The Wearing of the Green

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There can be no doubt of it: green scents are back – and leading the pack. Indeed, contrary to rumour, they never went away but merely sank back like fainting dryads into the groves and thickets, while more ostentatious fragrances filled the air. You don’t have to be synaesthesic to appreciate a green scent, a term I’m using here¤ to describe any perfume which exhales a sense of leafy freshness, tender buds, new grass, rainy air, country lanes: “…praise for the sweetness/ Of the wet garden”¤¤. The first cousins of the greens are the fougeres which are the evocation of ferny woodland, aromatic heath and moor. Kissing cousins are the city-dwelling chypres which owe their special magic to – amongst other things – the now controversial oak moss. But chypres have a far more sophisticated, knowing, glossy aura. Chypres are experienced; greens are naïve.

Or so the story goes, and therein lies the problem. Here’s the thing: the idea has got about that greens are without sex, and this has led in its turn to the vague notion that they are cold, uninspiring, dull, insipid. Nothing could be more misleading nor further from the truth. A green scent is in many ways the most magical of fragrances. Its lack of the animalic may reduce its obvious eroticism; but by the same token the omission, or at any rate the soft-pedalling, of those oils which so closely resemble our own DNA heighten the exquisite escapism and vivacity of this family.

For a green perfume transports us into a world of flowers and plants, the realm of the pastoral, the idyll of the fete champetre. To many people a green fragrance is what they really mean when they talk of a ‘natural’ perfume; a thing of air and fields, the morning smell of a well-stocked florists’ shop. A green scent eschews sultry sexual allure in favour of sprightly uplift, energy and confidence – none of these qualities being by any means unattractive. Health and efficiency, an upsurge of animal spirits and vitality rather than the earthy sensuality of the den or sett.

Green perfumes usually come to the fore in the aftermath of difficult times: those refreshing eaux de toilette and colognes popular after the Napoleonic Wars had distant but natural successors in the sea of green that lapped the West in the years immediately after World War II. Carven’s Ma Griffe, Vent Vert by Balmain, Green Water by Jacques Fath were all seminal and widely copied. It might possibly be claimed that Germaine Cellier’s iconic Bandit for Robert Piguet – a perverse verdigris leather launched in 1944 – actually started the trend but whereas Bandit was louche, perverse and kinky, the pure floral greens were wholesome, joyous and liberating to wear. And rich with symbolism, too: embodying a youthful crispness cleanliness and rebirth after six years of hell.

The new scents let in light and air after the dark claustrophobia of conflict: their themes were the spring wind blowing over fields of unripe corn, wild flowers and living waters. Today green fragrance is equally escapist, offering an idealised alternative experience in our bewildering, sterile, threatening and threatened world. The apparent naivety of a green fragrance fosters the illusion that it is somehow more honest and artisanal: an authentic link with a simpler pristine past. And there’s something in this. A really accomplished green scent – in much the same way as a hesperidic or a soliflore rose – is almost impossible to bluff or fake. Its luxurious simplicity demands the most cunning and resourceful of hands and noses.

Maybe there is another subconscious key to their appeal: that within the perception of apparently innocent green scents there is an alluring, even troubling ambiguity, a twist in the forked tail. Like all colours, the concept and use of green is packed with suggestion and implication. Mirth, health, growth, joy, abundance are all logically represented by the colour of spring and burgeoning vegetation. Liturgically, green is the colour of hope and resurrection. But there is a reverse side: the green-eyed monster, the witchy face, the colour that is said to be unlucky in apparel¤¤¤. Actors used never to wear it, despite their hanging about in the Green Room. Green clothes often end up on the sale racks – you notice, next time – and Harrods once had an informal policy of not stocking green ties. The Buyer told me, “we can’t shift them”. In the novel of Gone With The Wind, the ambivalent anti-heroine has green eyes and dresses almost exclusively in the shade. Wallis Simpson shamelessly presented herself at Buckingham Palace in green lame sashed with violet. Ancient art used green as the colour of the dead¤¤¤¤; the jade and emerald goddesses of ancient Mexico demanded sustenance of beating human hearts. All this adds a certain spice to what is by no means a bland colour nor a humdrum fragrance family. You have to watch your step with green – and what is more thrilling than a spice of danger?

