Fumes in the News: Perfume is a Ballerina's Perfect Partner


Ballerina Lauren Cuthbertson (above), one of the Royal Ballet's leading dancers, says in today's London Sunday Times Magazine (Apr 1, 2012) that she uses perfume to get into character for her demanding roles:

"There are other things I do, like giving each heroine I play their own perfume. When I played Manon, I wore Lanvin and Guerlain."

Cutherbertson's Manon: the courtesan who loves the high life and Guerlain.

"As Sylvia, I wore aftershave because she's a huntress, and strong."

"Can you smell my Old Spice, Toga Boy?"

"Now, as Alice [in Christopher Wheeldon's ballet Alice's Adventures in Wonderland], I wear Annick Goutal, because of its grass-and-rose scent."

I'm going to take a wild stab and guess that Lauren's referring to Rose Splendide, which is one of Goutal's lighter, fresher roses.

Check out the clip below for some of the flavor flav of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Coincidentally, I just saw it last Tuesday with Lauren doing her whole down-the-rabbit-hole-on-toe-shoes thing. I couldn't smell her from where I was sitting -- probably because at the time, I was performing my own perfume character study with a head-to-toe helping of Armani Privé Bois d'Encens.

The clip also features my dear friend Joby Talbot, the gifted composer who wrote the score for Alice. Joby just got married a couple of days ago, so it's champers all around!


Lauren Cuthbertson by Jason Bell Manon by Alastair Muir Sylvia by Tristram Kenton

23 comments:

  1. Ahhh...Lanvin...Guerlain.

    I put these on when my self-esteem tank is running a pretty close to empty. Like today.

    Funny how Mitsouko goes rather well with certain classic '80s sitcoms.

    Excuse me while I continue watching these in my cloud of woody mossiness...

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    1. Haha - never mind what a ballerina wears for "Swan Lake", DomPerrier wears Mitsouko watching "Golden Girls".

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    2. Actually, it was 'The Jeffersons'...

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    3. hahahahahaaaaa..."movin' on up," indeed!

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    4. Aw, I hope you feel better, Dom. : )

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  2. Hi Katie,

    Thanks for the post…I’ve been a big fan of yours since The Word!

    I’d love to know what you thought of Bd’E, being an Avignon girl yourself, no?

    It’s one of the very first perfumes I tried in an aimless spree in Selfridges last year when I was new to this craze, so it’s always been very special for me. Even after getting to know scores of other incenses since, nothing has the same austerity as Bd’E. It’s also such an intensely visual perfume…empty Italian churches with cold stone slabs on the floor…etc etc…and apparently all with only five notes, if I recall correctly…

    Anyway, can’t wait to meet you on 19th!

    Roland

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    1. Hi Roland - thanks for sticking around since the Word days. I can tell you I'm absolutely loving Bois d'Encens these days, after an unsure first go-around a few years back. (There's some discussion of it in some old Perfume Pen Pals installments.) I plan to do a review of it soon. I'm trying to figure out my position on it vis-à-vis Avignon.

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    2. The first difference that comes to my mind is that weird plastic waxiness that I also get in Buxton’s other stuff, and which I assumed was his attempt to stamp his incenses with a cerebral quality in line with Comme de Garcon’s clothes, (cf the plastic bag/Scotch tape of their most recent!).

      When I recently smelled burning incense in a cathedral, though, I realized that the waxy candle notes are actually there in the smoke in real life, as well as those faint lemony notes in Bd’E which I had also assumed to be artistic license from the perfumer.

      I have to admit that incenses are not top on my list at the moment after a bit of an overdose last year, but any excuse for retrying Bd’E is good news!

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    3. But Duchaufour did Avignon, not Buxton. Buxton's CdG incenses are 2 Man (which does have the waxy candle note) and Ouarzazate. I've not yet tried Avignon and Bois d'Encens side by side, but my recollection is that Avignon features vanilla, and BdE's deal features a lot of black pepper at the kick-off and is big on the cedar.

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    4. Aaaah...thanks for the correction!

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    5. And thanks for tricking me into figuring out my comparison of Avignon vs Bois d'Encens!

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  3. Katie
    While your in london, a ballet-themed perfume well worth seeking out in Harrods(even though the price is bonkers - £750 for 100ml) is the newly released Extrait of Roja Dove's Diaghilev.

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    1. I smelled the Diaghilev edp when it was launched in 2010 to time with the Ballet Russes exhibition at the V&A, and was surprised to find that Dove was offering a...ermm..."homage" to Mitsouko -- which was Diaghilev's favorite perfume.

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    2. Quite true. All RD'S creations are charming blasts from the past. I once read that Nijinsky used to hand out bottles of Apres L' Ondee to ballerinas of the ballet russes and that Diaghilev used to spray the theatre curtains with Mitsouko. Must have been one fantastic smelling spectacle.

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    3. "This evening's performance by les Ballet Russes is brought to you by Guerlain."

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    4. Carla Fracci is a big fumehead with her own brand.

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  4. Perfume + ballet = MY HEAVEN.

    God. Lauren's developed metatarsals in that first photo make me want to throw out my ballet shoes in disgust (but that's what I get for starting as an adult).

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    1. Lauren is quite astonishing. And she makes it look so easy.

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  5. Looks like the AG was Petit Cherie, as found on her twitter feed

    https://twitter.com/#!/LondonBallerina/status/184416281502552064

    and now I feel like a stalker ;p

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    1. That's not stalking, that's good reporting - something I should've bothered to do. Peachy-grassy Petit Cherie is the perfect match for the character of Alice, especially going by the Goutal site's description of it:
      "Daring, Irrestible, Sweet: A fruity-floral fragrance in which vanilla, peach, musk rose and freshly cut grass recall purity and boldness. Like a naive and determined woman-child who both stirs the senses and moves the heart."

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  6. What an absolutely wonderful ballet and musical score ! Gotta get out my Petite Cherie now...............

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