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sábado, 17 de outubro de 2015

Antonio Alessandria's Fleurs et Flammes: Masterpiece of Life and Death

by: Miguel Matos

Italian perfumer Antonio Alessandria brings us another stunning work of art, just as rich and flamboyant as his earlier creations: Fleurs et Flammes. This is different from the other fragrances in Antonio's line and yet it fits perfectly in his style. It's not easy to launch a perfume that is so original that we cannot relate it to another one. And Antonio does that in what seems to be his promise: to surprise and conquer.
Antonio Alessandria
Fleurs et Flammes is an hommage to the fragrances women used to wear in the past but it is also a memory from this perfumer's past... 
“When I was a child in Italy, we had a festivity in Catania on July 16th. Me and my father, we used to go to the market to buy some flowers and when we were back home we would cut the stems and kept the flowers in a small room without windows. We used to do this to take care of the flowers since outside it's usually around 40 degrees. It's the hottest time of the year. In the afternoon, when the procession usually was passing in front of my house we would throw the flowers from the balcony to pay hommage to the festivities. At night there was the fireworks. So, when I went to bed I tried to imagine the flowers turning into fireworks. All the flowers in the sky and the pungent smell of the fireworks mixing with the smell of the flowers heated by that temperature.” - Antonio Alessandria
Fleurs et Flammes (Flowers and Flames) has a concept and Antonio explained it already, but you can choose to smell it in relation to the story or not and get two different sensations. Of course, when you know where it comes from, everything becomes clear, even if it has a life of its own. Because this fragrance is so explosive and multilayered, I doubt that I can succeed in explaining how it smells. First of all, this is clearly a modern take on the floral animalic. It is fresh, spicy and mineral with prominent floral notes: this is a fact. While being different from the three first scents by Antonio, Fleurs et Flammes continues the vintage sensation. This time not because of the animalic base, but because of the intensive Lily notes. They are intensive like amped to the maximum of its spicy aspect and animalic allure but never losing its elegance. So, after all there is an animalic side to it too, but not fecal. It's more indolic. There are scents of explosions and decay, but also the last joy of flowers, the green freshness of fresh cut stems. All of this is a dichotomy of life and death, of rituals and spirituality. The colours of life and the flamboyant flowers that are dying and so they release their last breaths of fragrance. But these final essences are already infused in death, they are stronger, they have decay in their words.
Indole is the substance found in decaying organic materials and also in white flowers. In every tradition and ritual there is a battle of life and death and there is beauty coming from that. Fleurs et Flammes is an olfactive symbol of this. As the mineral notes merge with the spiced aspect from carnation and lily, the effect reminds me of gunpowder released by the fireworks. Fleurs et Flammes – Flowers and Flames... Flowers are symbols of life, but they are also present in funerals. Flames are symbols of destruction, but they also represent energy...
Antonio's narrative does not need to be told in words, for you can really smell the green fresh cut stems. And this is a sign of death too. Leafy plants release a number of volatile organic compounds called green leaf volatiles (GLVs). So when a plant gets injured, cut or damaged in any way, it releases this smell of warning meaning that its life is threatened. Also the white flowers expose their fragrant kiss of death from indoles, a substance often found on corpses. But all of that, if done in the right dosage, means beauty. For there is also the joy and light of citrus and galbanum, summer fruits and a crisp clarity that pervades this fragrance all the way. So, in the battle between shadows and light, rises this perfume of sun and darkness. Fireworks can only be seen in their full glory at night. That's why Fleurs et Flammes had to be so joyful and obscure, so dark and colourful. Flowers, spices, smoke, rise and decay. Maybe even sex and the climax of life. I am overwhelmed by this masterpiece by Antonio Alessandria. Because of it, maybe this review is more emotional than informative, but that's the effect of a true work of art.
Editor's note: Alessandria's work made quite an impact on our writers; check out Serguey's article on Alessandria from earlier this month by clicking here.

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