Guess what Posse! TOM just sent me this piece on JAR Ferme Tes Yeux and Ava Gardner. It’s been so long and he doesn’t have access to the Posse back area on his computer anymore. Yes, I’ll take that up with Patty, sure we can get him back on board. Would you all be as excited as me? I’m practically hyperventilating, Tom is one of a kind. I’ve spent a few amazing weeks with him on different LA visits and he always has the most interesting historical tit bits and scandalous gossip. You’ll have to search hard for a better companion. PLUS he bloody loves perfume.
Well kiddies, long time no post..
For those of you with long memories, I used to write fairly frequently for the Posse (on Fridays) and before that on PST. I am afraid that I sort of fell out of the habit, and with the pandemic I confess I sort of fell into a bit of ennui about the whole thing. I didn’t get Covid (thanks to the gods, paranoia, and vaccinations) but except where necessary closed myself off to new things and new people and just sort of put it all on hold.
Of course it helped that I have a decent sized perfume collection, and our local market delivers.
The other night on FacePlace a friend who is almost as obsessed with Actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood posted a photo of Ava Gardner. Not the Ava of the forties but the Ava of the late (ish?) fifties: The Ava who’d been through a bunch of bullfighters and a fair amount of booze. Still the hottest thing in heels, she is raw sex in raw silk.
She reminded me of JAR Ferme Tes Yeux.
JAR, to recap, is the star jeweler (as opposed to jeweler to the stars) Joel Arthur Rosenthal, who’s perfume creations are (were?) only available in his atelier in Paris and in a wildly luxe little cubby at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC. Years ago, the late lamented Non-Blonde (my scent twin) and I went there and this is where I first experienced them, and Ferme Tes Yeux was an instant favorite.
Gaia’s husband Ori had previously described it as “a wedding in hell”. Others had mentioned that there are decidedly animalic aspects to it that were, for them, nigh unto unpleasant. White flowers for me always seem to have a hint of rot to them, I found it fascinating. Like going to see the famous Corpse Flower at the Huntington Gardens in Pasadena. One of the times that it was in bloom. It famously is supposed to smell like rotted meat, and therefore was quite the tourist attraction. This was days after the high point of the flowers stinkitude, and while it did indeed smell on that hot San Marino afternoon, it wasn’t precisely rotten meat. It was like lilies and gardenia and tuberose that had managed to spoil; a wet, mossy decay.
It was also something that I thought if dialed down from 11 to say, 7, would almost be enjoyable.
Ferme Tes Yeux dialed it down to about 8. I loved it.
What does this have to do with the photo of Ava? There’s something in it’s unretouched glory that has that blasted-bud thing going on with it. She’s not an ingenue. She has knowledge in her eyes and experience written on her face. There’s something defiant in her stance. Her hair slightly tousled, the shoulder straps of her gown almost slipping off, her wrap tossed on a chair. You know she could beat you at chess or arm-wrestling if she felt like it. Her gaze almost challenges you: are you man enough for this? Well, are you?
Ferme Tes Yeux listed no notes, was wildly out of my price range (I bought decants from Surrender to Chance) and as far as I know isn’t sold anymore at least at Bergdorf Goodman. Gone, like the Barefoot Contessa herself.