A mysterious perfume house run by a reclusive man, a fragrance inspired by Marilyn Monroe‘s minx-ishly tousled photo shoot alluringly wrapped in sheets and immortalized by Douglas Kirkland in 1961, composed by one of this century’s greatest perfumers – Dominique Ropion. The elements of intrigue are all there, and this latest launch by A Lab On Fire doesn’t disappoint. With a cheekily suggestive name like Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed, well, how could we resist a sniff…?
A Lab On Fire is a niche brand that delights in being shrouded in mystery, asking some of the most brilliant noses in the world to create the fragrances they have always dreamed of making, letting their imaginations and talents run wild. Founded by a chap called Carlos Kusubayashi, we are told he was born in São Paulo, Brazil, grew up in Japan, and now lives in Texas; that he’s variously worked in a car factory, as an apprentice to a ‘Master Kyoji’ in calligraphy, and contributed toward bringing Asian art to the Parisian art scene. But quite why he turned to perfume remains quite the mystery.
Clearly exploring his own creativity, though, he released an accompanying poem to evoke the spirit of Sexy Messy Just Rolled Out of Bed. How fitting to read it on National Poetry Day…
Simple, clean sunlight. Warmth from the sheets wrapped between my legs. Warmth from you lingers on my skin. I just rolled out of bed. The rest of the day, the night—what we can do together—depends on how the sun warms my body, how close I allow you to get, how we touch.
Kusubayashi adds ‘The pictures of Marilyn are the quintessence of being sexy, a way of entering into the intimacy of the great diva full of hopeful innocence. There is something magically vulnerable in these photos, the light, the atmosphere… And this is the initial inspiration which I asked the nose Dominique Ropion to capture in a bottle’.
And so how does this ‘morning after the night before’ scent unfold on the skin? The opening is a slowly unfurling blossom, an indulgently joyous yawn into the warm skin-like softness of rose petals and peach fuzz underpinned by smooth woods, milky musks and something suggesting the reason those sheets are rumpled…
It’s the olfactory embodiment of ‘I woke up like this’ déshabillé diva that looks effortless in a photo shoot, but in our experience is somewhat harder to attain! At least now we can keep this by the bed to spritz on some instant glamour…
Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed £90 for 60ml eau de parfum
Buy it at Avery Perfume Gallery
Written by Suzy Nightingale
An annual affair dedicted to showcasing artistic and artisinal fragrance houses to buyers, distributors and press from around the world, it’s always an eye (and nostril!) opening experience to visit glorious Florence and the Stazione Leopolda – an old train station repurposed as a huge and atmospheric conference and event venue.
Pitti Fragranze 2016 took place last weekend and marked the 14th successive year of the trade fair, with visitor and exhibitor numbers greater than ever, and we plunged into the seehing crowd with noses twitching to discover what was on offer this year…
We were thrilled to see many of our fragrance friends there, bumping into 4160 Tuesdays floral-bedecked founder and perfumer Sarah McCartney spritzing her Mystery of the Materials (scents with a story to tell) into teacups (how wonderfully British) for eager sniffers to discover, and causing much swooning by revealing the photograph of her much-admired helper Arthur McBain – an actor when not helping out at her Ealing studios, and currently starring as the model in her just-shot advertising photos. Sarah says customers have been known to write him fan-letters and apparently come over all peculiar when they receive a package with a note in from him. We couldn’t possibly comment…
Just around the corner, ‘fiercely independent’ Beaufort London were causing something of a buzz – appropriate given the honeycomb-themed decoration of the area – with their five uniquely maritime-inspired fragrances, including the latest launch, Fathom V – a fantastically other-worldly salty, ultra-green scent that puts us in mind of a Pre-Raphaelite Ophelia surrounded by flowers and giving herself up to the embrace of the icy depths…
In the same golden-hued area was dear friend to The Perfume Society, Andy Tauer, on great form as ever and here showing two new fragrances: Tuberose Flash (an iridescent and totally sparkling tuberose with zero screechiness) and the much-anticipated Au Coeur du Désert (think bestselling Air du Désert Marocain in extrait beauty!)
It was also a joy to bump into the lovely Atelier Des Ors founder and Artistic Director, Jean-Phillipe Clermont – you may recall we were rather excited when they launched in the UK – and sniff the exqusite new Iris Fauve – softly suede-y with a distinctly addictive edge.
We thought it was really interesting seeing a Japanese natural fragrance brand showing at the fair – Di Ser – not a culture historically known for their perfume brands, this one uses unsual oils and essences from around the world blended with fabulous quality native natural ingredients, thoughtfully composed and beautifully presented. Interesting, too, to learn that Japanese ladies have long scented their kimonos with delicate fragrances – as Middle Eastern cultures have wafted their robes with highly scented smoke…
Intertrade‘s room is always a must-visit, with their fingers on the perfume pulse of cool, edgy and just beautifully curated brands that carry genuinely interesting but always totally wearable fragrances, available at Avery Perfume Gallery. With the theme of ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner’ they laid a huge table with coloured glasses and ‘place settings’ for each fragrance house. There we saw, and sniffed, new launches – some standouts being Blood Concept‘s gender-bending David Bowie-inspired XX and XY, AGONIST‘s incredibly evocative (and intriguingly named!) White Lies (so-new the bottles weren’t ready yet, but we snapped their previously released, soothingly smoky Hope), and the ravishingly sexy A Lab on Fire‘s cheekily named Messy Sexy Just Rolled Out of Bed…
You see absolutely everyone at Pitti, no matter where you are – and we met the marvellous Barbara Herman – vintage perfume expert and author of the book Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Subversive Perfumes, in the cafe of all places! The perfect excuse for a quick sniffing session of Eris Parfums – a trio of frgrances Barbara worked with a perfumer to create, all based on interpretations of animalic ‘beasts’ (with huge glugs of beauty to balance). Irreverently opulent, glamorously modern with echoes of vintage va-va-voom. And we got a sneaky sniff of the 4th, equally show-stopping scent.
An real treat for cinephiles and fragrance fanatics alike was the private viewing of Perfume, a Certain Tradition – a film by Amsterdam-based Short Notes Portraits offering in-depth portraits of some of the greatest living perfumers – including infamously reclusive or seldom interviewed figures such as Pierre Bourdon, Michel Roudnitska, Frédéric Malle, Mark Buxton, uber perfume-collector George Stam (seriously jaw-dropping pieces!) and the iconically irreverent Serge Lutens… a roll-call of noses and creators that would intimidate many but which the Amsterdam-based company clearly relished the challenge of. A charming, witty and fascinating film, you can watch it on their website and we will be sure to keep you up to date with when the film is released on DVD – so watch this space.
With so much to see and smell, it’s really quite an overwhelming experience – and nigh on impossible to see absolutely everything – but though we were exhausted at the end, we managed to fit in a quit flit to Florence’s wonderful Sunday-morning vintage market. And – ever nosing around for interesting things – we came across a stall laden with vintage parfums, including the most humungous bottle of Lanvin‘s Arpege – sadly our of our pocket, but We Wear Perfume‘s Amanda Carr [NB watch out for the imminent issue of our magazine, The Scented Letter, featuring Amanda’s scent memories] snapped up the Bvlgari scented pencils.
Until next year, dear Firenze…
Written by Suzy Nightingale
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