Fashion & Beauty / Object of Desire

The Surrealist Scent of Salvador Dalí

Beautifully bizarre: AnOther presents a Margiela-inspired interpretation of Dalí's iconic perfume

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Photography by Matthieu Lavanchy

Salvador Dalí once proclaimed that "Among the five senses, smell is unquestionably the one that best gives the idea of immortality." Ever the king of the bizarre, he famously used to scent himself with fish glue and cow dung in order to maintain his aura of individuality – but this grotesque concoction is worlds away from his official perfume, which launched in 1983. A tribute to his wife and muse, Gala Dalí, his eponymous fragrance is a heady, floral accord of jasmine with notes of rose (Gala's favourite flower), and one that is formulated in exactly the same way today as it was when it was composed.

"Among the five senses, smell is unquestionably the one that best gives the idea of immortality" – Salvador Dalí

However, even greater than the floral scent itself is the bottle that Dalí designed to contain it. Simultaneously beautiful and monstrous, the disembodied nose and mouth were inspired by his painting 'Apparition of the Face of the Aphrodite of Knidos' and the sensual sculpture is the perfect translation of his signature surrealist aesthetic into the domain of beauty. Dalí's fascination with the voluptuous eroticism of mouths permeates his body of work – from his paintings to his segue into fashion with Elsa Schiaparelli and his famous Mae West lips sofa – and photographer Matthieu Lavanchy's reimagining of his obsession with the shape is a brilliant exploration even further into the surreal.

"I was inspired by the fact that there are no eyes, just this big mouth and nose," explained Lavanchy, who captured both the spirit and the form of the original crystal bottle and its limited re-edition in black. "I really imagined a woman with a long fringe of hair hiding her eyes – like a more glamorous version of Cousin Thing from The Addams Family! I then had a look at some of Dalí’s muses, especially Amanda Lear, and then Margiela’s show with all the clothes made out of wigs came to my mind. All in all, I thought hair would be a good idea, that it would highlight both the sensual and the grotesque aspect of the bottles. So I went to the huge hair extension shop close to my home in Finsbury Park and selected the strangest colors and textures, then had a play." The result is enchantingly creepy pair of images that surely even the master of the surreal would give his stamp of approval to: the perfect execution of our object of desire.

Salvador Dalí's perfume can be found at Bloom Perfumery.

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