When it comes to picking a concentration, I always go eau de parfum. Extrait prices are overly engorged and unwieldy for my pocket book (a girl’s gotta walk after, amirite?!), and I worry that Eau de Toilettes are too little, too light. My skin’s frag-gobblin’ thirsty, after all, and when I take it in the nose, I want to really feel it hit the walls of my nasal cavity. If my vintage Balenciaga Fleeting Moment Eau de Cologne is any indication, though, I’ve been a concentration queen for far too long, ‘cos I can’t stop clutching my pearls over its 2-4%.
Fleeting Moment (aka, La Fuite Des Heures) is Germaine Cellier’s only perfume for Balenciaga. It’s exquisite, ‘cos what of her work isn’t, and it’s discontinued, ‘cos of course it is.
As I work my way through her oeuvre, it becomes clear to me Ms. Cellier is part of what Cahiers du Cinema called auteur theory. It’s hard to not think of her fragrances as exploratory commentary upon gender in light of the femme/dyke-otomy she declared between Fracas and Bandit, and she regularly returned to particular notes and motifs, like how green notes and/or leather can play and juxtapose with florals.
Fleeting Moment, then, may be a pre-Vent Vert meditation on the green floral. Kitchen herbs take the place of a b*tchload of galbanum; the florals are soft, clean, white, soapy even, like an abstract of hand-washed linen drying on the line; and the whole thing dries down to a most pastoral oakmoss. It smells like living on the French countryside in a pre-industrial age, and each whiff arrives weightlessly, as if delivered on a breeze.
I’m obsessed with this most bearable lightness of being, and how—against all mathematical odds—a modest cologne has all-day stamina. Sure, old habits oblige me to want more and much more intensely, but this Fleeting Moment is anything but. I guess “size doesn’t matter” ain’t just an old wives tale told to comfort their husbands…