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December 7, 2005

What Giorgio Armani and I have in common


We're both crazy about Agraria's Bitter Orange (above, the potpourri).

For me it's been since forever; for Armani I cannot say.

I do know this: in Sunday's New York Times Style magazine supplement, in an article by Chandler Burr, this sentence appeared:

"Giorgio Armani is a fanatic for Agraria's Bitter Orange and last year had Aedes perfume his runway show with it."

Aedes would be Aedes de Venustas ("temple of beauty" in Latin), a wonderful store in New York City whose catalog may be the most beautiful I've ever received.

Burr wrote that Aedes is "the most exclusive perfume shop in New York."

I had occasion to chat on the phone with one of the two owner/proprietors one day a few years ago when I was reordering Bitter Orange potpourri.

I mentioned how elegant and exquisite their catalog was and asked who designed it: "We did" (meaning he and his partner), he replied.

Burr wrote that in the decade since its founding in 1995 Aedes has become "a bit of a cult."

Once you page through the catalog you'll understand why.

I always take along a box of Bitter Orange potpourri when I travel, along with a few small plastic containers with lids.

I put out potpourri in various corners of my hotel room soon after entering.

Then, every time I return to my room and open the door it's as if I'm coming home, after a fashion.

Smell is a reptilian sense, striking notes deep within the midbrain and amygdala as its neuronal message traverses the warp and weft of our synaptic network: along with it course associations long since forgotten yet, somehow, still resonant.

December 7, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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