Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tableau de Parfums- Miriam (and a giveaway)


Those of us who sniff obsessively and/or write about perfume are always seeking a background story and a cultural context for the perfumes we review. We make connections and associations, look inside us for what the scent makes us feel, hoping to be transported and transformed in the process. To borrow a phrase from Tim Gunn, we're looking for a "soul stirrer". Let's just say we rarely find it at Macy's.

Andy Tauer of Tauer Perfumes and filmmaker Brian Pera, two indie artists, collaborated on a soul-stirring project. It's a ten year collaboration (!) of film and perfume: a new line of fragrances, Tableau de Parfums, and the series Woman's Picture, an ongoing collection of short films that inspire these scents. The Tableau fragrances are packaged with the films and accompanying novelettes inspired by the principal characters of the series:

Miriam, the first fragrance of the Tableau de Parfums line, reaches back in time. It is a fragrance inspired by the first episodic short of Woman’s Picture, featuring Ann Magnuson in the title role, which gives life to a character in the middle of a storm of memories and an uncertain future. The Woman's Picture series and Tableau de Parfums focus on perfume and memories: To celebrate the launch of the projects, Brian Pera conducted filmed interviews with women involving their childhood memories of the perfumes their mothers and grandmothers wore.


You see, it's all there: heartbreak, memories and a mother-daughter connection amplified by perfume. Such perfumes have a certain nostalgic character. They're decidedly perfumy, with every intention to be smelled and noticed. Miriam by Andy Tauer is exactly that. The aldehydic floral opening is unmistakable "vintage". You don't get to smell such things unless your collection includes gems of yore that have retained their potency like vintage Arpege or Chanel No. 5. But Miriam, despite that beautiful and almost familiar rose-violet-jasmine veil does not imitate the past. As a matter of fact, even while evoking the elegance of the past, fans and followers of Tauer's work will be able to identify his thumbprint.

In an interview with Elena of Perfume Shrine, Andy Tauer says:
My challenge was to come up with a fragrance that is born in the forties of the last century, but created today: How to find an aesthetic language that bridges this gap! How to create a fragrance that conserves this vintage spirit but fits with Miriam who lives today. I hope I managed. Miriam is definitely vintage, or rather vintage-like.

It's quite interesting, actually, to smell Tauer's recognizable ambergris accord behind and around the various facets of Miriam. Petal pink that draws you closer with its soft smile; a crisp but almost sweet green that speaks of neat dresser drawers that hold mysterious feminine accessories; a compassionate warmth of a woody embrace. It's all there, as well as an elegant powder puff that was left on top of the vanity.

My own mother wears bold white flowers with an enviable flair. She avoids anything aldehydic, as those were the signature perfumes of her mother whom I never got to meet. Maybe that's why I find it so easy to wear Miriam and make it my own. It's both a luxurious and a very sexy perfume that sits beautifully on my skin for very long hours (the entire day, actually). Once the initial assertive sillage disappears, I'm left with a just-above-the-skin sweet woody and creamy perfume. To me, Miriam is a very feminine fragrance: pearls, girdle and silk stockings. Of course, it is just as seductive in jeans and boots, maybe even more so, as it hints on some delicious and hidden secrets.

As part of the blogging project, Brian Pera has conducted a series of interviews with women about their childhood memories of the perfumes their mothers and grandmothers wore. I'm proud to present you with a very special video, an interview with a beloved perfume blogger, Pat of Olfactorama:


"Couldn't afford it, but I bought it anyway": Pat from brian pera on Vimeo.

