I always wonder why the term ‘diva’ has gotten such a bad rap – maybe it always has come with that faint tinge of Puritan disapproval and I just didn’t notice it (and it wouldn’t be the first time). But I like the word diva. Its Latin origin means ‘goddess’ and if you think about true divas (Jessye Norman, Joan Sutherland come to mind), what it conjures is a massive, almost mystical Presence to match their incredible vocal gifts…..
…which is why I am stunned! that Roja Dove chose to name his new fragrance Diaghilev and create it to mark the Victoria & Albert Ballets Russes exhibit. This perfume which I fell into, courtesy of WAFT by Carol, is so incredibly, lushly velvet-chypre-y,creamy, swoony-swoopy, (pant!pant!).….my darlings, I just don’t know how to describe it. If divas = difficult this perfume might qualify. But the difficulty will be yours. I defy you to wear this without incurring a Repetitive Motion Injury. My shoulder still hurts from the 243 times I lifted my wrist to my nose in one hour alone!
Sergei D. might’ve worn it – by all accounts the impressario was an Imperious Presence – but I doubt any of his ballerinas would’ve. Not even his prima ballerina. It’s just a bit too hefty for a ballerina….
Oh! Wait. I’m an idiot. Roja Dove is a genius. And he’s right. He created this in honor of an early 20th Century ballet company. Think everything Diaghilev represented, iron will, outsized ego, Mitsouko-scented curtains. Think Olga Spessivtseva, considered one of the greatest classical dancers of all time. A prima ballerina. Presence. I see her, emerging from her bath, wrapped in a silk kimono…powdering her shoulders whilst her maid lays out her gown for dinner with a fabulously wealthy admirer….her dressing room filled to the brim with luscious deep pink roses and her chaise longue covered in a cashmere throw, vintage Bollinger on her dressing table, spraying this with abandon….. Sergei and Olga, mirror satellites of fabulousness, each needing the other to achieve the zeniths of their talents..
Shut up about the ballerinas already and get to the perfume! Sorry. I got carried away with the Bolly and the chaise longue. You all …..wow. Okay. (deep breath here)… You all know how much I adore vintage Mitsouko, right? And you know I heart current Femme with its sexy sweat…..and Coty Chypre is one of my all-time vintage loves. Well…imagine that those three are romping in a bed dressed in woven silk sheets and there is a LOT of 1990 Krug (with its yeasty magnificence)…and a big silver bucket of chilled shrimp with Thousand Island dressing (I’m serious) and a flourless chocolate cake with a warm vanilla crème anglaise….and you have Diaghilev. Carol and I agree that it is not a ‘modern’ scent at all – this is evocative of the great 50s-60s versions of Coty Chypre. Like M. Dove I smell Mitsouko (Carol disagrees – for her more coherent review see here ) but the smoothness of vintage EDP, not the current (pre-reformulation) with its gasoline punch. Roja Dove studied at Guerlain and you can smell the Guerlain influence in Diaghilev – the vanilla that defines Shalimar is evident in the springy roundness of this scent, which stops just one sugar sprinkle short of crème brulee ( my favorite crèmes brulees incorporate 3 distinct things that flow together: the bite of carmelized (nearly carbonized) sugar, the sweet followthrough of that sugar and the salty tang of the crème). Everything about this perfume translates, for me, into ‘mouthfeel’. Carol uses the term ‘mouthwatering’….and she’s absolutely right. If I didn’t already adore her, I would hate her guts. Her evocative review caused a lemming so intense it made my gums ache! So I schemed and scrabbed and am now anxiously awaiting my leetle bit of it. And I am willing to share a small sample with one incredibly lucky commenter. Drop a line here letting me know which perfume most conjures up ‘mouthfeel’ for you and I’ll get Pickle to pull a winner. I doubt this rambling, screechifyin’ post has spawned any lemmings but just in case, you can purchase Diaghilev here . Two caveats: it has one of those scary bulb atomizers and currently it only ships to the UK. But everybody knows somebody (or knows somebody who knows somebody) who lives/works/visits London – if you are a chypre-lover this one is an absolute ‘must-try’ for you.
Notes (which I stole from Carol’s post – please do read it (way better than mine) there’s also a link to a Roja Dove interview…he’s delightfully over the top and I think I am in love! I carry my own blanket, too!)
top -bergamot, lemon and orange
heart – rose de mai , jasmine
base – oak moss, orris, patchouli, vanilla and vetiver
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