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“Panther-like she stands, clad in a column of molten gray panne velvet, across her eyes a sliver of black lace. Through the smoky haze of the bar her dark eyes search, who is she going to meet? Dali and Schiaparelli loll at the bar sharing a ‘naughty’ cigarette and glasses of absinthe. Chic and demimonde draped across the bar… A louche figure glides lazily towards her, elegant, androgynous, dressed in a smoking jacket over velvet trousers Electricity sizzles through the air, intake of breath.. ”I want this to be…?”

Slipping an elegant bejeweled hand under her elbow, the mysterious one guides her to a banquette. On her wrist the Panther carries a minaudiere of ‘Darkly Audacious’  their faces come together sexy, feline…audacious! Intrigued. ”Imagine!” they whisper one to another!”

I want to be Sarah Barton King when I grow up. I really have the biggest girl crush on her and even though we have never met I love to think that we would be the best of friends.  I have never told many people this, but what I really wanted to be when I grew up was a designer of textiles , giftware, fashion, perfume and dreams. I spent one lifetime in luxury retail and I swore that I’d never go back, but when I see all of the beautiful pictures of Sarah’s original London Boutique, The Pink Room, I’m convinced that I should just do it all over again! 

I want to go find her and beg her to just be my muse. Perhaps it’s not too late!

When I was first sent the lovely sample of her newest fragrance, appropriately named Darkly Audacious, I wasn’t sure why it instantly reminded me of a naughty London weekend. You know what I mean, the sort of weekend where you steal away with your husband for a fabulous romp, complete with a naughty little bit of Aubade lingerie, some champagne and a hearty English breakfast to fortify you the next day.  Then I discovered The Pink Room website and it was instantly apparent where the fantasy had come from.

Sarah is one of the finest weavers of exotically beautiful dreams that I’ve ever seen. She’s naughty and you know how much I love that quality and utterly inspiring, closing her very successful Notting Hill boutique where she’s been honored by no less than Princess Ann to follow her husband to New York City to carry on in that brave new world.  Sarah Barton King weaves some of the  best stories that I’ve ever read, creating wonderfully fantastic tales that will then serve as the foundation for the perfumes to be built on. For Darkly Audacious she wrote the huskily passionate prose above to help inspire her perfumer Cyrille Carles and quite frankly her fragrances and boudoir concept are some of the finest pieces of luxury branding that I’ve ever had the pleasure to be seduced by.

Darkly Audacious is so very, very sexy.  I imagine Paris in the time of Colette and remember one very sensual work of erotica featuring several women, one man a hookah pipe and an Turkish rug from Anais Nin’s scandalous Delta of Venus. On my skin Darkly Audacious screams of naughty nights at the Moulin Rouge and I think that has to be exactly what Sarah desired. It smells, feels and tastes of Opium and passion fruit filled macarons, velvet, leather and candied violets.

I am reminded of being a young girl staying with my parents at the St. Regis in New York City in the early 70’s and seeing the great surrealist Dali and his ocelot descend the grand staircase into a throng of adoring patrons. It’s just that kind of scent; very dangerous, a little bit artsy with a whole lot of lovely.  The effect of this fragrance is unabashedly mesmerizing and if you have a vivid imagination like mine be very careful because it will begin to take you all kinds of places that you may never have thought to go….

Darkly Audacious opened with a delightful burst of Lemon, bergamot and rosewood, but on my skin that quickly softened into the heart of the fragrance which is jasmine, cashmere wood and juicy plum  the latter being an accord that I find to be so sensual.  The base of the fragrance is a passionate cocktail of vanilla, tonka bean, amber and a patchouli incense and the effect is utterly hypnotizing.  To completely the fantasy is a very naughty black bottle, bound in satin with an atomizer which completely reminded me of some of the wonderful old bottles that my mother always had on her dressing table when I was growing up, including a lovely old vial of some sort of smoky Arabian Attar which I still have.

I loved those days, because my mother who was terribly glamorous and definitely more than a little bit naughty had a chest in her linen closet just for us where we had all of our dress up clothes, heels, hats and gloves. I used to play with her Fire and Ice lipsticks and parade around the house like a princess.  I still love to play dress up and my fantasy is that the next Sarah Barton King creation will be a fragrant Darkly Audacious lipstick in a decadent siren red so that I can wear it with my crimson Ralph Lauren sleeveless evening dress which I literally pour myself into and my sexy nude patent leather pumps.

This is a scent for annointing your breasts, thighs  and throat; better yet let your lover dab it on you although be forwarned, because when my husband indulged that particular fantasy of mine we actually never left our hotel room. But please, pretty please promise me that wherever you wear Darkly Audacious, you’ll wear it with stilettos, reckless abandon and yes my dears, there absolutely must be garters…..

To learn more about Sarah Barton King and her Pink Room Collection

Beth Schreibman Gehring
Fragrance Review: Darkly Audacious by The Pink Room
By Beth Schreibman Gehring
September 10, 2011

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