Notes for Miriam: bergamot, sweet orange, geranium, violet blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang, violet leaf, lavender, vanilla, orris root, sandalwood

Now, for the giveaway:
Brian Pera and Andy Tauer have provided five lucky winners with samples beautifully packed with a DVD. In order to participate, leave a comment on this post and tell us either about a scent memory, a beloved long lost perfume or a special scent that, like Pat, you "couldn't afford it, but bought it anyway" because it meant that much to you.
Sadly, I have to limit this giveaway to US resident. Our post office has become more impossible than ever, to the point that the last package I tried to send overseas was returned to me a couple of days later.
You will get an additional entry to the draw by tweeting or retweeting this post, just make sure to copy me @the_non_blonde on the tweet so I can add it to my list. The draw will be open for exactly one week, until  Tuesday, October 4th at 11:59PM (Eastern time).


Miriam EDP will launch in early October in Los Angels at Scentbar/Luckyscent. It will also be available for purchase on Evelyn Avenue. I don't have pricing information yet. The sample for this review was provided by Andy Tauer and Brian Pera. Also, don't forget to visit Perfume Posse next week for the last part of this exciting project (and another giveaway).

Images:
A 1950s photograph of Barbara Goalen by John French and a 1946 hosiery ad, both from myvintagevogue.com.

43 comments:

  1. It's really been ages since I've last worn perfume, I feel like everything is pumped out with no real depth or thought. However, my last memory is of Hanae Mori's butterfly which my mom gave me to me because she liked it on my skin better. It reminds me of this *tiny* town out in the middle of nowhereville, South Dakota, where I was somehow convinced to go to a wedding of someone I didn't know at all...anyway it really takes me to a very odd, but kind of dreamy place when I smell it.

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  2. This is a rather silly fragrance memory, but I fell in love with scent NOT from dousing myself in a grandmother's Opium or coming across a bottle of vintage shalimar in an antique store...but from the kansas city renaissance festival. In grade school the renaissance festival (dressing up as knights! Huge turkey legs! Beating your friends with wooden swords!) was the highlight of the year, and the best part was going to the 'Ye Olde Perfumyree' (Or some other cliched spelling) and getting little vials of essential oil fragrances for five bucks a pop. Every year I had to get a tiny bottle of a scent called 'Moonshine' which smelt remarkably like Lolita Lempicka. I still have a little pouch soaked with the stuff that I sniff sometimes when feeling down. Ridiculous but that's how it happened!

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  3. I just wanted to say I love the interview with Pat! :)

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  4. Although my mother owned Youth Dew and Tatiana, she rarely wore it so I don't have scent memories of her. However, I really enjoy the vintage aldehydes like Arpege and No. 5 and love to wear them to get that 60's vibe. I'm really interested to experience Andy's take on it.

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  5. My first perfume love affair was the Rive Gauche on my mother's tray. I snuck a spray every day! Others I liked Shalimar, Jicky, Emeraude, Muguet, but the Rive Gauche haunted me. She loved perfume and was determined her daughters would love it too. Holiday gifts always included scents. And no dimestore stuff either. My sister and I got a full size bottle of Opium for Christmas and I couldn't have been twelve years old. We were far from wealthy so this was a big deal.
    This shows me how important perfume and we were to her. (she died the year I was 14.

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  6. Thank you Ines (and Gaia!) It's beyond strange, for me anyway, looking at myself on the web. Yaaaahhh....onward -- adding 2 cents to the post office thing. I finally found one, down by my studio, that doesn't interrogate the hapless sender about what's in packages headed to international destinations. But it seems to be more and more common, which is unfortunate and, imo, silly.

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  7. My scent memory is a recent one. I was casually going through the fragrance samples from an Ulta mailer, and I opened the Jennifer Aniston one. When I smelled it, I was immediately taken back to my childhood with my grandmother. The scent of that fragrance was a combination of a scented soap that she used to put in a chest with her quilts and the scent of a perfume that she used. I sent my sister a message to smell her sample, and she immediately thought of my grandmother too. The marketing department for Jennifer Aniston probably wasn't going for the "it smells like your grandmother" angle, but I bought a bottle because it does!

