Tuesday, October 12, 2010


One of the primary exercises in art school is doing a drawing using perspective. Generally we learn one point perspective usually based on the geometrical horizon. The exercise is then followed with creating an image with two, three or more points.

Today I offer you an intersection of five point perspective on the natural perfume Gracing the Dawn. Instead of my single perspective on the notes, sillage and evolution of the perfume, here are three other points of view for you to savor:

Beth at The Cleveland Examiner
Donna at Perfume Smelling Things
Trish at Scent Hive
Lucy at Indie Perfumes
Elena at Perfume Shrine

Gracing the Dawn, more so than any of my other creations, has a very tangled and twisted her story. Originally she was a draft of notes called The Three Graces created for Heather Ettlingers Perfume in a Poem Project. Over time, with the birth of many other accords and perfumes, the formula morphed and shifted. The original illumination for the fragrance by my husband Greg Spalenka changed as well, becoming his iconic image at the 2010 San Diego Comic Convention where the perfume was debuted.

GreenWitch and Gracing the Dawn, as representatives of the two classical chypre perfumes in my collection, share similar notes and accords from the Animalia kingdom. GreenWitch leaning more into the realm of the Protoctista family and Gracing the Dawn in the Plantae arena. I call both of these "natural" perfumes because they contain ingredients from the animal kingdom.

While visiting Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel and Barneys in NYC last week I was very distraught to hear the sales people refer to many non natural perfumes as natural. When I politely told them that so and so brand was not a natural they argued with me and explained that the creator(s) of the fragrances told them they were natural. I decided to drop it, even though I know for a fact that the fragrances are not natural. Even worse is the fact that the term organic is applied to synthetic perfume. I must be living in an alternate universe where linguistic terminology and integrity exist on the same plane. Thankfully most of the perfume bloggers are well educated.

Beth, who was sampling perfumes with me at the Henri Bendel department store, commented that the word has obviously become "fashionable". The L'Artisan rep shared a scent strip of a fragrance with us featuring apple mentioning all their perfumes were natural. Hello? Not only is it plain as day that the perfume had synthetic aroma molecules but also there is NO apple essential oil. Only apple blossom concrete which is difficult to obtain.

The orchestration of ingredients in Gracing the Dawn shares a few similar essences and four accords which are also in GreenWitch. The four accords have all been crafted by my own hands using essentials oils, absolutes and C02 extracts. In total there are twenty other pure, plant essences including a plethora of flower: rose, jasmine, tuberose, ylang ylang, boronia and nightqueen. I choose to use whole essences in my perfumes, primarily from the botanical world, no isolates what-so-ever.

The base alcohol is organic grape and grain from Oregon with a tincture if infused violet flowers from my mothers garden. There is only a limited amount of the tincture, however, I will be making more in the early Spring as the little violets once more grace us with their delicious aroma.

Samples of the first edition including the violet tincture are available by weight in .25 and 1 gram, the full flacon size features the light purple crochet pouch. I choose purple as the Gracing the Dawns color harmony because when my daughter and husband first experienced the perfume they both murmured "purple".

1. Perspective engraving from the 17th century mathematics work by Marolois
2. Detail of The School of Athens (full image) by Raffaello Santi, 1509, showing Euclid
3. Gracing the Dawn ©Greg Spalenka. Postcards and posters of the illumination are available at Gregs E-shop, if you ask nicely he might be willing to print up a big banner for you like the one at Comic Con, which sold. I was rather looking forward to displaying it in my studio.
4. Roxana Illuminated Perfume display from Comic Con 2010 ©Evangeline Neuhart.

5. Detail of Gracing the Dawn Gracing the Dawn ©Greg Spalenka
6. 1 gram bottle of Gracing the Dawn Natural Perfume.
7. Violet photo ©Roxana Villa.


indieperfumes said...

Beautifully done, the imagery is gorgeous. I can see how you get inspired.

Illuminated Perfume said...

Hey Lucy,
The way things have evolved with my "illuminated" perfumes is that the idea for the perfumes comes in first, followed by the imagery. For "Gracing the Dawn" I conceptualized the perfume then wrote out several formulas while sniffing test strips. Once I had it all worked out I came to Greg came up with the imagery. The original is a bit darker than the new version, which you can see here: http://memoryanddesire.typepad.com/blog/2008/03/roxana-villa.html

There is only one perfume that had imagery before the fragrance was developed, can you guess which one? In that case it wasn't so much the imagery that informed the perfume but the story.

I guess this topic deserves its own blog post. Thanks for bringing it up!