Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin review


The first thing you notice is the color of the juice. It’s the unlikeliest shade of magenta you’re ever going to see in a fragrance because you’re afraid it’s going to stain everything with its angry, short-fused magic. It hovers around deep fuchia and dark pink, like a burlesque star defying you to ignore her. Just see if you can pass by without venturing a spritz. Come closer, closer… Still beguiling. Lutens doesn’t take the pulse of the market, he sets it.

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin is supposedly inspired by the romance of a tumultuous Berlin where smoky-voiced stars like Marlene Dietrich stole the spotlight. I can see how a gal who’s just about felt the first breeze of freedom via women’s lib is going to love this dangerous beauty. (I’ve always wondered what certain eras really smelled like, what our predecessors liked to kiss their skin with. That’s why I collect vintage scents because I’d really like to see that girl of Berlin in her entirety.)

Let’s allow Lutens explain in his inimitable riddles what this perfume is all about. From the press materials:

“What about the name?

‘La Fille de Berlin’  is the daughter of a city that has known the time of Weimar, nourished by joyous and magnificent despair, and another time more terrible, more painful, more rigorous, that of the nazis.

However, let us not forget that, once liberated, Berlin and its ruins weren’t enough for the East : 100,000 women were raped, otherwise assassinated by their ‘liberators.’

What visual symbols would you choose to represent this fragrance?

A metal rose resting on the snow, a perfume that has the colour and character of passion.”

It certainly takes on a sombre, even sinister take on the life of this Berlin girl who lived in constant danger and wasn’t afraid to bare her teeth. It certainly conveys it through the perfume. The rose is not soft or alluring. It’s sweet but it’s got an edge, a stealthy threatening side that you can’t quite put your finger on. It’s maybe metallic, like a misplaced aldehyde, or maybe a bitter note. It changes, like the someone who’s ready to hide away at the first sign of being discovered.

I’d like to swathe myself in it and see if people perceive me as shifty. That would be an experiment I’d like to see the results of (unlike say dressing yourself up in Secretions Magnifiques and waiting for a reaction – that scent will probably drive you crazy before leaving the front door).

La Fille de Berlin can be found at perennial favorite Escentual 50ml for £58.65, although its regular price is £69. Now you see why Escentual.com is a favorite?