Lavande Legato Cologne (Soivohle)

As a gallery curator, I constantly seek to interact with artists whose work is intensely, inescapably personal. The immutable stamp of their life experience, their confusion and joy, everything they believe is true or reject as false-- all this must be present, like a pulse beneath the surface. This is the artist's point of view, and I believe it takes precedence over even the most superior technical finesse. All sorts of tricks go into cultivating a recognizable visual style; many artists I've met are incredibly proud of their gimmicks. But if the result is just another beachscape or bowl of fruit, my eye perceives it as all for nought-- a picture without a story, a memoir devoid of memory, a diary in which the author has been careful to talk about everything under the sun but herself.

Still, for students of art young and old, the practice of reproducing masterpieces has long been an accepted (and even recommended) exercise. One can take tutoring from the greats-- studying their use of proportion, shadow and light, experiencing the interplay of pigment and brush that led to such profound harmony. Committing your own soul to the canvas will come later and is much, much harder to do. For now, peering through the eyes of a master readies you to have a vision of your own.

Liz Zorn certainly has a vision; her work fairly vibrates with point of view. Wear a Soivohle fragrance, and you will feel the risks she has taken to invest it with her own nonpareil soul. But she is not so proud or solitary that she doesn't return to the classics. Lavande Legato is her equivalent of a reproduction artwork-- a copy of a well-known work, made for fun as a way to flex her creative muscles.

The inspiration here is a classic fougère, one of the most oft-reproduced accords in perfume history. Lavender, oakmoss, citrus, herbs: the basic ingredients are all here, with a Grey Flannel-ish violet and an Eau Sauvage-ish basil woven into the recipe and a low-key soapy vanilla-spice accord for a finish. I find Lavande Legato maybe just the tiniest bit metallic, but bright and cheerful nonetheless. Zorn has turned in a very nice, spare hommage to a genre not often represented in her portfolio.

Of course, I will always like her daring, exhilarating originals best. But every artist is guaranteed the right to experiment with the tools of those who have gone before-- and in Lavande Legato, we see the perfumer at play.

Scent Elements: Lavender, basil, petitgrain, hesperides, spices, sweet bay, violets, tea, patchouli, oakmoss