Le Smoking

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The other day, a friend mentioned the word “amaranthine.” It’s one of my favorites because it evokes both a gorgeous color (deeply purple-red) and sensibility (eternal, everlasting). Despite the adjectival use, it evokes, for me, the irony of deeply contrastive post-war times: the stark, grim, and ludicrous indulgence that positions citizens against victors, the sufferers against the gluttons. In particular, I kept thinking about Berlin after WWI.

My focus on amaranthine developed into “le smoking”, or in this case a deep red velvet blazer against a pale shell-pink silk blouse and black tuxedo trousers. I keep swishing this palette around my mind, steeping my thoughts in them. Perfect for a post-WWI chanteuse in Berlin, the mash-up of desolate beauty and ruined glamour. I sought a perfume that embodied this sense, but Gucci’s Gracious Tuberose is about as close as I could get. The lacy rosy provides the gilding, but there needs to be a bit more leather or musk to make it right. Green edges provide the structure, reminiscent of the extremes of poverty and pride.

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