“Timeless Scents: 1370 to 2013” Opens at L.A.’s Wallis Center

Chandler Burr at "Timeless Scents: 1370 to 2013"

Chandler Burr at “Timeless Scents: 1370 to 2013”

Can you name the first perfume? Can you remember the last time that you went to a museum not to see things, but to smell them? That’s exactly what the latest exhibition at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is inviting you to do. “Timeless Scents: 1370 to 2013,” which is curated by author, fragrance expert and former New York Times fragrance critic Chandler Burr, invites visitors to learn about the history of perfume through the experience of perfume itself.

The exhibit is a companion piece to the show that’s on stage at the Wallis Center, “Parfumerie.” The play itself is a romantic comedy that’s set during Christmastime and takes place in a luxe perfume shop in 1937 Budapest. Fans of fragrance are sure to have a good time, but it’s a show that will appeal to people who stay away from the spritz, too.

But back to the exhibit — which runs through December 22 at the Lovelace Studio inside the Wallis. Inside, you’ll find no celeb campaigns, no branding and not so much as a single bottle on display. Instead, Burr invites visitors to inhale puffs of scented air so that they can experience each fragrance without predetermined ideas.

At each station, you can push of a button to release each scent from a diffusion machine that dissipates almost as quick as the nose can take it in. Instantly, you’re forced to take in the aromas, which range from raw materials such as myrrh (what, no gold or frankincense? It’s Christmas!) to composed fragrances such as La Vie Est Belle, a 2012 Lancôme fragrance created by noses Anne Flipo, Dominique Ropion and Olivier Polge. You’ll also catch whiffs of Giorgio Beverly Hills, Drakkar Noir and more. And to answer that first question we posed, the very first perfume is credited as being Hungary Water, dating back to 1370. In addition to sniffing each fragrance, you’ll learn about individual ingredients that compose a perfume, the art of scent blending and come out with whole new appreciation for that bottle of ck one you’ve got stashed away.

“Timeless Scents: 1370 to 2013” is free to the public at the Wallis Annenberg Center, 9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills. www.thewallis.org

Images courtesy WireImage

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Author:Christopher Luu for Fashion Trends Daily

Christopher Luu is a Fashion Trends Daily Senior Writer and Menswear Editor.