Miss Balmain was the first perfume I really fell in love with. I was still very young, 15 or something. I don’t remember how I got to own some in the first place. Did somebody give me a bottle? Was it somebodies reject? It was pretty expensive stuff for a teenager…
Miss Balmain is an old fashioned chypre. It was introduced in 1967 (a significant date!)
Anyway, although it’s a pretty hefty fragrance I wore it day and night well into my years at the Royal College of Art. I liked it especially on my own skin, not so much on other peoples skin. But in London, at the Royal College of Art I met a friend who wore Miss Balmain and on her it smelled the same as on me!
When I got a new (large) bottle on my birthday, (thank you generous parents), I suddenly did not like it anymore.
I tried to work my way through the bottle, thinking I was being weird but I couldn’t. I am now convinced it was one of those sneaky, secret reformulations of which they think we, the loyal fans, will not notice.
Well I did. I never asked for, or brought Miss Balmain again.
But, as the homage to my first love I have made a MissBalmain painting.
I am showing some stages to share my anxieties.
This Perfume series is about vintage perfumes, and exploring a more graphic manner of working, and some of the effects of vintage advertisement art.
One very typical style used from the Art Nouveau era onwards was a subtilegradation of shadows, and a very strong dark outline.
Here you see the painting (in the Q’s hall which I have taken over as my studio) and the two sketches.
So I had all those subtle shading and I was now going to edge it with a black line. That freaked me out, I entertained the idea that maybe I should go for the easy approach and forget about the Art Nouveau influence…
But I decided to take the plunge, and as I added the line I thought I should document this, so I could think about it later.
So here it is:
The line, eyes and eyebrows completed,
The furry jacket completed, I decided to keep that free of the outline to enhance the fluffiness and create a counter effect.
Acrylic on Canvas
30” x 40”