By Reader Request: Serge Lutens - Beauty Addict

Friday, April 28, 2006

By Reader Request: Serge Lutens

"Elegance is all about defining oneself accurately at the right time." ~ Serge Lutens

Last year I discovered Serge Lutens' fragrances, and I have been collecting them ever since. Whether you love them all, hate them all, or just fall for a few, they are all beautifully composed and certainly worth sniffing. The interplay of different notes and the unexpected combinations are a beautiful example of the art of perfume - the ability to evoke a faraway place or time or memory, with just a whiff of scent.

Most* of the Serges have well defined top, middle, and base notes, so you can enjoy the way the fragrance develops on your skin over a few hours. On me, they also have great staying power. They don't come in intricately designed bottles** or fancy packaging; it's the juice inside that stands out. Now, here's the kicker:

Some of them (the Export range) you can get in the US; some of them (the Exclusive range) you can't. The latter are only available at the Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris, and they'll only ship them to destinations in Europe. I don't know about you, but the exclusivity kinda makes me want them more. But maybe that is just because I am a Beauty Addict and am sickly obsessed with not only makeup but perfume.

Onto the Export range! There are 18 of them, and every once in a while, one from the Exclusive range will hop over to the Exports. These are available at Barneys, certain Neiman Marcus, Aedes in New York, and Fred Segal, as well as a handful of other shops and online retailers. There's an excellent web page, "Serge Lutens - Nearly All the Facts," that has details on each fragrance in the Export and Exclusive ranges, including listings of the notes, and a more complete list of where to buy them.

I would list each fragrance and its notes here, but it would be quite the lengthy post! Visit the site above and you'll be able to see all the notes. Currently in my collection are Datura Noir, Daim Blond, Gris Clair, and Chergui. A La Nuit and Fleurs de Citronnier will be next.

If you want to give some of the Serges a test run, your best bet is to sniff them in-store, but you can also get samples and decants in various places, like eBay or the swap boards at MakeupAlley. If you're yearning for the Exclusives, you can send for a little book of solid perfume samples from the Salons in Paris; click here.

* The only exception I have noted so far is Gris Clair. It is lavender all the way through. Still love it though.

** Well, some of them do. The perfumes in the Exclusive Range are available in gorgeous "bell jar" bottles, which I admit are more exciting than the oblong bottles here in the US.