Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shu Uemura - Fleur de Terre

For a line so entirely based on artifice (feathered fake eyelashes, Shibuya-district-bright makeup, Mika Ninagawa's candied palette), a foray into 100% natural perfumery is warying. Fear not - all the perfumes in Shu Uemura's limited-edition 25th anniversary line are superbly strange - Fleur de Rose is cream soda glitter, a sweet lolita in a champagne glass; Fleur de Source is reminiscent of saunas, frosty pines, and Jack Frost on windowpanes; and then there's my flummoxing favourite, Fleur de Terre. When wet it smells of the brightest, ripest bergamot, and you wonder what sun-soaked Italian villa they drew inspiration from - then quickly the gilded door shuts, and it turns abruptly to baby powder on melted plastic skin. You smell like a lovely doll, lashes batting, clockwork movements - but there's blood and breath underneath it all. To me this perfume is weirdly brilliant because it captures the vulnerability of putting on a facade, it's strange and moving and diaphanous, translucent flesh.

IMPORTANT: As with many perfumes made for the Japanese market, Fleur de Terre is very subtle. Use a spray more than the usual.

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