I showed my husband the bottle of Like This, Etat Libre d'Orange newest perfume, and told him it was created by collaboration with Tilda Swinton. Apparently he's seen and smelled enough, including from ELdO, so he didn't even blink. His only question was: How weird did they make it?
Maybe the oddest thing about Like This is that it is not weird at all. It's just very very good.
Tilda Swinton, she of the immense talent, intriguing personality, fascinating personal life (she lives openly with two men) and no eye lashes might be the last person you'd associate with the idea of a celebrity perfume. Then again, the previous celeb scent fro Etat Libre d'Orange was created with the equally wonderful Rossy de Palma, so you know we're not in Lindsay Lohan's universe here.
Ms. Swinton's idea of an ideal scent was "Place and state of my mind...Certainly state of ease. ...The experience of the reliable recognizable after the exotic adventure: the regular, the natural, turn of the seasons, simplicity and softness". Her inspiration came from this poem by Rumi:
"how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
...If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
Isn't this beautiful?
Like This was officially launched in March but it's not exactly a traditional spring/summer scent. The "turn of the seasons" element is much more fall-like, especially considering the pumpkin accord and the rest of the pie-like elements. Like This is a pretty much a gourmand scent, and one of the most interesting perfumes in this overdone genre I've come across in a long long time. It opens up with ginger. Fresh, biting, grated right from the root ginger. It can be a very difficult note to get right (Bulgari Blu comes to mind. I thought it was a disaster), especially that bracing freshness. Here, though, the ginger smells real and natural.
What comes next is also straight out of the kitchen. From the round and satisfying pumpkin to the honeyed, maple-like richness of the immortelle, my skin smells warm and edible. This is the place to mention that on the husband there's much less sweetness. His skin brings out more of the other notes- a dirty, musky vetiver that he finds to be walking the line between fascinating and disturbing (I think it's incredibly sexy). He was sure there was tobacco somewhere in the mix, and I know what he means, but it was probably the very dry vetiver playing tricks.
It might not be the very first thing you think about in connection to Tilda Swinton. This is not as mysterious or enigmatic as she appears from the outside, but I loved how she didn't seem to care about her usual image and chose to go with elements that comfort and delight her. You get to see there's a real person there, a woman who has memories and desires. And, apparently, some of them are about pumpkin.
Several studies suggest that men find the smell of pumpkin pie has something to do with male arousal. I've witnessed a grown men reduced to a blubbering mess when I served him my homemade pumpkin pie. Well, it was a really good pie (gingerbread crust, real pumpkin that I roasted in the oven, caramelized pumpkin seeds on top and served with freshly made barely sweetened whipped cream). Does the new Etat Libre d'Orage perfume work the same way? Maybe. It definitely makes one get close to sniff and take it all in.
Like This is an EDP with an incredible staying power and quite a bit of sillage. It takes a long and hot shower to remove it even after 24 hours. I enjoy the way it opens up in the heat. Some might prefer it in cooler weather, though.
Like This by Etat Libre d'Orange ($99, 50ml) is available from Henri Bendel (they accept phone orders). Luckyscent will have it in stock later this month. I received a bottle from Bendel.
Images: etatlibredorange.com, tildaswinton.net