Perfumes for the Gauguin & Polynesia Exhibit at SAM
Art & Perfume
On Saturday, I went to Gauguin and Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise at the Seattle Art Museum. Being that it was Saturday, the exhibit was busy and crowded. It appears that the Saturday SAM crowd has great tastes in perfume. I smelled a few Odins, Malle Lipstick Rose and Serge Lutens Datura Noir. Our Barney’s must be busy. I’m happy that I’m not the only person that thinks about how a perfume should “work” with an exhibit. SAM needs to hire me as a scent curator because it looks like their crowd cares about that.
No photographs were allowed within this exhibit. But, let me tell you, the paintings were bright, tropical and filled with soft-porn nudes. The exhibit highlights Gauguin’s works while he lived in Polynesia. Polynesian sculptures and art are also within this exhibit.
Gauguin was obviously inspired by the smells of the islands. He worked on his project, Noa Noa, which means Fragrance. His memoirs often mention the smells. The paintings are filled with flowers, tropical plants, fruits and beautiful women. The colors are bold, bright resembling the colors of lush greens and luscious blossoms. Gauguin was conveying paradise through his paintings. My guess was that he wanted to make his French friends jealous.
Inspired by the exhibit, here is my list of perfumes that would work within the atmosphere of any of the Gauguin Polynesian pieces:
1. Kai Perfume Oil – This is one of those tropical gardenias that I can wear because of its greenness. The cucumber in it adds a “lightness” or a “sheerness”. It’s a simple scent that will remind you of a Tahitian paradise even if you have never been to Tahiti. The perfume oil retails for $48 at Beautyhabit.
2. Lucy B. Pink Frangipani EDP – This is a sweet floral with coconut and frangipani inspired by Oceania. It’s a good fragrance for the price. It retails for $28 at Beauty.com.
3. Prescriptives Calyx EDT – This fragrance is still wonderful after all those years. Calyx wears as fresh, fruity and green. It’s like foraging for fruits in a warm, tropical, abundant oasis. It’s almost like the Garden of Eden. This fragrance reminds me of the bold, acid green used in many of Gauguin’s paintings. The 1.7 oz spray retails for $52 and is available at Ulta.
4. Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise EDP – This fragrance is a lush, tropical paradise. It’s one of the best done “fantasy” scents ever in my opinion. It’s green with dewy blossoms over warm woods. It reminds me of the colorful, but more muted Gauguin paintings like “Riders on the Beach” above. The 1.7 oz retails for $57 at Ulta.
5. Yosh Ginger Ciao EDP – This is the scent that I wore to the exhibit and I think it was a great choice. The scent works with the tropical inspired paintings. There is something a little “primitive” or raw about this fragrance and that’s why I love it. Ginger Ciao is filled with heady white florals, a coconuty fig with greens. It smells voluptuous, daring and beautiful. The 1.7 oz retails for $110 at B-Glowing.
6. Annick Goutal Songes EDT – This is a creamy white floral with ylang-ylang, gardenia and jasmine sambac. The sun-kissed vanilla-sandalwood base is amazing. It’s such a warm, sensual fragrance. The 3.4 oz retails for $120 at Nordstrom.
8. Chantecaille Tiare EDP – This is a very well done green gardenia with enough creaminess to make it even more tropical. I call it the “honeymoon” scent since so many people smell it and say things like “This reminds me of my honeymoon in Fiji” and then I get jealous. My honeymoon was in New Orleans and the streets smelled of garbage and piss. The 2.6 oz retails for $175 at Nordstrom.
9. Ormonde Jayne Frangipani EDP – This is a gorgeous sunny floral with a tart opening and glistening heart. If this scent was a color, it’d be yellow and I think Gauguin would approve of that. The 1.7 oz EDP retails for $126 at Ormonde Jayne. Here’s my review.
10. By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses EDP – If white florals aren’t your thing but you want something Gauguin-esque, then try Liaisons Dangereuses. This is a jammy coconut fruitful with rose and vanilla. It’s amorous. The 1.7 oz retails for $225 at Luckyscent.
11. Serge Lutens Datura Noir EDP – Somebody was wearing this when I was there. And I was impressed. Datura Noir was a perfect choice for the exhibit. The fruity white florals over a soft, powdery coconut and tonka say “tropical sophistication”. The 1.7 oz EDP retails for $120 at Beautyhabit.
If you had to curate perfumes for a Gauguin + Polynesia exhibit, what would you include?
Paintings by Gauguin, “Woman with Flower” 1891, “Two Tahitian Women” 1899, “Riders on the Beach” 1902. All from Wikipedia. Post contains a few affiliate links.
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