THE PERFUME THAT FOLLOWS YOU.
As you’re walking the street, a hallway, a waft of scent flows by. Multiple “perfumes of place” drift — if you’re open, you’re scenting them. As well, you’re scenting — the fragrance of you, the trailing scent of you — it drifts behind you, subtle or strengthened.
Such is the notion of sillage [a French word] —
the wake of scent.
And, as shown below, a wild graphic
novel storytelling from France,
renamed “Wake” internationally.
The French graphic novel “Sillage” — and below,
the unexpurgated english edition: “Wake.”
Like the rippling of sound,
it’s around you, flows around your presence. Like smoke, mist, clouds — it flows out, around you, and from you.
And like this scientific atmospheric study from Leeds,
it’s a cast-off circulation in the breeze.
In the design of experiences, and the play of space made into place will be around the strategy of layering. Every person smells — both, their scent, the smell of them; and two, their capacity to “smell” or scent what is around them.
Designing a place, scent lays out and flows in
the processional design of experiences —
coming into a place, what
What do you sense, first?
What scent rises as you move further into the environment?
And what do you think about?
What memory calls forth?
Sillage — pronounced, as you likely know, “see-yazh” is defined as “a scented trail left by the fragrance wearer. It comes from the French word for “wake,” as in the trail left in the sky by an airplane or on the water by a boat. Sillage defines how fragrance diffuses around the wearer, and a strong sillage means that a fragrance projects well.
Sillage has nothing to do
with the richness of the composition,
however, but rather with the diffusive nature of
the materials that go into it.”
For one, it’s been said that Tom Ford’s perfumes
have sillage like a hammer.
Strong. Lasting. Big.
Ralph Lauren’s Polo used to be like that — a globally “big” note, widely dispersed, potently recognized:
you could smell a Polo-wearing person from 100 yards.
What that means is that the layering of materials —
their density and sequencing will create a staggered array of smells.
People talk about perfume and
boosting the power of their statement.
How, with a fragrance, to get more sillage.
What flows [and what more could flow] from you?
In the scent of a man,
the scent of a woman —
sex defines the layering of the fragrance.
clothing and materiality,
Bacteria adds its own interpretation.
And, how that scent is touched — placed on the body, can make all the difference:
Elle ne porte rien d’autre qu’un peu d’essence de Guerlain dans les cheveux.
TIM | GIRVIN
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