The hours just before dawn are full of magic. The Sun wavers below the horizon, its initial hints of light coloring the world around us in subtle shades of blue and grey — l’heure bleu as the French call it. In 1955, Frank Sinatra recorded his studio album In the Wee Small Hours to celebrate this flair of delicious sensibility and flickering ambiguity.
During the blue hour, it’s easy to vacillate between the happy and sad from one moment to the next, warm memories of a long-gone love drifting into a poignant loneliness. For our latest SCENTURY series, we asked Milan photographer Massimo Bianchi — celebrated for his stunning fashion still lifes — to visually translate the notes and words of Sinatra’s enduring masterpiece. Bianchi teamed up with the talented stylists from Stilemastudio to bring us the evocative result: delicate threads of color woven into an olfactive fabric of blue and grey. Enjoy!
PHOTOGRAPHY: Massimo Bianchi
Smells so Sinatra to me!
01. Acqua di Parma: Colonia Leather
Last Night When We Were Young
Last night when we were young
Love was a star, a song unsung
Life was so new, so real, so bright
Ages ago, last night.
—Songwriters: E. Y. Harburg / Harold Arlen
PERFUMER: François Demachy
02. Bottega Veneta: Parco Palladiano X Olivo
When Your Lover Has Gone
What lonely hours, the evening shadows bring
What lonely hours, with memories lingering
Like faded flowers, life can’t mean anything
When your lover has gone.
—Songwriter: Einer Aaron Swan
PERFUMER: Amandine Clerc-Marie
03. Farmacia SS. Annunziata: Hyle // 04. Ghost Nose: Etherno // 05. Parco 1923: Parco 1923
Dancing on the Ceiling
At night I creep in bed
And never sleep in bed
But look above in the air
And to my greatest joy, my love is there.
—Songwriter: Lorenz Hart
Farmacia SS Annunziata: Hyle
Ghost Nose: Etherno
Parco 1923: Parco 1923
PERUMER: Luca Maffei
04. Laboratorio Olfattivo: MyLO
Deep in a Dream
I dim all the lights and I sink in my chair
The smoke from my cigarette climbs through the air
The walls of my room fade away in the blue
And I’m deep in a dream of you.
—Songwriter: Jimmy Van Heusen
PERFUMER: Luca Maffei
05. Versace: Eros
I See Your Face Before Me
I see your face before me
Crowding my every dream
There is your face before me
You are my only theme.
—Songwriter: Howard Dietz
PERFUMER: Aurelien Guichard
06. The Merchant of Venice: Noble Potion
In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
You’d be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
That’s the time you miss her most of all.
—Songwriters: David Mann & Bob Hilliard
07. Nasomatto: Baraonda
In I Get Along Without You Very Well
I get along without you very well
Of course I do
Except when soft rains fall
And drip from leaves, then I recall
The thrill of being sheltered in your arms.
—Songwriter: Hoagy Carmichael
PERFUMER: Alessandro Gualtieri
If you enjoyed our olfactive Bauhaus tribute you might also like this art-inspired still life series.