I think you’ll find the choice of green this season energising, surprising and rewarding; so make a change for spring by choosing a new perfume and a new outlook. Let greens take you by surprise, boost your energies and broaden your horizons. Here’s 7 of the best from our sumptuous shelves:

ABSTRACTION RAISONNEE – tingling textured unripe passion fruit, mango and shocking pink rhubarb melding into soft leather. Sit up and smell me.

ANGELIQUES SOUS LA PLUIE –  a tempestuous spring day as March goes out like a lion: rainy breezes blowing over newly-turned earth.

EN PASSANT – pale and hypnotic creamy lilac buds, reflected back as cucumber green in the emerald waters of the Seine.

GERANIUM POUR MONSIEUR  – immaculately fresh as the dawn of creation. Pristine peppermint and the ineffable fragrance of spicy coral-streaked geranium leaves.

GREEN IRISH TWEED – the living legend. It’s all in the name!

JARDIN DU POETE – the umbrageous herb gardens of Sicily peeping out at the sun.

MEMOIRE DU FUTUR – a dazzling green floral bouquet fizzing with aldehydes and sophisticated seduction.

¤ “when I use a word…it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less” – Lewis Carroll

¤¤ Eleanor Farjeon

¤¤¤ green is not a primary colour: maybe this has given it a reputation for being ‘unnatural’? Just as early monkish scholars mistrusted the (green) apple that seemed to go against Nature and which had been the instrument of The Fall.

¤¤¤¤ see, for instance, the Egyptian depictions of the murdered god Osiris with his skin of eau de Nil.

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Hot Cross Buns

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Now, every weekend when I come home it is to find a pile of the week’s newspaper clippings laid on the table for me, sourced and filleted from The Times by my darling brother.  Last Friday night, my stack of print was topped by an interview with a florist. One of her triumphs was designing a 3-D funeral tribute for a fragrant lady: it took the form of a huge flowery bottle of Chanel No 5.¤ The week’s obituaries, too, were redolent: Cliff Michelmore’s childhood was spent at Cowes, favourite haunt of yachting Royalty and ” smelling of mothballs, cigars and expensive perfume” . A former student of Anita Brookner – Neil MacGregor no less – remembered her office being suffused with scent. Brookner fans have always appreciated how frequently, powerfully and variously perfume is described in her novels: used for pleasure, for refreshment¤¤; as a purge or as a malign weapon of the predatory. I often used to see Dr Brookner, endlessly walking around London; wary and remote as Garbo, usually wearing an immaculate navy reefer jacket and flats. Once, she looked through the window of Les Senteurs but alas! she entered not.

We approach Easter and our minds seem fit to burst with comings and goings. It’s an emotionally thrilling and consequently exhausting time. Winter, slowly this year, gives way to spring; the clocks go forward ¤¤¤; death is succeeded by rebirth. We are drained and refilled, as with a transplant of blood. The smells of Easter should billow forth with gusto and extravagance. The first ceremonial cutting of the grass (already done, with immense relief); the daffodils and hyacinths; the Festive baking and entertaining; the painting of the eggs; the lilies and incense in the churches; the greedy chocolates; and the fragrant embalming spices of the Tomb.

It is these last that we celebrate in a curious form; nowadays probably quite unconsciously so. For the “…mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound weight..” and the “sweet spices” brought by Nicodemus and by the Myrophorai to the Garden of Gethsemane are supposedly the inspiration for our modern hot cross buns. The sweet smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, the sugar and the fruits are the richly symbolic culinary descendants of the precious oils used in the ancient middle eastern cultures for the final anointing of the body for the tomb. You can smell another, more elaborate, interpretation of this heritage at Les Senteurs in ANUBIS, that Papillon masterpiece which celebrates the funerary rites of old Egypt and the mysteries of the Pharaonic tombs. For the Egyptians perfume was both a preservative and, more especially, a spell to revive the dead through the arts of Isis, mistress of fragrance and its concomitant necromantic magic.

AnubisSQUARE
Hot cross buns are one of the last accessible remnants of medieval folk religion. A thousand years ago spices and dried fruit were unimaginable delicacies, reserved for the banquets of Heaven and Earth. We all know the comical story of Queen Elizabeth refusing to be be fobbed off with five emeralds “the size of a man’s finger”, insisting rather that Francis Drake hand over his cargo of black pepper from the Indies. Today we can pick up six “luxury” fruit buns for under £1, but for some of us they still have something of the uncanny and the charmed about them.