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  8. I had ordered some samples from TPC, and one of them was Miss Dior. The second I smelled it, there was my Aunt Nettie, my godmother, who passed away in the late 80's. She must have worn it, and she was the most elegant, stylish, kind and wonderful woman and I miss her. Now I know all I have to do is sniff Miss Dior and I will have wonderful memories...plus I LOVE it

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  9. I don't know if it counts as a scent memory, but I always remember my grandmother's enormous care with her bottle of Fleurs de Rocaille, and the minimal amounts she put on... the problem is that I don't remember how it smelled!

    As to "I can't afford it..." Well, yes, of course. Arsene Lupin Dandy was the latest one, but the most memorable was when, after many attempts to find it on Ebay and other places, I walked into a Saks that actually had Derby on sale.

    "You have Derby?"

    "Yes, and..."

    "No need to say anything else, you've made a sale."

    And yes, it is that good.

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  10. Sadly, I don't have a lot of fond memories of my mother and can't even rememeber what she wore, although I do remember sneaking something from time to time. My most recent memory was the feeling I got the first time I tried Musc Ravageur. It was like a slap across the face and I asked, "where have you been all my life?" I couldn't stop smelling myself all day and in to the evening. This is the first scent that really moved me and I'm 56! We'll see what my 3yr old grandson says though. One time I had something on and he said, "Granma, you stink! You need to take a shower." That one was quickly gifted to another family member.

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  11. Lovely interview with Olfacta!

    First off, I'll admit that I am more excited about Miriam, the fragrance, than about any other new release this year. Uncle Serge's Wilde-influenced concoctions? Pinkified Shalimar? Cartier Rodent Kiss? Even Andy's own Zeta? Pfffffff. Not interested.

    But Miriam? WANT. WANT NOW. If I don't manage to win a sample, I have already lined up funds to buy one as soon as humanly possible.

    I'll share a brief, early memory of perfume: my mother wore Chanel No. 5 eau de cologne. She wore it for dressing-up occasions; she'd come in and kiss me goodnight, smelling like a cloud of heaven. I could not understand how the klieg-light/instant-headache sniff direct from the bottle could turn into soft warmth on her skin, and I figured it was just more of her mama-magic that she could make it beautiful the way she could make cakes and kiss boo-boos better and sew me a pretty dress out of blue dotted Swiss fabric.

    In fact, some part of me *still* thinks that.

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  12. Mine has to be Chanel chance, it was just a perfume that was very me so I bought it even though I couldn't afford it.

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  13. Whenever I smell Versace Red Jeans, I am transported to my two best friends' dorm room our junior year of high school. It was our cozy respite from the teenage drama.

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  14. I have a very distinct scent connection with the perfume Joy. It was something my grandmother wore regularly and in my mind it will forever be associated with her. She was infinitely stylish, and above all of that the kindest person I've ever met. I can remember helping to sort through her things after she passed and amongst finding a closet full of Ferragamo shoes, mountains of hat boxes, and custom designed dresses we came across a drawer full of white gloves of all different lengths each one with that vague waft of Joy on it. To this day, some of my favorite posessions were items that belonged to her, and I get the most compliments on these vintage one of a kind handbags or scarves. Every so often a soft, faded whiff of Joy off of one of these items will make me feel like she is still with me.

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  15. I don't have any specific perfume memories. My grandmothers nor my mother ever wore perfume. I guess such luxury items were not a part of their everyday culture nor style. I am very similar I guess, since I don't have a large perfume bottle collection; I only buy when I can afford it and if the perfume I want is available or can be found.
    Maybe this is why I am so fascinated about this project. Even though I have an incomplete picture of my mother/grandmothers in terms of perfume memories, I am very interested in the broader exploration of the women in this series

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  16. I had a close female friend who always wore Bal a Versailles. I love the scent but it makes me feel sad; we are no longer friends and I haven't seen her in several years.

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  17. Loved the interview with Pat..really looking forward to Miriam.

    the first scent I ever fell in love with was probably hypnotic poison. I was a teenager and my uncle had bought us a set of mini Diors. I thought they smelled unlike the perfumey perfumes around me. I used to wear a drop of HP alongside a dab of Dune. Loved it. I have since fallen out of love with HP though..

