Or the two of you, in black capes and manly hats (a nod to Djuna Barnes and Thelma Wood), walking hand-in-hand down the boulevard.
̶ My loss, Marietta, my loss. But I’ll get over it! I’m working on a new project.
̶ Great. What is it?
̶ I’ve been commissioned to design a perfume bottle.
̶ It’s for Leonora. They’re launching a new scent, Demoiselle de la nuit.
̶ What’s it like?
̶ Wonderfully perverse! A mixture of masculine and feminine, woody patchouli and white floral, with blackcurrant, lime, and a touch of liquorice. And—here’s the real kicker—something overripe and perfectly louche!
̶ I like it! And the bottle, will it be louche too?
̶ Louche, no. Erotic, yes!
Your eyes sparkle.
̶ Tell me more!
̶ I first toyed with the idea of a bottle that goes against the scent. You know, something for prim girls in glasses.
̶ Who go wild at night?
̶ Like Riva! Héloïse jumps in.
Riva whirls her head wildly, then pulls a prim, perfectly straight face. Everybody laughs.
̶ As it turned out, Marketing didn’t like that idea. Then I took the opposite tack—baroque and humorous, in the spirit of Ladies Almanack.
Djuna Barnes—the slow narcotic of Nightwood, the anatomy of love: through a black diamond, lucidly.
̶ You know, tipping the velvet, tongue in cheek.
The joyful wit of her Vanity Fair portrait, white wine with Joyce at the Deux Magots.
̶ In a word, louche, but ironic.