"How do you capture the scent of nothing, the ambience of silence? This was the challenge set to perfumer Lyn Harris by Jane Birkin, actress, singer, icon and keeper of the sacred Serge Gainsbourg flame. Jane wanted something that represented an essence of quietude, hints of weary books, dust and loved skin, closeness and distance. The result, L’Air de Rien, literally The Essence of Nothing, is a masterpiece of modern perfumery, one of the most enigmatic constructions skin can wear. It is difficult to imagine how Lyn managed to create something that smells so awkwardly complex and yet somehow so graceful and flawless.
L’Air de Rien is a fascinating composition, a mix of English resolve and privacy boldly illuminated with Parisian grace and savoir-faire. The perfume’s moreish eccentricity is one of hazy playful androgyny mingled with the sleek couture dazzle of starlets and paparazzi. It is a perfume of closeness, privacy, valuing a few beautiful worn things, but aware too of the allure of a hand-stitched couture jacket. Old white sports shoes, same style, bought over and over. Reading books in sun and dancing motes of dust, hair piled up, held in place with a pencil. A wooden floor has an ashtray, incense dust and china tea cups tipped in their mismatched saucers. Here in this space, surrounded by old pages, faded magazines, notes and letters, the occasional buzz and ping of a smartphone, photographs of children, lovers and family you are everything and nothing. "