Perfume lovers can be split into two categories: those who layer and those who don't. Even among the first group, sometimes the idea of wearing together two (or more!) complex and statement-making perfumes can be regarded as both crazy, tasteless or being disrespectful to the perfumer and his vision. In the case of Serge Lutens, it's usually all of the above. But somehow, despite the fear of the Palais Royal and its wrath, there are quite a few of us that dare to experiment.
It might have begun for some by using a drop or two of Muscs Kublai Khan to add depth and raunchiness to some more innocent perfumes. It makes sense, after all, right? Then came other perfectly reasonable ideas- Un Bois Vanille in its sweet and creamy glory can lift up dry woods that some women find too masculine and add depth to citrus scents. I've been using one spray of UBV when wearing Annick Goutal's Eau d'Hadrien.
Next- Ambre Sultan. Adding an amber base to florals, especially roses, works beautifully. Just like Tom Ford's Amber Absolute that layers beautifully with his Noir de Noir, one can do the same with Ambre Sultan and Sa Majeste La Rose. And Clair de Musc is the perfect clean musk base that works with just about everything...
Once you start layering and realize that Uncle Serge isn't going to come after you and confiscate your bell jars it's hard to stop. Yes, for the most part Lutens perfumes are round, complex and full of their individual personalities. But there's something about them that allows these scents to coexist and play well together. There's a special magic and satisfaction when you find a pairing that works for you, so why not?
Here are some of my favorite combination:
Rousse+Louve+Clair de Musc (one spray each)
Un Bois Vanille+Fleurs d'Oranger
Fleurs de Citronnier+Clair de Musc
Santal Blanc+Nuit de Cellophane
Do you layer your perfumes? Please feel free to add your suggestions.
Photo of Serge Lutens: luxuryculture.com