Téhéran pour Femme Leila Hatami
Dreaming of freedom...
In 2014 she greeted her colleagues in Cannes with kisses à la française and was severely reprimanded by official politicians in Iran. Unfortunately, these fossilized guardians of morals believe that only they have the right to decide what a woman is allowed to do.
Those who are familiar with the outstanding Iranian film d'auteur have certainly come across Leila Hatami already.
Since you cannot dress and stage Iranian actresses in such striking ways common in free societies and always have to obey the Islamic dress code, facial expressions are so important in Iranian cinema.
Here Hatami proves to be a master of her trade. She is an excellent actress.
But does she also know something about fragrances?
In order to create a fragrance, you need a company in the background, perfumers, not actors.
Shortly after the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran, there was a positive atmosphere of optimism in the country. It was in this context that the idea of working together with a French company and Robertet emerged, who took Leila Hatami on board as the face for two new fragrances.
There were many other ideas for further fascinating cooperations - but -
enter Donald Trump... and you all know the result of the story.
The Téhéran - Fragrances are more or less a relic of this short "awakening phase".
(By the way, the men's fragrance seemed very promising when I tested it in October at the perfumery Safir in Tehran. It is a pleasantly spicy and aromatic scent.)
I immediately bought the women's fragrance because I wanted a souvenir that reminded me of my fascinating journey to Iran.
In contrast to most Arab countries, which are politically hostile to Iran, Iran has no perfume industry worth mentioning.
There are very few home-grown products, and although there is a fantastic rose oil production and rose water is a component of many Persian dishes, there is no genuine Iranian perfume company.
A cooperation with France etc. would have been gorgeous and a win-win-situation for both countries. But unfortunately, those projects had to be put on the backburner again.
So I was lucky to be able to buy Leila Hatami's perfume in the country itself.
I don't want to go into further detail about the political situation in Iran, do not actually want to talk about the complete shutdown of the Internet in the whole country (a few weeks ago!), the brutal murder of demonstrators on the street...alas, but one thing is for sure:
life in this country is hard and dangerous (unless you are one of the "rich kids of Tehran" or a religious hardliner).
Normal, average people there are desperate. It's dramatic.
But the regime does allow distraction...
and there seems to be nothing Iranian women would rather enjoy than talking about beauty, fashion and perfumes. Nowhere else in the world so much money is spent on make-up as in Iran.
Islam explicitly encourages women to prepare themselves for their husbands by dressing up, applying perfume etc.
There is no harsh banishing of an opulent French perfume or hiding it in the back drawer, on the contrary. Very strong, heady fragrances are popular and sell well.
Leila Hatami's Eau de Parfum is also remarkably strong and initially reminded me of the great blockbusters of recent years, such as "La Vie est belle" and "Flowerbomb".
Those are not my favourites at all, hence my initial disappointment.
But after a while, when the fragrance has settled, a beautiful patchouli note comes out, skilfully blended with a gourmand touch. The flowers and fruits take a back seat, the fragrance becomes more classic.
You can feel the handwriting of the skillfull French developers of Robertet.
I was able to purchase 100 ml for the equivalent of 32 Euro. But as inflation continues to rise, the price is likely to be out of date today. (You might also try your luck and order the fragrance online in France!)
Just to put things into perspective: A school teacher in Iran earns about 250 Euro per month.
Leila Hatami's fragrance is currently a bestseller in the shops (I enquired).
The beautiful and astute actress embodies the longing for a normal life in freedom. She is an emancipated woman who, in spite of the criticism she encounters on the part of the regime, did not apologize for doing what she considered normal in front of the camera in Cannes, namely pressing a little kiss on the cheek of a colleague.
Those who wear Leila's "Téhéran" bring a little hope (and resistance!) into the world...
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