By Gigi Anders
If the woman in your life loves flowers and travel, she’ll *really* love the Arquiste Florals Gift Travel Set ($70). The refined fragrance house specializes in modernly romantic yet historically evocative and feminine fragrances like this gorgeous, complexly layered quartet of European botanic and floral extracts. Each perfume’s identity is dreamlike, exquisite, and royal, like the Velasquez painting, Las Meninas, a masterpiece. Or like the opening of Joni Mitchell’s song, The Dawntreader:
Peridots and periwinkle blue medallions
Gilded galleons spilled across the ocean floor
Treasure somewhere in the sea and he will find where
Never mind their questions there's no answer for
The roll of the harbor wake
The songs that the rigging makes
The taste of the spray he takes
And he learns to give
He aches and he learns to live
He stakes all his silver
On a promise to be free
Mermaids live in colonies
All his sea dreams come to me
June 1660, Isle of Pheasants, Basque region, on the Spanish-French border. Maria Teresa, the Infanta of Spain, is offered to Louis XIV in exchange for peace between the two nations. Innocently perfumed with orange flower water, her powdery complexion blushes as the gallant King lays his eyes on her for the first time. She opens her scented fan and steals a look back.
May 1899, Foyer of the Opéra-Comique, Paris. During the Opera’s intermission, a group of seven young men gather at the Grand Foyer in search of new flirtations. Women of all sorts are lured in by the crisp, green scent of the men’s gardenia boutonnieres, enlivened with the bergamot and lavender colognes they wear. As they draw closer, the “Opera Flower” exudes its elegant masculinity, the last breath of a bloom sacrificed on a black-tie lapel.
Lavender, bergamot, Italian mandarin, gardenia jasminoides/gardenia citriodora duo, Genet absolute, vetiver, oakmoss.
On the most fragrant festival in the Aztec calendar, the rhythm of drums palpitates as a wealth of flowers is offered on temple altars. Billowing clouds of Copal act as a backdrop to the intoxicating breath of tuberose, magnolia, plumeria and the intensely yellow aroma of the sacred marigold.
Mexican tuberose, magnolia, plumeria, marigold.
June 1660, Isle of Pheasants, Basque region, on the French-Spanish border. To ensure peace between them, two Royal Courts converge at a richly-appointed pavilion built of freshly cut pine and cedar wood. From the French side, in a golden aura of iris, rose and jasmine, emerges a young Louis XIV, all starched and composed, eager to catch a glimpse of his new bride, the Infanta Maria Teresa.
Orange blossom, Florentine orris, jasmine, cedar wood.