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My grandmother (and, unconsciously or not, she was echoing Elizabeth Tudor’s legislation here) insisted that hot cross buns should be eaten only between Good Friday and Easter Monday. My mother was very dubious – scandalised indeed – about their appearance at other times of year. Much of this attitude and mystique has rubbed off on me. A bun baked on Good Friday is supposed never to go stale or decay; a piece broken from it will cure the sick or guarantee safe passage to a ship at sea. I have never yet put these attributions to the test, partially because I also grew up with the received idea that one may steam fish¤¤¤¤ on Good Friday with a clear conscience, but cook nothing else.

But the fragrant aroma of a sweet-scented hot cross bun, warming in the oven, is wonderful! No doubt its olfactory piquancy is enhanced by all  these guilty confused thoughts, conflicting emotions and memories of Easters long past. It is one of the quintessential Paschal smells, wafting up the stairs as early morning tea is brewed. Although, perversely, for myself hot cross buns, as they say of revenge, are a dish best served cold. The fruit, unheated, tastes juicier. But – as Lillian Gish used to say – judge for yourselves.

Wishing you all a very Happy and Radiant Easter!

¤ myself, I’d be glad of a flacon of Creed, when the time comes, wrought from fancy dyed green carnations and gardenias. An apt summation of my career.

¤¤ one exhausted heroine empties an entire bottle of scent into a scalding bath

¤¤¤ “Spring forward/Fall back”

¤¤¤¤ later elaborated to fish pie

Binary Iris

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It was perfume that first brought a touch of Luxury & Romance to chilly misty Northern Islands. Now there’s a thought! And that perfume, in its amphorae, stone jars and rough glass phials was in its turn brought over to Britain by Roman colonists at the end of a long sequence of travels from the Near East and southern Europe. Some say the Phoenicians, too, from Tyre and Sidon traded their spices, scented oils and purple murex dyes for the precious tin of what is now Cornwall.

If there’s one thing everyone loves and wonders at in fragrance, it is the way in which it tugs and pulls at the memory, stimulating it in leaps and bounds, and sending it haring off down forgotten alleys of the mind. And what can be more extraordinary than the way in which the same perfume ingredient, despite all the twists and turns of its processing and interpretation, is still basically yielding the same smell as it did on the skin of Poppaea Sabina, Augustus, Zenobia of Palmyra or Joseph of Arimathea.

Recently, a brand new scent fell to earth at Les Senteurs: I mentioned it very briefly two weeks ago. It has the glorious name of IRIS PALLADIUM. Put Tommy Steele, Judy Garland and the Tiller Girls out of your mind. The original Palladium was a small statue of Pallas Athene, the tutelary goddess of Troy. Athene the Grey-Eyed let fall her image  from Olympus and for so long as it was honoured in that Anatolian city, Troy was preserved. Odysseus stole the idol, his diabolical Wooden Horse rolled into the doomed city, and after many wanderings the Palladium was transferred to the keeping of the Vestals in the Roman Forum. The last of it was seen at Constantinople, back on the shores of Asia Minor.

The graceful iris and its use in perfumery is as least as old as the Palladium. Pallas Athene’s rival goddess, Hera the Queen of Heaven, employed the nymph Iris¤ as her messenger. Iris’s gauzy coloured mantle streaked across the skies leaving the arch of a rainbow.  The Divine Courier received the souls of dying heroes and carried messages into the Valley of Sleep and Dreams. The elegant plant which inherited the deity’s name exhibits and manifests all her beauty, as well as the blissful smell which always gives the game away if you have a demi-god or saint in your midst.

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Some people stubbornly and mistakenly say that the flower of the iris has no scent: “no! no! the fragrance is all in the root, the rhizome”. True enough it is the precious rhizomes which have always been dried, powdered and pounded into orris concreta for perfumes of exceptional quality. But stand by a single blooming blue or brown bearded iris – by no means the most pungent variety – on a warm May evening in an English back yard and then tell me there is no smell. The fragrance is almost liquid – silky & fluid – while at the same time it has the powderiness of orris: that intoxicating, slightly chalky, honeyed density and thickness. If you are lucky enough to have a whole border of these tough old plants you will stand in a paradise bower of piquant paradox. For I find that iris seem to love a dry bed of grit and cinders; and this despite our native yellow flags in streams and pools; or those ancient Egyptian prototypes amid which Moses’s basket floated. Irises are the most accommodating of plants: drought-resistant and just asking to be left alone to get on with it. But then, contrary wise, if you close your eyes amid the iris you might imagine that you were at the heart of the most costly and delicious perfume shop in the world, such is the natural redolence that billows out for a scant three weeks every spring. It must be a residual or unconscious belief in sympathetic magic that persuades parents to use ‘Iris’ as a given name, hoping that baby will inherit the plant’s eponymous charms. It is one of the most stylish of the late Victorian flower names and the Misses Adrian, Murdoch, Origo, Apfel and Tree have all done well by it.

