Its opening is soapy, effortlessly evocative of large soft hands washed with the most luxurious, ivory bar of soap. Cool, soothing and silky, these are the hands I wish to have holding my face when I need comfort. Even though the scent is clean and asexual at this stage, my mind’s eye interprets this as a paternal, caring touch. And even though the soft, clean smell of soap is so emphatic that I have trouble seeing it change to anything else, it is surprisingly ephemeral. Suddenly, not progressively, Ivoire intensifies, shedding its innocent purity. Like a chrysalis, it goes about its metamorphosis - from quiet simplicity to the complex beauty of an adult butterfly. It becomes free-spirited, fleeting and romantic at the same time: A young adult venturing into her first real love affair, still finding true commitment unthinkable. The purity and chastity of the soap now serves as a backdrop to the spicy green, intense interest of the labdanum. And as time passes by, we enter a world of florals, almost all soapiness passed by. A coming of age. Seduction is no longer clumsy, but deliberate, using all nature has to offer. Carnation holds court on a bed of assorted blooms, a scepter of black peppercorns in hand. The naturally redolent ylang-ylang plays a quieter, supporting role to its queen of choice, lovingly caressing the carnation’s dainty toes with its aromatic, golden tendrils. Muguet enhances the beauty of both with its truthful elegance. This time the change is more gradual. The florals are muted slowly, one by one, until only the memory of the carnation survives. It is strange that this, the last stage Ivoire enters is also its most intense. Unlike its inflorescence, it has refused to become muted. Instead, it grows in spirit, becoming the most beautiful mixture of earthiness, resin and moss. The moss is magnified, announcing like a Diva that this whole production was there for her to play the starring role. And this outrageous claim is actually not that hard to believe, gorgeous and glorious as she is. This drydown stage is very reminiscent of Ava Serena Franco’s own Moss fragrance, which I also love, by the way. And what has become of the emergent chrysalis, entering adulthood? She has learned how to seduce, but has she learned how to love with fervor? Perhaps she has indeed, but we will never know. Ivoire is not giving away the ending to that story, just a glimpse of a stage in her life. It is tantalizing, yet still aloof. It lacks the musk or leather that would make it a sexually active beast. But that’s alright by me: Ivoire remains a promise, a possibility. In my mind, there is no doubt that this is a fragrance that tells the story of resplendent youth – so eloquently it describes innocence and the tune a heart sings when it really falls in love for the first time. It is so optimistic, as though maturity and the responsibilities and consequences it brings with it are light years away. As far away in fact, as they indeed seem to youthful arrogance. For the cynics amongst us, this can be heartbreaking.
To see which perfume TMH has chosen for our Forget me Not Feature, please visit For the Love of Perfume.
Images Courtesy of: www.ycsznet.com, butterfly image from StarJem’s webshop on Etsy