Join us Friday, Dec. 2nd for an upbeat meet-and-greet with Imaginary Authors founder & perfumer Josh Meyer!
Chat with the perfumer, enjoy exclusive gifts with any Imaginary Authors purchase, and sip a signature cocktail inspired by “In Love With Everything.”
1826 Sherbrooke St. W, Montréal, QC
December 2nd, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
As you might know, each Imaginary Authors’ fragrance is framed as the scent of an imaginary novel. And to understand the pleasures of their newest fragrance “In Love With Everything“, it helps to look at a real-life work of art: the musical “Xanadu”. I’m not talking about the famously-failed movie musical starring the late, great Olivia Newton-John. Instead, this fragrance reminds me of the film’s surprise-hit Broadway musical adaptation.
You’ll be forgiven if you haven’t heard of either; the original “Xanadu” movie was famously bad. While the soundtrack by E.L.O. became a hit, its perception as a campy failure was so universal it heralded the end of glossy musical film productions for decades. On the other hand, “Xanadu: The Musical” was a 2007 Broadway adaptation which tried to capitalize on the delightful excess of its source material. It was a parade of deliberately over-the-top scenes and cheesy musical numbers, mostly performed on roller skates. The plot of the musical parodied the film’s preposterous storyline: a Greek muse helping a hunky artist to open an L.A. nightclub. It worked: the production was so committed to the joys of a guilty pleasure that it flew past irony and looped back around to life-affirming. While the original film inspired the Golden Raspberry Awards (which honour the “worst” of that year’s cinema), “Xanadu: The Musical” was nominated for a Tony for Best New Musical.
To us, this is what’s going on in “In Love With Everything”. The fragrance is an electrifying shot of eighties breakfast orange juice, raspberry jam, and intergalactic roses. Instead of elevating its ingredients, it exaggerates them for maximum pleasure. The result: a fragrance which flies past guilty pleasure and into something even more joyful. Once the tart, pulpy opening eventually dissipates like so much roller-disco fog, it reveals a glow-in-the-dark, arcade-birthday-party warmth. That warmth feels naggingly familiar, evoking the nostalgia of unnamed childhood sense memories. Is it the “stardust” note? Or perhaps the “tropical punch” accord? Impossible to say.
Aspects like these are called “fantasy accords” in the fragrance world, and are one of the trademarks of the work of Josh Meyer, the Portland-based perfumer who founded Imaginary Authors. They usually consist of a cocktail of synthetic molecules meant to evoke a place, texture, or even an emotion. Classic examples of this include “amber” (a fantasy accord imagining the scent of the fossilized resin, not to be confused with ambergris) and home scents which describe their scent as “clean linen” (an object which likely smells mainly like the laundry detergent it’s washed with, or even like nothing at all).
Including these accords in a list of notes doesn’t describe a fragrance’s actual ingredients so much as it offers another dimension of storytelling. Meyer often challenges you to imagine aromas that are tactile and conceptual: Fresh Tennis Balls (“The Soft Lawn”), Warm Sand (“Falling into the Sea”), Arpora Night Market (“Slow Explosions”), Baltic Sea Mist (“Every Sea a Serenade”), Orchard Dust (“Yesterday Haze”), Salvaged Shipwreck (“Whispered Myths”), First Kiss (“Sundrunk”), and even simply “???” (“O Unknown”). If a list of notes is like a Table of Contents for the fragrance, why not make the chapter titles as evocative as possible?
Like Meyer’s other scents, “In Love With Everything” achieves the sensation of entering a vivid imaginary world. The fragrance embodies the gleeful, spandex-futuristic visions of the early 80’s (or 90’s, for that matter – or any stretch of time when the sensory world could feel genuinely new). Maybe it even smells a bit like the feeling of surging adolescence. Either way, with its refreshing, mind-bending wearability, it shows “bad taste” doesn’t really exist and that a “guilty pleasure” is only a state of mind. After all, who can resist the pure, ecstatic, dopey joy of musical lyrics like these:
“I’m alive / and the dawn breaks across the sky / I’m alive / and the sun rises up so high / Lost in another world / Never another word / But what can I say? / I’m alive! / I’m alive! / I’m alive!”