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Tilda Swinton Like This - State of ease (June 2, 2010 New Fragrance Listing)

Paris cafe -

Tilda Swinton arrived from London yesterday – the fragrance, that is! (Thank you, S. for forwarding it so quickly.)  Tilda Swinton Like This is from État Libre d’Orange, the avant-garde little French company which brought us Putain des Palaces (Hotel Whore), Fat Electrician, and the wonderful Tom of Finland.

For those of you who might not know much about her, here’s some background on Tilda: She is from an Anglo-Scots military family of very long lineage, she went to school with Princess Diana, she has rebelled against class and conformity all her life (she thinks since age four). She lives with the artist John Byrne and their two children in the small town of Nairn, Scotland, along with her younger lover, Sandro Kopp, also an artist, who is also part of the family - a true ménage à trois.

Known for her provocative arthouse films since the 1980’s, she’s starred in several mainstream films and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2008 for her role as a corporate lawyer in Michael Clayton, with George Clooney. Tall, and beautiful, with short burnt-orange hair and pale skin, she is also known for her cutting-edge fashion style - she does the red carpet like no one else.

So you can see why I was anticipating an edgy, out-of-the-box scent. Speaking of the box, it’s orange – a good start, I’m already seeing Tilda with her iconic flaming hair. The small orange package insert unfolds like an accordion to reveal a poem, called “Like This”. It is from “The Essential Rumi”, written by a 12th century Sufi poet, and it is one of Tilda’s favourite poems – very quiet, meaningful, reflective. (She reads this poem on the État Libre website – go listen to it!) So now I know why the name of her fragrance came to be Like This.

And the smell of Tilda Swinton Like This? It is not what I expected. It is like the poem – very quiet, reflective, meaningful – and it is beautiful.

The notes are listed as yellow tangerine, ginger, pumpkin, immortelle flower, Moroccan neroli, Grasse rose, vetyver, heliotrope, musks. I can smell the three top-notes, especially the ginger in the first few seconds, then the earthiness of the pumpkin. The fragrance has a familiar yet oddly different smell, almost like the smell of a well-tended home – baking and furniture polish and flowers in a vase. After thirty minutes or so, the immortelle delivers its wonderful spicy burnt caramel and the rose and musks add a slightly sweet layer. The scent is quiet and lasts a long time – I woke to a faint whiff of it still on my arm.

The perfume was created for Tilda by Mathilde Bijaoui: 
“When Mathilde Bijaoui first asked me what my own favourite scent in a bottle might contain, I described a magic potion that I could carry with me wherever I went that would hold for me the fragrance - the spirit - of home. I told her about a bottle of spirit, something very simple to me: something almost indescribable, so personal it should be. The miracle is that Mathilde made it.”

Tilda is a mother, with deep roots in her Scottish home: 
“I have never been a one for scent in a bottle. I have always located my favourite fragrances at the doorways of kitchens, in the heart of a greenhouse, at the bottom of a garden. Scent means place to me: place and state of mind - even state of grace. Certainly state of ease. My favourite smells are the smells of home.”

So Tilda Swinton Like This is a deeply personal scent, created for Tilda, the real person, not Tilda, the persona. The opposite of edgy, it is the kind of fragrance that you wear for yourself, for comfort, for quiet, to remind you of home and what has meaning in your life. Quite brilliant, like Tilda.

Tilda Swinton Like This is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Tilda’s quotes are from the État Libre website.