Olfactive Material: a new scent-related publication (and my article inside!)

René Vincent, illustration of Suzanne Lenglen on the tennis court for the cover of La Vie au Grand Air, 1922

Remember all the optimistic think-pieces that were written in spring 2020, encouraging us to find new ways to create and grow during Covid lockdown? After all, Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a plague (as we learned, over and over), so surely we could master a new language, sharpen our baking skills, get physically fit, start keeping an illustrated journal, etc.?

Sarcasm aside, I really do admire certain individuals of my acquaintance who developed new projects and enterprises in 2020 and early 2021, especially when those projects invited others to participate. Perfume on the Radio is one such example. Olfactive Material, a new print-only publication edited by Clara Weale at The Library of Olfactive Material, is another.

Back in January, Clara put out a call for submissions by any scent-obsessed writer (or visual artist) who was interested in taking part. I happened to have a short piece already looking for a home; it’s now included in the debut issue of this newspaper (or zine, as I like to think of it). It’s a look back to 1921, when French tennis star Suzanne Lenglen signed a licensing deal that made her the first athlete to have her name on a perfume. Anyone who knows me knows that I have little interest in sports, but I do love moments when fragrance and fashion and celebrity intersect, and it’s the centennial of this deal, so there you go.

I’ll eventually upload a scan of my own article somewhere here on the blog, but I do encourage you to purchase your own copy of this publication and read it at your leisure. You can find more information here, at the Library of Olfactive Material website.

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