I was just sitting down to write this post, when I heard the sad news that David Bowie had passed away.
Despite it being a chock, it might not have hindered my writing had it not been because ever since I first sniffed the final version of Purple Reign back in December, the song accompanying me upon wearing it, has been curiously not the classic Prince song but David Bowie’s Suffragette City. And so it became a different task altogether, more melancholic and slower than I could have anticipated. Suffragette City is from Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album.
”Oh don’t lean on me man, ’cause you can’t afford the ticket
I’m back in Suffragette City
Oh don’t lean on me man
‘Cause you ain’t got time to check it
You know my Suffragette City”
The suffragettes, which are in the title of the song, even if what the song is actually about seems to be still up for discussion, would make the colours green, white and violet their own, the first letter of each colour making up the same letters as those of the slogan; Give Women Vote. To begin it was a secret language; women would wear jewellery in these colours, ranging from the more affordable enamel jewellery to the stones emerald, diamonds/ pearls and amethyst to signal their stand point to other like-minded.
Purple Reign is about purple flowers, but to me it feels also very emerald-green and even has a pearl like lustre, reminding me of Suffragette jewellery. It also feels to me like the most ‘natural’ smelling perfume yet from the hand of perfumer Tanja Bochnig, which I feel like stating here as a guide for how to understand my description below. Obviously a natural powderiness is not like that of powder bomb Teint de Neige, and the faint lilac is nothing like the photo-realistic but also screechy flower created in a lab. The palette here seems to embrace the natural materials, removing itself from the ideals of non-natural perfumery entering into its own natural habitat.
The purple in the opening is like the scent of ‘ploppy’ unseeded sweet grapes. Later on it is purple like tiny glimpses of amethyst through the fragrance, a jasmine dressed up as a lilac sniffed in the distance. A tiny bit of powder, like dry ice lighted up purple at a concert, more than actually sweet.
The green of the violet leaf together with the natural osmanthus gives the perfume a sort of muted emerald haze experience, like walking on fluffy clouds in a green dream. Not green as in acidic, fresh or grass-like, it also doesn’t smell of moss, yet has some of the quality of touching moss on a spring day.
Pearls like dewdrops and a feel that the fragrance has lustre between the layers of natural ingredients, each adding their additional hue in the Reign of Purple.
Notes: Natural Lilac tincture, Violets, Lavender ,Osmanthus petals, Jasmine flowers, Orris Root, Opoponax.
Perhaps due to its focus on heart notes Purple Reign changes with its surroundings, on some it will turn sweeter, powdery, on some greener perhaps floral.
I’m thinking how someone wrote about David Bowie that he had been compared to a Chameleon, but he didn’t change with his surroundings rather the surroundings changed with him.
Purple Reign is unisex as when David Bowie takes on Ziggy, The Thin White Duke or any of his other androgynous disguises, not least the (much maligned) Jareth the Goblin King in Labyrinth, and it is as this reincarnation of Goethe’s Erlkönig, with heartfelt lyrics, that he croons:
“It’s only forever, not long at all…”
Pictures are mine, collages made by me with various photos.