My work is a contemporary retelling of the story Perfume by Patrick Suskind (1985, Penguin: London). Disfigured by injury and disease and feared for his lack of personal odour JB has been gifted an extraordinary sense of smell. He desires nothing more than to be loved, and he knows that he can be, if he develops the perfect perfume. His pursuit leads him to murder twenty-five young and beautiful women and steal from them their very essence, their scent. Combining these he creates a perfume so enthralling that people worship him, love him and consume him. The performance explores how driven by desire we are prepared to exploit others and how our feelings can be manipulated by our senses, particularly smell which has been shown to evoke strong emotions and bring back memories. I have collaborated with students of the London College of Fashion, Cosmetic Science MSc to produce scents associated with the characters. JB creates and wears scents to manipulate people to consider him important or to barely notice him. My JB costume uses an interpretation of his disfigurements to allow the audience to pluck off parts to smell. My other character Perfume represents the essence of the twenty-five-murdered women, the costume changes as JB is shown destroying their essence and forcing it into a perfume bottle, once complete the audience can smell his perfect creation and see a woman within the bottle.
Perfume - forced into a bottle
Design for the second stage of the Perfume costume, the essence of the murdered women has been turned to perfume and bottled.
JB Suit Embroidery
Embroidery of roses to embellish the suit jacket worn by JB
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