Karl Lagerfeld Fleur de Pecher (Peach Blossom) & His Gray Period (2017) {Perfume Review & Musings}


Karl Lagerfeld Parfums has turned to a new approach as far as the label's perfume designing is concerned: the ingredients-first approach. Enter Fleur de Pêcher and Bois de Vétiver. It is a noticeable shift, which attracts your attention, but is not necessarily accompanied by the feeling that there is genuine passion about the new endeavor. Lagerfeld is not really moving heaven and earth to advertize his new fragrances. Your suspicion is that it's probably the idea of the marketing team at Inter Parfums more than his own invested self which is getting expressed in perfume form...

Smelling Fleur de Pêcher is recognizing however a style, his own: the current predilection of Lagerfeld for "gray" perfumes. We have been reviewing and smelling several of his perfumes made in collaboration with Inter Parfums and we can only come to the conclusion that Lagerfeld is fascinated by the color gray in perfumery. His Gray Period casts a veil of foggy melancholy over all of his scents. You seem to smell his gray powdered hair in all of his perfumes. It is an aesthetic of muted-down tones, even when you're supposed to think of apricot-colored, pastel petals. There is a love of the drab, which is expressed in olfactive language with good doses of laundry-detergent musks, which is like a long melopea of gray-colored curb winding down the perfume composition. Fleur de Pêcher smells perhaps more like Berlin, and we mean East Berlin during the Communist era, than a tree in bloom in the springtime. There is a total refusal of pretty, appealing colors. These are peach blossoms made out of concrete dust. There is a sense of the tiredness of colors.

I am reminded of an early experience of visiting an exhbition on Japanese art at Musée Guimet, which presented such washed-out, drab, unattractive colors that as a child I had to ask why the colors were so opposed to the idea of looking like (real) colors, rich in pigments? Why were they choosing such turn-off colors? The answer my mother gave me then was that it was done on purpose and that it was a research in a sophisticated level of perception of color. Colorful would have been far too obvious. The colors needed for the artist to look "unpleasant" and wan, almost like non-colors, as the expression of a refined aesthetic sense.

To me, Karl Lagerfelf Fleur de Pêcher smells like those paintings which I looked at in puzzlement in my childhood. It's about privileging an unexciting, austere, extremely low-key palette of introvert colors, knowingly and sincerely - the latter you can tell because it is recurrent. Looking at Lagerfeld's drawings with Shu Uemura makeup pigments, you can tell again that, visually, gray is predominant in his palette. Paris is gray too; He once used a cute creative expression calling it "tout grisouille."

So, expect to smell a study in grays rather than one in peachy tones. It's more essentially Karl Lagerfeld this way.

Next, a review of Bois de Vétiver.

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