) is hyacinth which, although synonymous with Spring, needs to be handled with care. It’s a wonderfully intense and complex sappy, honeyed green floral scent but if used unwisely can lead to headaches and people screaming while running from the room. I think it’s glorious but it’s not for the timid. I find it adds to the ‘powerhouse’ nature required to pay homage to an ’80’s quality scent but needs to be tempered. In comes a beautiful classic accord: delicate lily of the valley, softening white peach and warming orris fused with the king and queen of perfumery, rose and jasmine. I’m already fascinated at this point. Then comes the Sandalwood which harkens in all of those lovely dry woods, resins and moss. Oh, and there’s some animalics (musk and civet) in the mix as well. All I can say is that I’m so glad I waited until all the facets fused to create a perfume design that I find seamless. I’m happy it’s Spring and I have a new love in my life. (And she’s delicious).

*persephone image found at: http://studioconti.com/ram.html

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I think I can see now why I started this blog in the Summertime: by then I have placed the bricks on the path of the year clearly before me and I am filling it all in as best as I can. But the late Winter and Spring are usually so filled with the figuring out the framework and starting new projects that there is little time left over. {I truly don’t know how Andy (Tauer) does it… his dedication to his blogging project is formidable}. But as Spring comes into bloom there is much going on and creation is all around me; as well as the letting go of things. With the slow and methodical work of *EDITING*, which has never been my strong suit when it comes to my own work, I am finally poised to move ahead with the actual design and building of the new site. This means that we’re letting go of A LOT of older designs and products to make room for the new. **AD: This means that we will start our SPRING CLEANING SALE on March 20, the first official day of Spring. It’s going to be MASSIVE!
And along with the first blooms we will, tah dah!, be launching our first new perfumes for 2011.

robin nest from 2008. please come again: my house is your house


Hurrah Spring!! welcome welcome welcome! πŸ™‚

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earth observatory sunrise image
Looking at the blog for the first time in weeks (!) I can’t believe I’ve been away for so long. January 17 seems like last year already. Needless to say this year has jumped off to an intense start with lots of special projects and the mammoth undertaking of re-vamping our website (YAY!) and finally beginning construction on the room which will house our petite Perfume Museum (which will finally open this year). Yes: that’s a tall order. And as a part of preparing the new website, I’ve been on an extended *editing* of our offerings…making room for new products and perfumes because you know, Spring is right around the corner and with it comes the year’s first new launches. (AD*: Be expecting a big SPRING CLEANING SALE later this month starting on the 20th as we’re cleaning house at the Studio and the site!). There will be more about the new launches in upcoming posts.

I don’t know how everyone feels about the very earliest months of the year but I find that I need an extra dose of fortitude to get through them. Not only to do the work I’ve set out to do and recover from the insanity we call “the Holidays”, but to contend with the extended cold and dark. Now I finally feel like Persephone herself, coming up from the long passage underground: awakening again. I’m ready for the sun and for blossoming; within and without.

emil nolde poppies watercolor

I’m wishing everyone a lovely weekend~~~filled with beauty and new life.

*photo credits: nasa observatory and Emil Nolde’s Red Poppies

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