Thursday, July 09, 2009


I'm finishing up my blogging about trying to capture the scent of flowers, as I prepare for my new adventure: eating flowers. Thought I would do a last blog on sillage. Such an interesting word and one you will add to your vocabulary if you haunt perfume blogs, as I do.

Sillage is used in the perfume world to describe the trail of scent you leave behind when you pass through a room. It is a French word, pronounced see-yazh, for the wake of the ship, from the same root as a word that also means furrow. In that sense it is an impression, but a transient one, one that will dissolve or resolve.

Michelle Krell Kydd at Glass Petal Smoke has a good story about stealing mojo from a man with her sillage. Patty White at Perfume Posse wrote this lovely essay on the sillage of her mother-in-law's life. An interesting concept. At Bois de Jasmin, another one of my favorite perfume blogs, a reader mentions that when people ask her about the scent she's wearing, she worries that she put on too much. She ends with the comment: "sillage is almost illegal in the U.S."

I have been feeling very self-conscious in fragrance-free Seattle about wearing scent. My current favorite is Mimosa Pour Moi by L'Artisan. It is a soft, powdery scent with a honey undertone, and so far no one has noticed my sillage.

The amazing photograph was taken by Rennett Stowe and I found it at


Anonymous said...

I like this word. Thank you for sharing it. I live in the South. Most women down here feel that we are defined by our perfume. Needless to say, there is lots of sillage going on here LOL. My favorite perfume is currently Dove waterlilly & freshmint body spray.

By the way, I just ordered your book 'Slow Time' and I can't wait for it to arrive :)

Karen said...

Oh the guilt of wearing scent in fragrance free Seattle. I feel your pain. I've recently gotten into Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs fragrances, and after years of being fragrance free myself I now have a quite respectable collection. I worry about my sillage too. If someone sneezes near me on the bus I pull my jacket close in order to contain any possibly offensive fragrance.

Waverly Fitzgerald said...

It's great to know that there is some place I can go (the South) and flaunt my perfume.

I'm glad you understand my pain. At my tango lesson two weeks ago, my partner started sneezing while dancing with me and I couldn't pull my jacket close. I refrained from wearing perfume to the next lesson.

Michelle Krell Kydd said...

Thanks for mentioning Glass Petal Smoke and the "Stealing Mojo" post. If you are interested in generating a little mojo of your own, I'd recommend Dans Tes Bras by Maurice Roucel (part of the Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle line). The sillage is delicate, but noticeable. The fragrance is reviewed here:

~~louise~~ said...

I stumbled upon your blog back in May and didn't have time to stay so I put you in my bookmarks.

While going through my bookmarks today, I rediscovered why I saved it in the first place.


Thank you...

Waverly Fitzgerald said...

A new concept for me. I was walking on the UW campus, on my way to a tango class, and I caught a whiff of a delightful fragrance that reminded me of the perfume I was wearing: Mimosa Pour Moi. I turned around in a circle and there was a mimosa tree, in full bloom! I think this is the first time I've found a fragrant plant because of a perfume, rather than the other way around. Do trees have sillage?