    Oh and I retweeted the post.(twitter id : mayybeme)

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  18. My scent memory is of a lost scent, Shiseido's Murasaki It was my mother's signature scent, and when it was discontinued she stopped wearing fragrance at all. About five years ago, she was diagnosed with cancer, and I became obsessed with tracking down another bottle for here. Found a vintage bottle on ebay, overpaid to get it, and also found out that they still made it for the Japanese market, so bought a new japanese bottle as well. Unfortunately, the new bottle is a reformulation, but at least she still has the vintage one.

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  19. My fondest scent memory was of my mother wearing Sortilege

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  20. My fondest scent memory was of my Mother wearing Sortilege

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  21. All of my favorite Italian grandmothers--except my own, oddly--wore Chanel No. 5. It smells like playing dress-up to me, childhoods spent in closets putting on real furs, high heels, clip-on earrings, and makeup from heavy compacts. (These women were middle-aged, but elegant and mysterious in their own ways, with interesting accents and a life "before" me that I could feel when they talked about Italy or NYC, where they were from.) I wear Eau Premier during the day, but I break out No. 5 when I want to feel ladylike.

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  22. Wonderful video interview with Pat! One memory of buying a perfume I couldn't afford stands out in my memory. I was in grad school, poor as could be, and down about something. Even though I wasn't really that into perfume at the time, I remember thinking that what I really wanted was a bottle of perfume, and I went into Nordstrom and bought something. I don't even remember what it was, but I remember that craving for something that smelled good.

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  23. My early perfume memory would be my grandmother's beautiful perfume bottle that was kept in her expansive master bath. It was an old school 'blue' bathroom of the 50-60s- and no shower, just a luxurious, huge porcelain tub that one could completely spread out into. I believe her perfume was No. 22. I am so kicking myself that I didn't ask about/try to find that perfume bottle when she passed away 5 years ago. :(

    I also have fond memories of scratch and sniff Avon catalog perfumes!

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  24. my scent memory is more of environment, going to the beach as a kid--sea, beach tar, sand and living near a bakery with the smell of bread baking early in the am

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  25. I was given 3 empty mini-crown bottles from Wind Song, Beloved, and Golden Autumn from my grandmother`s friend when I was age 5 - and still have them!! :-)

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  26. Andy is certainly the fellow of the hour these days, and his participation in collaborations like these are great for him, but great for the industry as well.

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  27. The only fragrance that my mother and I agree on and can wear equally well is (the original) Zen. It holds a very special place in my heart as it was also the favorite of my late, paternal grandmother. It's a beautiful golden thread that continues to bind us together.

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  28. Thank you for the article - I enjoy very much reading about other people's perfumed memories.
    My grandmother wore Climat by Lancome for years and this perfume became my first perfume love and holds that place in my heart still. I own and wear it from time to time with a great pleasure.
    My mother used to have three Dior's perfumes - Diorella, Miss Dior and Dior-Dior. First two I still love, own and wear. The third one was my least favorite of all of them and since it had been discontinued I haven't had a chance (or desire, to that matter) to try it as an adult.

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  29. Wow its weird .I can't really think back far enough as to personalize a scent from my mother.However this may sound corny but...my favorite memory of a scent actually comes from a guy..I was in my highschool days and he happened to be my neighbor, his scent was hypnotizing almost.I never asked him the name of it but whenever I would smell it , it would bring me to a good place.... ...He eventually moved away..but every now and then ..I would catch glimpses of it when I was out..I use to secretly think he was with me in spirit lol..It wasn't till I got to college that I was actually able to match up that scent to the cologne Curve (original)..I am forver in love with that scent.