Can IRIS PALLADIUM live up to all this and justify its stately name? Yes, and superbly so. I freely admit that although – or, more probably, BECAUSE – I’m dotty about the flower, I’m often dubious about the manufactured perfume. Iris scents often seem too intense, too sharp, too magenta in hue when they should be a diaphanous mauve. They can be too vegetal, almost culinary, overly damp and earthy. I adore IRIS POUDRE and NAIVIRIS but I perceive them as essentially orris fragrances. PALLADIUM is much more about the flower. You know my tastes by now: there is a fragility, a transience here that I love.  The scent has a heart-stopping quality, not sweetness exactly, but a palpitation of intensity at its core that drives me wild and sends me ferreting after the (impenetrable, so far) secret. A faint silvery mineral – almost sandy – accord, startling in the headnotes like a late frost on petals, warms into a powdered nectar haze.
The perfume’s ultimate resolution is forever receding and unattainable. The closer you come to unravelling its final enigma, the faster it drifts away, shifting and gliding, just beyond reach -so like the elusive and forever-fleet goddess with her rainbow trail.

¤ Iris was the daughter of Electra, a nymph of the clouds. Electra translates from Greek as  “amber” – another intriguing link with perfumery.

“I’ve Got a Little List!” : the empowered customer

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Do you take a list when you go shopping? Really you should, for  apparently we are all likely to spend  twice as much if we browse the packed aisles without an aide-memoire. I am never in the supermarket without a pen, notebook, a postcard or two and auxiliary scaps of paper to update me. This is not really to ensure economy. It’s because, unlike an elephant, I can’t remember. There is also something about any kind of list that stimulates and fascinates me. I collect other people’s memoranda, left behind in trollies, baskets or on the pavement. I love to ponder the curious shorthand priorities of strangers – “lettuce, tonic water, frozen peas”/ “whiskey, vodka, beer, pork pie, sausage roll, butter, cream, Mr Kipling…BREAD!”.  One of our local charity shops has had the brilliant idea of pinning a board with the papers found in donated books – almost invariably prayers or shopping lists. Or prayer lists. Library lists would be interesting but are not shown.

Lists are compelling because they cut straight to the heart of a matter; they are all meat and no pastry. They seem to convey something of the power of a clairvoyant or a preacher or a magician: gnomic utterances ‘en bref’, stripped of  padding or explanation. They can be startling revelations of inner preoccupations: so I’m not keen on strangers having a gander at my lists – as sometimes they will, over my shoulder, idling away time in the check out queue.

Lists may also take the form of recitals to contemplate, to relish, to inspire and comfort. I have only recently found out why a Bucket List is so named – it’s a charter of what you want to do before you kick said bucket.¤ Shopping lists are needed only to remind us of our more mundane requirements, not of our treats. You would hardly expect to read “perfume” scribbled down between ‘scouring pads’ and ‘quinoa’. Scent is more likely to appear on those gloating rosters that appear in Christmas gift books or decorate magazine columns: 12 Forgettable Fragrances, 50 Royals Who Went Mad, Your 100 Best Tunes.

However, when you are out and about – as the weather men say – you might like to jot down the following to remind you, not of WHAT to buy in the fragrance line, but WHY to buy it. For this is one of the questions I am most frequently asked: how shall I know I have the RIGHT one?

As ever – “By their fruits ye shall know them”.

And so: when you are smelling and musing in the relaxed haven of Les Senteurs, so different – o, so very different! – from the hurly-burly of the department stores, ask yourself the following:

Does this perfume excite me?

