In GQ, interviewed for the premiere of his film Nocturnal Animals, Tom Ford talks about flowers. “I like [them]. They’re beautiful. I think, ‘Well, they’re going to be dead in three or four days, but my God, aren’t they beautiful now?’ ” He leans back and exhales. “Everything’s so transient,” he says. “Everything dies.” Death, beauty, submission, penetration (yes). These are the musings of a man that makes perfumes like Soleil Blanc, and oh, does it make sense when you smell them.
After a suave but standard opening flash of bergamot and pink pepper (a well practiced handshake), Soleil Blanc quickly pulls itself into the skin like the almost-unbearable, heavy sensation of the late afternoon sun, warmth that even penetrates closed lids to create tiny solar flares in the darkness of semi-sleeping eyes.
When you slide smoothly into the fantasy that Ford presents in this summertime dream, the day has almost passed. In fact there’s the suggestion throughout of something beautiful on the edge of decay. The sun must be late, smouldering. Those exotic flowers, achingly fleshy, must have fallen onto the hot sand, dappled by palm trees whose fruit isn’t green and gurgling with liquid; they are hard and cracked, their rich milk spilt across warm rocky outcrops.
It’s a carnal, decadent, almost fetid scent that, I would suggest with complete sincerity, is the perfect match for an Aussie summer. Soleil Blanc is like just one too many glasses of good champagne, a half demolished pavlova, laden with stone fruit, beginning to weep on a picnic rug. That lightheaded, deliciously satiated feeling of heading home after too long at the beach, coated in sunscreen, salt, and sweat, hair tied in a knot. Strolling home over an excess of frangipani flowers, trodden and buzzing with desperate bees. In my personal version of events, there’d be a wide veranda and morsels of fried fish to gobble up while still dripping from the ocean. Maybe Ford wouldn’t approve of the fish and chips but I think he knows the rest.
Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, from $340 at David Jones