Image, Philip-Lorca diCorcia
Perfumer Vero Kern.
Vero Kern is known for using three versions of a perfume in order to express a concept in its entirety. The three concentrations are exceptionally detailed and finished, yet considered together, they allow you to contemplate more fully the meaning of the perfume. Each fragrance is a fully executed idea and the choice is yours to select the ‘Goldilocks’ version, the one that’s just right.
Kern defies the trend in perfumery of rehashing an idea with serial iterations of a perfume. It might seem a fine point, but it is important in understanding Kern’s work: the three concentrations of her perfumes are not flankers or sequals. Each piece stands alone, yet together they provide different perspectives and propose an ongoing discussion. They are akin to triptychs in the visual arts.
Rozy Eau de Parfum drapes honeyed fruit notes and smooth leather on the balancing point of the rose. It is both sultry and contemplative, triggering my imagination of the ambrosia of Greek mythology. The Voile d’Extrait, on the other hand, makes the EDP feel positively introspective. It is a universe of rose and leather micosconds after the Big Bang. It expands in all directions and accelerates your senses. Both concentrations expound on similar notes but send them on very different journeys.
The extrait or pure perfume concentration has traditionally been considered the ultimate version of a perfume (eg. Chanel 5, Jean Patou Joy, Guerlain Mitsouko). Kern is known for her extraits and they demonstrate her thorough understanding of classical perfumery. Like the best traditional pure perfumes, her extraits balance a stronger concentration of materials with a plusher sensibility. Some contemporary pure perfumes mistake strength for volume and come off as simply loud. Kern’s extraits are powerful, but they focus on width and texture. They are three-dimensional yet spectral. They are simultaneously particular and elusive, more dreamlike than her other concentrations.
After the carnal EDP and the bombastic Voile d’Extrait, Rozy Extrait is the brilliant resolution to the Rozy story. The three share the same DNA, but the Extrait reconfigures the features of its siblings. It’s a face I recognize, but couldn’t have imagined on my own. Rozy Extrait is a refined and effortlessly powerful perfume. Where the EDP is leisurely and the Voile d’Extrait races, the Extrait demonstrates poise, that balance between movement and stillness, not stasis but self-possession. You don’t consider gravity until you try to overcome it. Rozy Extrait exerts a similar force but with a lipsticked smile. The rose is dark and the leather is heavy but Rozy floats obligingly around you like your own personal atmosphere.
Like the Extrait version of Onda, Rozy Extrait feels as though there is a threat below its calm surface. It is alluring. It is tantalizing. Each time I wear it, I can resist for all of a minute before I give in. Vero Kern gives us a surprise with Rozy Extrait and reminds me why I turn to the artist for what I couldn’t have imagined myself.