Yes, I like it – yes, I believe it suits me. But it must do more. It must have me awake at 5am, willing the clock on so that I can spring up to souse and douse myself in this heavenly scent. Perfume must draw you like the most powerful magnet; like a child to his favourite new toy – “may I take it to bed with me?”. You will know you’ve chosen the Right Scent if you just can’t leave it alone: like a lover with his new inamorata.

Does this scent elevate me?

Does it make me soar like a bird? The ideal perfume should have you taking wing like a bird of paradise, leaving the mundane far below, falling away and discarded like a sloughed skin. You’ll know when you light on the Right One because it will act like a talisman – changing everything and “painting the clouds with sunshine”. Life begins anew: or appears to, and who can do better than that?

Does the perfume intrigue me?

Is there an oddity in there, something that intrigues, mystifies, baffles? That’s good. You won’t get bored by it – you will be forever pursuing that final delicious enigma, and that in turn means that you won’t become onosmic. Your nose won’t lose the scent because your brain will be still trying to rationalise its components. Your perfume will be like a mesmerising lover or intoxicating mistress, forever witholding an essential elusive Something…….

Does it last?

And if not does that matter?
It may be Heaven if it is tenacious – like everlasting love – but if your preferred scent is transient that’s perhaps because it’s intended to be so. Life is all a bout the bitter-sweet joys of fleeting pleasures. Would we want a delicious meal, a concert or a movie to last for ever? Not unless there was something badly wrong. Fragrance conjures up a fragile mood, a passing emotion, an atmosphere: perfumers try to reflect this in the construction of their creations through ingredients, structure and concentration. If you love the scent, buy it. Don’t insist on its being glued on: just enjoy the luxurious ancient ritual of re-application.

And finally, will my significant others like it?

Try to ignore this consideration. If you love a scent and embrace it fully then others will love it too as part of your Gestalt and aura. The thing is, never to ask your Dear Friend: “do you like this? Does this perfume suit me?” This always predicts the answer ‘no’, as we used to be told in language classes. Your anxious tone will very likely put your partner on the defensive and prompt a discouraging reply. So say nothing: apply your new scent with quiet confidence. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Just now, as I finish this – very Jungian and extraordinary! –  I read of a new exhibition – Alice Instone’s THE PRAM IN THE HALL – opening @ 1 Cathedral St SE1 on 9 March! It all revolves around the ‘Things To Do’ lists of notable women. How great is that?!

¤ is the implied subconscious suggestion that if we faithfully fulfil the list we won’t need to kick the pail?

Keep Your Powder Dry!

“A bit of talcum
Is always walcum” – Ogden Nash.

Tins of Devon Violets, Damask Rose and English Lavender are the archetypal gifts for Mum and female family circle.  But now, and not for the first time, talc is in the dock over health concerns. Vast damages – $72 million! – have been awarded in Missouri against Johnson & Johnson. How poignant and strange that our dear old childhood friend and innocent lifetime companion, baby powder, should be besmirched. That symbol of cosy innocence, smelling faintly of orange blossom with distant reassuring echoes of eau de cologne, NARCISSE NOIR, and the firm but fair security of mummy, nanny & the monthly nurse: it’s too sad for words.

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I love silky talcum – not corn starch or rice powder – but it’s on borrowed time and not only because of medical reservations. Talc’s delightful and fatal impracticality is part of its charm. To use powder with the abandon and lavishness it is owed, one needs a readily wipeable bathroom – chrome, glass and tiles – and a maid on the payroll, for favour of constant mopping. No doubt the pace of modern living has contributed as least as much as health concerns to the decline of talc. Powdering takes time. Do you remember Vanessa Redgrave, years ago, playing Clementine Churchill on TV? She sat at her glass, leisurely, sensually and thoroughly powdering and patting her arms & shoulders preparatory to going downstairs to a Chartwell dinner. And at Downton Abbey, the insufferable Lady Mary used to powder her kid gloves, the easier to roll them on, in that notorious bedroom.¤

For thousands of years women – and men – have powdered their faces and bodies to sop up excess moisture and oil, and to present a flawless matte smoothness to the world. In the chronicle of fashion, powder is also inextricably involved with the story of false hair. The history of male pattern baldness in our present royal family is a fascinating one. Not less so is the tale of two abnormally hirsute monarchs who started a trend for men’s wigs. In the 1660’s two cousins sat on the thrones of England and France: both Charles II and Louis XIV had magnificent heads of black curling hair and it was probably a form of flattery that their male subjects of any consequence very abruptly took to shaving their own heads and wearing hot heavy wigs – a trend that lasted well over a century and which has still not quite died out in our modern law courts. By the 1700’s men were powdering their perukes with gold dust¤¤; blue or silver tinted orris; perfumed rice and pumice powder (available in violet, rose, neroli, ambergris, musk); even with flour. It was the use of the latter, with concomitant setting creams of bear grease and lard, that gave rise to those occasional head infestations of insects, mites and even baby mice. Or were those stories merely envious satires, put about by those who were unable to fork out the modern equivalent of around £5,000 for a decent wig ?

