Claude LeCoq published his first book, The Soft Lawn, in 1916 while still attending Princeton University. A controversial portrait of adolescent upper-class rebellion in New England, the coming-of-age story follows Hampton Perry, a charmingly snotty college tennis champ who, after years of having everything handed to him on a silver platter, finds himself handing it all back.
(***A little known fact about the author: Claude LeCoq wore only seersucker suits, known in that era as the wardrobe of the poor, and it was his gallant presence at high society dinners and prestigious sporting events that brought the fabric into popularity among the affluent in the `20s.)
A strange, softly entrancing fragrance, The Soft Lawn unfolds on skin like an ideal vision tinged with the perfect, slanting light of a late, autumn afternoon.
Linden blossom blooms, an almond-like sweetness tinged with the fresh vivacity of galbanum. If linden blossom is the fresh, romantic component in this scent, laurel leaves strike a more serious tone, its matte, concentrated verdancy reinforced by the slightly collegiate, acid humor of ivy, which climbs down into the darker depths of The Soft Lawn, with athletic prowess.
Vetiver receives this combination of soft blossom and crisp leaf cooly, integrating their stark, simple beauty into its own (more complex) grandeur. Sparkling and dim, vetiver is a spicy, earthen effect that is as rousing as the promise of a one on one contest--or the allure of a courtside gin and tonic, depending on one`s investment in competition.
Whether you want to play the game or observe the taut seesaw of tension, the pleasure of either role is expressed through a thoughtfully deployed oakmoss, whose rich, lace-like construction sits on skin at the precise degree where elegance, ambition and fascination collide.
As fresh tennis balls burst through the sparkling fall air, their rubbery alacrity makes us feel flexible and game for whatever challenges may come our way. The red dust of a clay court flutters as each ball skids and spins across its surface, and its unctuous, faintly damp fragrance is delightfully rich, if agreeably diffuse.
A reimagining of sporty fragrances, The Soft Lawn reflects an intelligent, refined sportsmanship; in tennis, as in life, brains are just as, if not more important, than brawn.
Notes: Linden Blossom, Laurel Leaves, Ivy Leaves, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Fresh Tennis Balls, Clay Court.