While reading through the copy and watching the video for Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin, I felt an uneasiness. I couldn’t describe it but it made me feel uneasy, the video in particular. It seemed like some sort of rapist-y fantasy directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The copy, the esoteric video, the interviews with Lutens left me feeling uneasy in a way that a perfume has never done before. Regardless of interpretation, I think that most of us will agree that the backstory is dark, filled with despair*. The color of the perfume, the actual juice, is an aggressive shade of crimson.
Before I had tried the fragrance, I already had a strange emotional relationship with it. Half curiosity, half horror and of course, the usual anxiety that a self identifying killjoy harbors. When I first tried this perfume, I was shocked but not due to horror. It was a dainty, gorgeous violet-rose. Watery, flaccid in my mind, gentle and juvenile. It actually reminded me of a rose perfume oil from Jordan that I had as a child. I pushed it aside and decided to revisit it almost six months later. Keep in mind one of my favorites, Bas de Soie was one that grew on me with time.
This is a rose. La FIlle de Berlin opens with a rosy rose. It’s slightly fruity reminding me of raspberries and blackberries ripening in the little paper fruit cartons at the farmer’s market. And it’s garnished with cool, spring violets. It’s metallic yet luscious, ripe. Green cardamom and tea roses. Violet simple syrup and rose jam. It’s rather simple but delicious in the way that ripe berries are. The more perfumes I try, I realize that many of us have a tendency to equate complexity to quality. And this shouldn’t be the case. Simplicity takes talent. With time, this becomes a drier yet still tart rose with white pepper. The violet remains and reminds me of “satin violets”. It dries to a blend of rose and musk, more rose than musk.
After revisiting this one, I realized that a part of the shock that I felt with La Fille de Berlin was that it was such a “me” fragrance. A deja vu accord. Honestly, it creeps me out. I don’t expect for anyone else to feel this way but it has struck a chord with my memory, my experiences. I no longer view it as an aggressive shade of crimson but the shade of Rooh Afza. I hate that I want a bottle as I’m one that tries to outwit nostalgia. But, I realize that this fragrance, for me, isn’t what was but it’s where I’m at now. And I can’t deny that my past experiences were my escorts to the journey that I’m on today.
Notes listed include rose and pepper. Launched 2013. PERFUMER – Christopher Sheldrake
Give La Fille de Berlin a try if you like rose, or better yet, love rose. Try it if you like perfumes like Penhaligon’s Peoneve, Ramon Monegal L’eau de Rose, Diptyque Eau Rose, Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming, Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose and/or Sonoma Scent Studio Rose Musc. Rose is unisex.
Projection and longevity is average. It’s a great rose for warm weather.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – ROSE. An excellent rose. It’s not bright nor is it dark. It’s a stable, steady rose and for some reason this one has struck a chord with me. Do give it a try if you love rose.
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Kafkaesque – In-depth review. Strangely comforting that I wasn’t the only one that got the rape-y vibe from the backstory.