Thursday, 15 May 2014

5 Rare Guerlains in 5 Days (Series 3) - Day IV: Candide Effluve

Hindsight is an incredible thing. When we study the rich Guerlain timeline here in 2014, we are able to contrast and compare, to draw parallels and recognise patterns which, at another time, might not have appeared as conspicuous. For a house with more than 700 perfumes to their credit - each one a single daub of paint on a vast canvas - we glean a greater understanding of the artwork when we view it from afar.
Just as Sorcery of Scent has looked at post-wartime perfume models in my article earlier this week, today's perfume,  Candide Effluve (Innocent Emination) - a Jacques Guerlain creation of 1922 - is another telling creation from the Guerlain archive. Candide Effluve places a marker precisely between  two distinct periods... the Art Nouveau era (1880 - ca. 1916), and the Art Deco age (ca. 1924-1940).

In aesthetic terms, what we know about the Art Nouveau movement is its somewhat bohemian inclination towards organic lines and natural forms. Art Deco on the other hand, celebrated lavish ornamentation and bold geometric shapes. Compare, for example, the flacon 'bouchon cœur' created originally for L'Heure Bleue (1912) with it's curved heart-shaped stopper and gently spiralling shoulders; to the iconic 'flacon tabatière' produced to house Liu (1929) whose square-shouldered black glass form is resolutely Art Deco in style. Candide Effluve, presented in the smoky Baccarat 'brun fume' flacon seems to sit somewhere in between... its shape suggestive of a piece of fruit or the human form, but with hard, faceted edges.
Of course, not only does it's appearance straddle the line between the two design philosophies, but the perfume it holds does too.

Candide Effluve retains a good measure of pre-war conservatism... a little of that wistful poetry á la L'Heure Bleue. Jacques Guerlain has re-used a number of components common to his Belle Epoque / Art Nouveau creations (not least heliotrope, violet, iris and rose which feature heavily in his earlier compositions), but has also managed to give his new creation a sense of Art Deco opulence and optimism.

A sunny and spirited flight of lilac and violet feels fresh, vibrant and youthful, but underneath, the heliotrope seems to tether it to a more mature space. Lily-of-the-valley and jasmine lend a bright, distinctly feminine feel, however a spreading cloud of patchouli and benzoin bring it back to ground again. Perhaps one of the more prominent components is ylang-ylang - it feels spicy, lavish and luxurious... a flash of gold in the shadows. It cavorts and beckons over a delectable vanilla / ambery trail.

Candide Effluve is a scent that shows some restraint, and I can't help but imagine a young girl born to very conservative parents who has just come of age and is dying to throw on her flapper dress and go out dancing. It feels like a perfume that darts between cautious maturity and reckless juvenescence. It might have been Jacques Guerlain's intention to have this perfume appeal to women of any age... those with one foot planted in yesterday, or one foot planted in tomorrow. Whatever the truth, it takes a clear snapshot of its time; an important transitional period when philosophies and ideologies were being refashioned.

Tomorrow's review: Chypre de Paris (1909)

1 comment:

Parfum en Scène said...

The bottle is amazingly beautiful ! very fan of perfume bottles