31 maggio 2010
A Perfume’s Lady: Maria Candida Gentile Maitre Parfumeur
Meeting Maria Candida was one of the most interesting things I did during Sniffa-Thon organized at Esxence exhibition, last March in Milan. It was my friend Stefania who insisted I met Maria Candida, and since she’s not giving into tantrums over nothing, when she sais "Come on, there's something worth a smell, here!" I trust her and go. She never fails.
one, “Exultat” into raw materials, to make us smell them and show how she put them together to obtain effects she was looking for. From Esxence on, I’ve been wearing all of them again and again: they get in slowly, but then remain for good.
I suppose the "easiest" to start with (even if this adjective doesn’t suit her fragrances at all) may be Sideris, or the Star, a soft, powdery scent based on woods (sandalwood plus the woody feeling of ciste labdanum), resin (benzoin), spices (saffron, pepper) and Turkish rose. A sophisticated, ethereal, comfortable scent, the perfect choice when you feel urged to dream of turquoise silk dresses with long trains, glittering tiaras in the hair and crystal slippers to lose at Midnight.
The other female, Cinabre is essentially dominated by a deeply red rose, a fleshy sensation enriched with the fruity smell of davana, with a magnificent background of benzoin, vanilla and opoponax. A soft, velvety sensation, opposite to that of Sideris: while the context there suggests innocence and tenderness, here everything speaks of red damask, with a ripe sensuality, formally compliant but with the fire of passion burning just below the surface.
These two fragrances suggest me the idea that Maria Candida feels a bit limited by the classic pyramidal composition top/heart/base notes, and feels the need to rework it in a more personal way, using only a few spices like ginger and black pepper as top notes, and entering immediately in the heart of the fragrance. Indeed, the feeling the perfume conveys after the spray is different: in the classic top/heart/base pyramid the fragrance is introduced by sparkling top notes that capture attention and retain it high until the heart notes get in, but when the top notes are partially or completely missing, the fragrance tends to appear almost "out of the blue", composed and ready. Once there, it starts morphing very, very slowly. A similar structure was typical of certain fragrances launched in the 80s: opulent, slow, long-living, and I think the trend is coming back today. I must say that I like it, but only as long as the author perfectly masters the other two times of the pyramid, namely the heart and the base. The fragrance must have time to perform all its fragrant journey, which must be well articulated and understandable, otherwise the result may be boring. But in this case persistence is satisfactory and fragrances make interesting olfactory journeys, so I'd call this an apt choice of style.