Circa 1750, A political cartoon entitled 'The English Lady in Paris, an Essay on Puffing by Louis le Grande', showing a seated old lady having her wig powdered by a nasty looking Frenchman.

Circa 1750, A political cartoon entitled ‘The English Lady in Paris, an Essay on Puffing by Louis le Grande’, showing a seated old lady having her wig powdered by a nasty looking Frenchman.

At any rate, the powder ritual may have begun as a sort of dry shampoo routine but it soon became a de rigueur accessory. Women followed suit. Marie Antoinette’s return from Varennes to Paris house arrest in 1791 is one of the great set pieces of the Revolution. Her women washed her hair clean of stale powder and the grime of the roads, only to discover that her blond cendre tresses had turned as white as snow in the course of three days.

To be sure, powdery scents are all about romance and nostalgia. Powder suggests not only the milky warmth of starchy soapy nursery security but also the childhood scented kisses of female friends and relations; their bags, their maquillage, their clothes. There may be a spicy snuffy-tobacco tang of dad too. And a memory of certain foods – rice pudding, custard creams, meringues, icing sugar ( “dredge generously”) – that whizzes you back through the Time Tunnel to sitting on someone’s knee in the warm crumby comfort of cake and caresses.
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So powdery scents can scatter and melt and segue into the gourmand tribe. People come to Les Senteurs from far and wide for Villoresi’s TEINT DE NEIGE – “the colour of snow”. Think of drifts of ice crystals in the opalescent glow of the Northern Lights – emerald, gold, carnation pink and mauve. And at a high window, behind glass, a professional beauty sits powdering her face, her cheeks painted by the reflected rosy stain of the snows, and her colour heightened by a dish of candied dragees.  More sexually ambiguous is POUDRE DE RIZ, the aura created by love and its illicit practitioners – a stifling evocation of  hair and warm lickable skin polished with coconut-tinged monoi oil, and nacreous with sheer rice powder. Compare it if you will with an authentic Edwardian fragrance, SHEM EL NESSIM. Here all is frou frou and susurration; an ivory miniature world of crepe de chine tea gowns, feather boas and endless drifts of embraceable iris. This last is perhaps the most sophisticated and, at the same time, the most innocent of our great powdery triad.

Divinities sitting slightly below this triptyque and exhibiting permutations of powder might include:

– the raspberry waxiness of LIPSTICK ROSE with its warm and lusciously generous cleavage

– the wanton confectionery/tobacconist boutique of DIVIN ENFANT

– the witty hot pepper powderiness of PIPER NIGRUM

– the sweet smoky gunpowder/ pistol-cap/ Christmas cracker trick that inflames LA FIN DU MONDE and HIMALAYA.

– the pancake stage makeup and black suede ankle-strap lavatory heels which seduce in PARFUM SACRE.

– and a new arrival on these shores, exclusive to Les Senteurs: IRIS PALLADIUM – ample, luxurious and paradoxical. Blue chiffon iris with a glittering mineral accord.

Lest anyone should be inclined to consider powdery perfume a mere frivolity, let him think on. What is powder but the very stuff of Time itself? All things – ourselves included – come from dust and ashes and return into them. And here thoughts arise of the immortal Ashes of Roses – an evocative and profound name! A three minute sermon in itself.
¤ talc is excellent for removing oil and grease stains from fabric, too. Keep the soiled item well away from water. Coat the stain in a good thick layer of talcum and leave for as long as possible – at least 24 hours – for the powder to absorb the grease. Brush off. Repeat as necessary. Be patient: you will be nearly always be assured of total success. I have seen pale blue silk and new white linen perfectly restored.

¤¤ a charming extravagance briefly revived by such exotics as Marlene Dietrich and Tallulah Bankhead in the early 1930’s.