THE VALPINÇON BATHER
“The Valpinçon Bather” is an immersive journey back to the atmosphere of 19th-century baths. In the voluptuous harem, where skin and purity are at their fullest expression, orange blossom, a classic of sunny countries, translates the elegance of the white linen cushion where the bather is sitting. Lavender, with its interesting profile, both green and astringent, was a favourite of Queens Elizabeth I and Victoria, and adds sun-dried linen and draperies to the olfactory metaphor. Neroli, son of the bitter orange tree, exhales hesperidic notes commonly found in warm countries, anchoring the fragrance in an Orientalist atmosphere.
The Eastern wind blows whiffs of woody patchouli, wet and camphor-like, and becomes a seductive zephyr. Patchouli was much appreciated during French Second Empire and was used to preserve shawls and stoles on their way from India to prevent their getting damaged during the trip. Across the Channel, the so-called “Grandmother of Europe”, Queen Victoria, had it abundantly used for her pots-pourris.
Lavender absolute, used by the Romans to scent their baths – its etymology, lavere, is barely misleading – accentuates the impeccable self-care of this “Bather”. The scented work of art gets deeper and deeper, like the colour of a painted curtain, dense, dark, and mystical.