When it was released in 2013, there were conflicting stories as to the inspiration behind La Fille de Berlin. I prefer to think its muse is German movie icon, Marlene Dietrich. She exuded a unique kind of feminine glamour through her often masculine style – an unexpected kind of beauty.
What I was expecting to encounter when I first got a sample of Le Fille de Berlin was something typically Lutenesque and challenging. I was totally unprepared for just how incredibly pretty it is. It was a happy discovery to find that “The Girl from Berlin” is a stunner of a violet-tinged rose.
As usual, the composition is by Lutens’ long-time collaborator Christopher Sheldrake and notes include rose, violet, pink pepper, black pepper and musk.
La Fille de Berlin introduces herself with a swift punch of pepper. The rose underneath is truly beautiful; an elegant bright red bloom, oozing its sweet, liqueur-like scent.
The high quality of the materials is obvious. I feel like I’m inhaling rose essential oil that’s heady and a touch green. Violet-scented cosmetic powder seems to dust the edges of the petals. The gauzy effect contrasts perfectly with the silken rose and imparts a vintage feel. Being a fan of retro cosmetic fragrances, I find this very appealing. Thankfully, I don’t get the metallic twang that some others report.
I experience La Fille de Berlin as sheer with moderate to low projection. It’s largely linear and mostly feels cool to me, with a warm sexy musk only rising up through the rosiness in the final hours. I find it fantastically tenacious, as if it’s staining my skin with its vivid red juice.
La Fille de Berlin may bore those Serge Lutens aficionados who are fans of his more usual, bold concoctions. However, I have trouble tolerating those even though I admire many. Call me a wimp, but I just end up feeling overwhelmed.
La Fille de Berlin on the other hand, helps me feel comfortable in my own skin. It possesses an inner strength and an outward delicacy. I enjoy how it manages to portray both these qualities in such an effortless way.
The aroma is gloriously female. For me, it represents a woman who knows her own worth. She is unapologetic about her femininity and has enough confidence in it to play a more masculine role when the mood takes her.
Like Dietrich, La Fille de Berlin embodies beauty that is not weak or lacking in intelligence – it can hold its own.
While it may not be as striking as some modern roses, these days I go for fragrances which are easy to wear as well as beguiling. It’s hard to find those that fit into both categories, but La Fille de Berlin does exactly that.
Do you like violet-rose fragrances? Have you tried La Fille de Berlin?