Some time ago, I happened to spot in a perfume shop some Calèche soap bars together with their beautiful tortoiseshell box with the Hermès logo engraved. Of course these are treats they used to do till the '90s supplied with very elegant boxes aimed to make even more enjoyable the fragrance experience. Experience a fragrance, exactly. The launch of a new fragrance was the result of some years of work focusing of excellence and extreme luxury. Likewise chosing a perfume, one surrounded himself with this luxury rejoicing at the scented gesture more and more even in the simplest moves of the morning routine.Unfortunately nowadays we lost all of this because the turnover of pret-à-porter fragrances and the flankers following one another now doesn't allow such a refined approach and the few exceptions try hard to survive. What a pity!
Later I was thinking how soap bars, the solid ones used by our grannies have been replaced these days by liquid soaps ready to slide on our body leaving us clean in a while and it was like comparing slow food and fast food, above all in terms of time spent for themselves. That's why I miss soap, the slow moves using it, drenching it in water and lathering well and letting the fragrance expand all around.
Being at Marie Antoinette in Paris made me longing for soaps. If you've never been there, you can't miss it in your next scented raids. Marie Antoinette is a lovely gem set in the setting of one of the typical small ancient market squares in the Marais. Antonio, the owner is a refined person and passionate about perfumes and about his franco-portuguese roots. It's not by chance in his realm crowded with lots of amazing perfumes he keeps a magic corner that took me in (you can see a picture here aside). An old wooden sideboard where are shown dozens of Claus Porto soaps wrapped in their coloured liberty papers with the beautiful different ornaments according to the fragrance. He tells me he discovered this brand while he was looking for the cologne used by his paternal grandfather, a portuguese cologne. One day looking at the packaging of Musgo Real he realized it could be that one. Smelling it instantly racalled all his childhood memories so brigh that speaking about it still puts a smiles on his face. Claus Porto also crafts nice scented candles but what made them famous are soaps rich in vegetal oils and nourishing supplies scented with a range of fragrances going from the classic citrus colognes to the more modern ones like the one I couldn't resist to buy, sandalwood&pear.
I believe artistic perfumery has been running faster and faster in the last years and where some were launching a scent per year, now they are launching a whole line every year eventually. All of this aping the urge of commercial perfumery to try to exploit the boom of the business prevents customers to get to like a scent. This knoks the development of bath lines flat unlike it used to be in the commercial till twenty years ago. I wonder why to lose all of this magic in the name of money?
Fortunately there's a countertendency to revive the old habitudes like using the concretes (do you remember that lovely little perfumed creme jars our moms used to keep in their bags?) or again the revive of extraits de parfum with their elegant and ritual application in spite of the wildcat yankee-style spray. Here we go, I'd like everything to slow down in the niche getting back to times where the slowness of a creator in making a perfume was a value. Meanwhile we could delight ourselves with our beloved juices and their soaps, concretes, scented powders, everyday small treats to enjoy even more scents.