Imagine sitting under the moonlight surrounded by overflowing vines loaded with nighttime blooms. A soft breeze rustles through leaves and tickles petals from their open blossoms. A minute later a warm rush of honey, rip figs, and anise fills the air. Immediately you want to wrap yourself in this decadent scent of earthly delights and bask in it until the sun rises.
Welcome to the evocative world of Tal Shpantzer, a long time Greenpoint resident whose photo exploration of the dark feminine mystic and fragrance play out in real life.
Some of you might recognize Shpantzer’s photography which has cropped up on HBO’s hit show True Detective, Vogue, and recently on this site. One look at this work and you’ll see there is more than meets the image; Tal has an enviable way of making women look and now smell deliciously sexy. But what started as a photographer’s fascination between women’s relationships to flowers took her to places even she couldn’t imagine.
After years spent capturing women’s portraits and exotic flowers for her latest book called the Petal Series, Shpantzer entered the world of perfume and found it a natural fit. Together with her partner and perfumer, Stephen Dirkes, she has bottled up her evocative realm of flowers into a fragrance called PÉTALES. Lucky for us, the pair are letting us slip into their sexy world of nocturnal blooms to experience this enchanting new perfume for ourselves.
One spritz and I couldn’t stop smelling myself.
When asked about her experience of bridging her camera work to a fragrance Shpantzer remarked, “Bringing a two-dimensional surface, a photograph, into the world of scent was a challenge. Tailored to the scents I love and my amnesia-enhanced scent memories, PÉTALES, is deeply connected to both my personal history and the scents I find compelling. Years in the making, PÉTALES has been a labor of love.”
At the age of sixteen Shpantzer was involved in a motorcycle accident. The trauma resulted in an amnesia and hyperosmia, a condition that gives her an enhanced sense of smell. This heightened sense coupled with Shpantzer’s eye for capturing beautiful imagery helped inspire Stephen Dirkes—creator of the Greenpoint-based fragrance company Euphorium Brooklyn—to step away from his deeper, more musky blends, and help concoct a floral perfume to complement her photography series.
“Tal’s photos created a new way for me to regard and approach the idea of creating a floral perfume. I was inspired by the images and the dark, moody, complex world of light, shadow, context and communication they evoke. I tried to capture how a series of works can present many individual iterations of an idea to achieve a universal expression through presenting a bouquet of many floral notes.”
Combining the best of their talents, PÉTALES was born and the result is nothing short of luxurious. With hints of orchids, jasmine and geranium, PÉTALES floral notes slowly shift over time. After hours of wear, the perfume had taken on a velvety mixture of pepper with mentions of balsam wood and vanilla musk—the perfect lure when a lover graces the nape of your neck with their lips at the end of the night.
Each bottle of PÉTALES is handcrafted in Brooklyn and sold exclusively at the fragrance boutique Twisted Lily. For more information about Tal Shpantzer’s ongoing Petal Series or where to order her upcoming photography book, visit her website for more details.