When he knocked on my door and entered the room
My trembling subsided in his sure embrace
He would be my first man, and with a careful hand
He wiped the tears that ran down my face
Nick cave & The bad Seeds
Guerlain’s Mitsouko perfume is one of those mysterious fragrances that isn’t easy for me.Every single time I smell it I have to decide not only if indeed I really like it but also how I like it. It seems to change its shape every time, it seems to reveal a different aspect upon each wearing. It opens as a cold green yet spicy floral but warms up gradually. One thing is certain; it’s an intriguing composition.
Created in 1919 by Jacques Guerlain, Mitsouko’s creation was inspired by the heroine of Claude Farrčre’s novel ‘La bataille’, a story of an impossible love between Mitsouko, the wife of Japanese Admiral Togo, and a British officer. The story takes place in 1905, during the war between Russia and Japan. Jacques Guerlain had the incredible and daring idea of combining a chypre with a very fruity peach note, giving this unique fragrance all of its modernity.
For me, the perfume seems to have so many different appearances and evokes so many different emotions- I found it hard to capture it in just one drawing.So I made various drawings, each depicting an imaginary Mitsouko: Mitsouko wearing a very heavy dress while getting lost in the snow, Mitsouko resting her head on her own lap , Mitsouko plotting a scheme and gazing into a starry night. All the time I was wearing the perfume, and wondering ; Just who is Mitsouko? And by wearing it, who am I?
How does this perfume communicate when I wear it? With Misouko- I’m never sure, it’s a love-hate relation, with the love coming from the fact that it continues to intrigue me. I don’t usually like perfumes that are too accessible – which ,to me at least, Mitsouko certainly isn’t .Another important aspect of Mitsouko , is that for me it has something healing about it, something calming.
I have ended my ‘search for Mitsouko in image quest‘ by drawing a self portrait while wearing Mitsouko. It’s my way of meditating on this wonderful fragrance and translating it into a drawing- it’s my way of finding the Mitsouko in me and loving her.
Becoming / The Woman In Me, 30x30cm pencil,gouache & ink on paper.copyright Chester Gibs 2017
Untitled / The Search, 21x21cm, pencil,gouache & ink on paper.copyright Chester Gibs 2017
Fire In The Sky, 21x21cm, pencil,gouache & ink on paper.copyright Chester Gibs 2017
Close Your Eyes And You Will See Neon Lights, 30x30cm pencil,gouache & ink on paper.copyright Chester Gibs 2017
find out more about the fragrance here.