Perfumed pages… The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald is Estee Lauder’s Azuree The Dandy Celebrates World Book Day

“She was beautiful – but especially she was without mercy.”

Fitzgerald’s second novel is a typically decadent tale of a jazz age tycoon-to-be and his destructive marriage to a distant but beautiful wife… and the bottle.

It is a fable of art deco lines and loose morals, gorgeous gowns and haunted pasts.

At turns angular and alcoholic, sad, stylish and nihilistic.

At every point as exquisite in its execution as it is painful in it exposition.

“unloved women have no biographies– they have histories”

Bernand Chant’s masterpiece, Azuree for Estee Lauder, is a perfume of machine-made muscularity beneath a bias cut silk dress.

It is in essence a tension between chemically enhanced leathers high on moderne aromatics balanced, just, with soaring, stomach-dropping florals capable of creating Coney Island style thrills.

A match if not as turbulent as that conjured by Scott then every bit as diverting and almost as dangerous.

“I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world.”

The personalities in Fitzgerald’s semi-autobiographical work are, for all that they are consumed both by their pasts and the potential of their futures, suffused with a sense of the ephemeral.

One has a constant aching feeling throughout this fiction that these are characters on the brink of extinction.

Not simply as individuals on account of their wanton and helpless behaviour, but as a class or type of people they seem doomed.

They are socio-cultural dinosaurs waiting for the comet of the Wall Street Crash to collide with their world. Though they could have been as conscious as what was about to befall them as a brontosaurus was of his fate.

Fragrance then, especially Azuree: as vertiginous and apparently, though illusorily, permanent as the skyscrapers emerging in the twenties as the new form of the epoch, is the perfect metaphor for these temporary people.

It soars, commands, dazzles, defies all logic and experience before it expires.

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“I don’t want just words. If that’s all you have for me, you’d better go”

No more word’s from The Dandy then, though there’s a full review of Azuree in the archive.

Happy Reading.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Perfumed pages… The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald is Estee Lauder’s Azuree The Dandy Celebrates World Book Day

  1. Lilybelle

    Happy World Book Day, Mr. Dandy! I admit it, I’ve never read anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I am fairly ignorant of that generation. And even though I’ve certainly benefitted from its advances, that 1920s urge toward mechanization and modernism has always left me a bit cold, fascinating as it is…it always seemed a cold bedfellow to me. I’ve never enjoyed those soaring, impressive Art Deco spaces. I like cozy and intimate and warm. I suppose I’m displaying my ignorance, but I’ll need to immerse myself in that generation’s world view to get it. Maybe I will. I like educating myself. I finally learned to love jazz, so there’s hope. I gave my Azuree away, as I never actually reached for it to wear. I appreciated it, but I got lost in it. Another one that wore me.

    • Dearest Lily
      Ah yes.
      There is something decidedly unlikeable about the machine age glamour of the twenties. Too big, too precise, too ambitious, too inhuman.
      And I fear the recent car crash (plot pun intended) film version of The Great Gatsby will have done little to persuade people otherwise, being the embodiment of all these things times many.
      Fitzgerald, ironically, is in many ways, the opposite of the age: pessimistic, intimate, tragic, delicate in scale and style.
      His short stories are a delight and an easy way to get acquainted with an artist who sometimes inspires more awe than affection.
      Speaking of which… yes, Azuree, the epitome of awe over affection. I wear it when on a mission not so much impress, but overcome!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        I’ll start with the short stories then. Thank you for the recommendation. 🙂 Now if I could just take a year off to escape somewhere with a carload of books!

      • Dearest Lily
        The Dandy’s life has been taken off to devote to books… the problem is people will just keep writing them!
        Yours ever (reading)
        The Perfumed Dandy

  2. Once again you know my socks off — an antiquated phrase but true. Other words from the 1920s…mass media (1923), psyched (1920), sophisticate (1923). I’m just trying to sweet talk you into letting me reblog this post and the one about Disraeli…

  3. Pingback: Perfumed pages… The Beautiful and the Damned | BEGUILING HOLLYWOOD

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