Virginie Gautreau

Reviews for permanent Possets :)

Moderator: Maya

Post Reply
User avatar
Boudicca
moderator
moderator
Posts: 1840
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 5:29 pm
Location: Minneapolis

Virginie Gautreau

Post by Boudicca »

The model for Sargent's Madame X, Virginie was originally from New Orleans and moved to France after her father died in the battle of Shiloh, fighting on the side of the Confederacy. She was introduced to high society and managed to captivate a gentleman who wed her and was very proud of making such a great match. She was considered one of the beauties of the time with fair skin, chestnut hair, a wonderful figure, and a graceful way of moving.

She was very impressed with herself as well and sought to preserve her finest moment of beauty by commissioning John Singer Sargent, the wonderful American painter, to immortalize her. And he did. Sargent painted the arresting Madame X in a gorgeous black two piece evening dress with one golden strap slithering down her shoulder in a most provocative style. It was to be exhibited in the Grand Salon which was the superbowl of painting in Paris. Sargent hoped that his strong contrast of black fabric on palest lavender-white skin enhanced with a yellow ochre background and haughty pose (complete with Goddess Diana crescent hair ornament) would be an innovative style that Paris would rush to embrace, and he along with it.

It is rumored that on the day of the exhibition, Virginie had her face "enamelled". That was a cosmetic procedure which was done when one wished to look their best and did not care whether their features were left mostly immobilized or not. A thin layer of dead white clay was painted on the face, appropriate cheek color was painted in when the clay layer had dried. It absolutely smoothed out any and all imperfections on your face but if you moved your face at all the most hideous cracks and fissures would appear and you would look more like a zombie than a goddess.

Virginie arrived for the exhibition at the proper time and in the proper attitude, dressed in the height of fashion, accompanied by the best people. She sauntered through room after room until she heard a commotion, looked around and saw that a large crowd of people where gathered around her portrait! Alas, they were not praising it, they were making FUN of it. "Oh, Mr. Sargent is very good at painting cadavors, I thought that was illegal!" "She looks old and bloodless. How sexless!" "Sargent should be mortified to hang an dough-like portrait like that. Poor Madame X!"

Hearing her triumph turn to mortification, Virginie immediately burst into tears. Then she quickly remembered she had "broken" her face which just added to her misery. She turned a fled the Salon.

Virginie had her likeness done several times again and never with the flair and memorableness of Madame X. So, she was always disappointed by any of the other attempts.

Again, there are tales that when when the ravages of time began to tear at Virginie, she became a recluse having lost the only treasure she possessed, her beauty.

I have done a Madame X (and squared and cubed) but how about the lady behind the portrait, the girl from New Orleans. I start out with that most New Orleanian ingredient, molasses. We follow that up with a truly winsome musk which is sweet and sensuous, and hard to forget. Finally, to finish it up I have layered up a thick crust of the most strong and bitter chocolate which is the perfect foil to dark sweetness and perfume. Here is where chocolate becomes more than simple chocolate and where molasses turns into a more liquor than a candy base. Foody, musky, resinous.
'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds
User avatar
Petticoats
virtues
virtues
Posts: 1171
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:40 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Re: Virginie Gautreau

Post by Petticoats »

This is quite seductive in a warm, cozy way. The initial impression is all molasses, but as soon as it has a little time to dry down, the overall effect is much more subtle and not even terribly gourmand. I can't pick out the chocolate, but I have no doubt it's contributing to the wonderful waft that is more than the sum of its parts. This is a close second after Judith in my ranking of favorites, and I'm really glad I ordered it. :hrt::
Learn about me and my books at www.amandadewees.com.
User avatar
katiushka
archangel
archangel
Posts: 320
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:29 am
Location: Boston, USA

Re: Virginie Gautreau

Post by katiushka »

Darn, all the Femmes Fatales are SOOO good!! Virginie Gautreau especially.

This does NOT smell like a dessert. It smells like a lady wearing Chanel No 5 who has walked into a coffee shop and ordered a scrumptious chocolate cake. That is a very important distinction, and one that drives me absolutely head over heels for this scent. The “dry”, “perfumey” and Chanel-esque portion of this scent is very visible right alongside the molasses and chocolate.

I thought “Cambienne – Time” had this dry-with-chocolate-overtones thing nailed, but Virginie Gautreau is even better. Class AND decadence - what more can you want?
User avatar
Maya
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 2456
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Virginie Gautreau

Post by Maya »

This has become my go-to from this collection, and I realized this weekend why. This one reminds me of everything I love in Mucha (Winter) and Apep. Mmmmmmm. So good.
If you can't be a success, be a spectacular failure!
Post Reply