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  30. My grandmother wore Chanel #5 --- she was an elegant and graceful southern woman and spoke of this scent as though it were the nectar of the gods. She was of the time that a woman was never properly dressed until she dabbed a dot behind her ear and one of her inner wrist. It was her signature scent and a whiff of it, caught in a store or a restaurant, instantly evokes a warm memory of her and the values she embodied.

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  31. I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/rusthawk/status/119281273012359168

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  32. My mother always wore Arpege when I was young. She moved on to other fragrances but when she was 80 I found an old bottle ans she was very happy to have it again. She will be 98 in November and I hope I can find another vintage bottle. I think Miriam will give us that vintage scent with a modern twist so I hope I win this draw. Thanks for the opportunity.

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  33. My scent memory still lives and it's with Chanel No. 5. I bought a small bottle of the perfume when I was 20 years old. Every time I dabbed on a few drops, it always gave me such a feeling of joy. Although the fragrance has changed somewhat through the years, I still get that same feeling just by taking off the cap of No. 5 and smelling it. For an instant I am 20 years old again.

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  34. My Mom was not a regular perfume wearer, but I remember a gift from her of Muguet de Bois when I was 12 or 13.....that was what started my love affair with scent. Lily of the valley were her favorites, so it all the more connects me with her. Thanks for the draw and the chance to try this new creation.

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  35. One of my fondest scent memories is of my grandmother, who was a lovely person in every way possible,and her Emeraude. When I went to stay her, and after my parents had left, I would make a bee-line for her vanity and open the pretty green bottle and dab it on myself just as I saw her do it. I miss her very much, and I miss her Emeraude.

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  36. When I was a small child, my mother wore First by Van Cleef and Arpels. She stopped wearing it after her bottle was finished about 15 or 16 years ago. A couple of years back, I saw it at the NM counter and spritzed some on the blotter. Wow, talk about the memory of scent! Immediately, I was taken back to my childhood, and had vivid imaginations of the apartment we lived at, what the flooring and furniture looked like, what it smelled like. Mind you, mom wore it everyday, regardless of occasion, so it's the smell of her. It's such a comforting scent to me even to this day, and I keep a bottle in my perfume cave, but I rarely put it to general use. I have to be in the right mood to wear it.

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  37. The last time I wore a perfume that has special memories for me was in my teens. It was Flambeau by Faberge. I have been following Andy now for a while and hope to try a few of his creations. Mirium sound wonderful! I had received it from my parents for christmas and it was my first memory of a perfume that was warm and festive. Perfumes create memories! It is like buying that special black dress that looks perfect on you! :)
    Carole N. - PA

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  38. Correction from first post: I received Flambeau from parents and not Miriam. I would be thrilled to win a creation by Andy. Miriam is a wonderful name! The notes divine! Well, I read my initial post and it jumped the sentance. New laptop here. Key sensitive and not use to this. LOL ... Just wanted to clarify that Miriam was not received from parents. Also, I really enjoy your video talking about your memories of parfums That you Mother used and you enjoy!
    Carole N.

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  39. My earliest perfume memory was my grandmother in Chanel # 5.
    sunnyleigh20@hotmail.com

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  40. My mother has worn Carolina Herrera for years. I see that she has a large bottle of it but she never seems to wear it anymore. If I ever smell it, I think of her immediately. When I was a teenager, I wore the original Chloe. I loved that perfume. The new Chloe just cannot compare.

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  41. One of my childhood scent memories is of my mother wearing Chanel No. 5 - I think she wore it whenever she felt "down" and it cheered her up. She also had a tiny bottle of Joy that she saved for "special occasions".... sadly, I don't remember ever smelling that.

    I am...
    ltrittipoe(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  42. Most of my scent memories tend to be nature's fragrances; however, White Shoulders always reminds me of my grandmother. She had a drawer of hats and gloves that I used to dress up in and that fragrance really brings back warm and fuzzy memories.

    Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

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  43. Tweeted
    http://twitter.com/#!/hofken/status/120992875176669184

    Cynthia.Richardson@azbar.org

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