Beyond the Pale


Diaghilev: Art Deco Glamour, Bottled, for the V&A
September 29, 2010, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Art, Decadence, History, Perfume | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited to the stunning Haute Parfumerie in Harrods, in order to gape open-mouthed at the wonders it contains (it truly is a must visit destination for any fragrance lover) and also to sample some of their latest wares, for an article I was writing for Fragrantica magazine.

I can honestly say that my favourite new perfume, introduced to me that very day, was the deliciously refined warmth of Diaghilev. Although I reviewed the fragrance for the article, I thought I’d go into a bit more detail that the length of the piece allowed.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon and Orange
Heart Notes: Rose de Mai and Jasmine.
Base Notes: Oak Moss, Orris, Patchouli, Vanilla and Vetiver.

Now that Autumn [my favourite season, hurrah!] is here – and the wonderful Diaghilev exhibition at the V&A this perfume was created for is now open – Roja Dove’s Diaghilev fragrance really comes into its own: a golden fragrance inspired by the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes.

Diaghilev is limited edition Eau de Parfum and the magnificent result of a fruitful union between Roja Dove and the Victoria and Albert Museum, paying homage to that Golden Age of the Ballets Russe, and in particular its founder, Serge Diaghilev.

Diaghilev’s extraordinary company, which survived a twenty-year rollercoaster of phenomenal successes and crippling problems, revolutionised ballet. As importantly, Diaghilev’s use of avant-garde composers, such as Stravinsky and designers such as Bakst, Goncharova, Picasso and Matisse, made a major contribution to the introduction of Modernism.

Portrait of Serge Diaghilev with His Nanny, by Léon Bakst (1906)

Diaghilev’s dramatic performances transformed dance, reawakening interest in ballet across Europe and America. Celebrating the company’s key period of activity, this major exhibition reveals Diaghilev’s enduring  influence on 20th-century art, design and fashion and includes more than 300 objects including giant theatre cloths, original costumes, set designs, props and posters by artists and designers including Léon Bakst, Georges Braque and Natalia Goncharova. These tell the story of a company which began in the social and political upheaval of pre-Revolutionary Russia and went on to cause a sensation with exotic performances that had never been seen before.

Roja has always loved Art Deco and was very much inspired by this period in his creation of Diaghilev. He explains that “the movement captured the changing views of society. This Chypre scent I have created, I hope, reflects all the sentiments of this time.”

Roja Dove’s Diaghilev also manages to pay homage to the great Chypre perfumes created during this period, the years between 1909-1929. And yet this perfume is not in any way a mere history lesson. Just like the Haute Parfumerie itself, Diaghilev is a balance between great respect for the past, and lively, modern interpretations.

The perfume is exclusively available at Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrods, and the V&A shop (which you can also visit online, here).

“One of the pleasures of working with one of the world’s most prestigious brands is finding others who lead in their respective fields, with whom to collaborate. Having worked with the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Betty Jackson and Paul Smith, Roja Dove follows in that tradition.” – Jo Prosser, Managing Director, V&A Enterprises.

Once my piece on the Haute Parfumerie was published in Fragrantica, I received a really uplifting email from a member of the Roja Dove PR team, telling me how much Roja had enjoyed reading my article.

I was thrilled, of course but, imagine how loudly I squealed with joy when I opened a parcel a couple of days later, only to find a thick cream envelope, sealed with wax, inside, a lovely thank you note in flowing, purple script from Roja Dove himself, and my very own bottle of Diaghilev!

Excuse the awful picture, taken on my phone! How kind is that, though? It really made my day.

I do hope you get to try Diaghilev for yourselves, I’m pretty sure you’ll fall headlong for it, as I did: love at first sniff. 🙂 I am so hoping to go to the V&A exhibition, it sounds amazing, doesn’t it? My mother would be fascinated to visit it, too, as she used to dance with the Ballet Rambert.

I should tell you that I had ballet lessons when I was a little girl, but let’s just say that I didn’t exactly show a natural aptitude, and I still can’t dance to save my life. ;p

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I agree from the tester I tried of this I thought it was really excellent. I think it is such a good idea to commision a scent for the exhibition.

Roja writing to you is a very personal and classy touch.

What a beautiful suprise the parcel must have been

Comment by Rose

Oh thank you, Rose for your lovely comments on Twitter, too. 🙂 I was utterly thrilled with the parcel – I squealed for quite a while! It was a lovely touch, yes, and only made me think even more highly of the whole Roja Dove company – they were all such lovely people!

Comment by beyondthepaleblog

Nice Information. Thank You.

Comment by Info Imorestore




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