I chose to set Serge Lutens against Frédéric Malle since both their houses are lead by charismatic men who work closely with perfumers to fulfill their fragrant visions. Both houses have a great variety of high quality perfumes that stand out from the crowd.
So who is your favorite? Are you a Malle fan or a Lutens groupie?
Whose perfumes grab you more? Which line dominates in your collection?
Remember: You MUST choose!
Okay, let’s do it!
Both of these lines have played a major role in my becoming a Perfumista. They were the first I explored and who drew me inexorably down the rabbit hole. My very first bottle of niche perfume came from Frédéric Malle – En Passant – my second was a Lutens – Chergui.
In the years since, I have had a pretty constant and smooth-going relationship with Malle. My favorites are the ravishing Carnal Flower and the amazing Iris Poudre. But I like many more, the only one I can’t still come to grips with is Un Fleur de Cassie and sadly Portrait of a Lady gives me a major headache (almost when I merely think of it) even though I find it extremely beautiful.
Serge Lutens and I on the other hand: now that has been a wild ride. It is either love or hate, but unfortunately never contentment. My opinions and my tolerance of his fragrances veer wildely back and forth between adoration and animosity. To my utter shame, I have to admit that I bought and sold bottles of his perfumes like a small department store. I loved it, I had to have it right this instant. I hated it, it had to go, and fast!
From a sizable chunk of his oeuvre I once had in my possession, only a few bottles have remained. One is Ambre Sultan, which is striclty speaking no longer mine, as my husband has adopted it and regularly wears it. I like it more on him than myself nowadays. Another is Jeux de Peau, where I enjoy the opening very much, but seldom wear it because it wears me out after a couple of hours. The one I wear most often is the one that started Lutens’s empire: Feminité du Bois.
So who do I choose?
It is pretty clear that Malle is my choice, since emotions don’t fly as high in either direction with his perfumes and it is better in the long run to stay with the good and dependable friend than the wild love affair, isn’t it? Great love and bottomless hate are wearying and tiring us out, contentment and safety are much more conductive to longterm happiness.
That might be true for more than just perfume…