Isn’t that peculiar, isn’t that abnormal, for a perfume enthusiast? I’ve worn just about everything else, but for some obscure reason, hardly ever a Chanel. The closest I came was a bottle of Coco, and a bottle of No 19 bath mousant given me for Christmas once. Used up both, did not replace either, that must say something about Chanel, personal aesthetics and moi, probably in that order, namely that they have a style, it is pronounced, and I don’t get it.
This may be a familial glitch, because my sister doesn’t get it either. Neither one of us have worn Chanel for long, and both of us are slightly leery of the customary Chanel aldehyde blends. The result seems to be that my sister simply dislikes Chanel, and to me, the perfumes are impressive, but my admiration is expressed from a safe distance.
What makes this odder still, is that they all smell lovely to me on other people, but don’t attract me personally. Well, ok, last year Bois des Isles made a trip down the shore with me, and we staggered out of the car at our point of destination, Bois and I, the one thoroughly disheveled on my skin, a hodge-podge of soggy sandalwood and curdled aldehydes that smelled like buttermilk going off, and the other quite green with nausea from smelling it. Everyone else wearing Bois des Isles smells good, but for me, Sonoma Scent Studios Champagne de Bois is much better. The result is that I never take Chanels on car trips, or indeed any other trips.
Now the quality of Chanels is not at issue here because they make excellent fragrances, among the very best on the market, but you have to be a Chanel sort of person to wear them. They remind me of an Indian friend I had in high school, who would, once a month or so, show up to classes in a sari. She immediately acquired a stately step and when I asked about the change in gait, the slow-down from, say, jeans, she replied, ”My mother says you have to be a lady in a sari.”
You may not have to be a lady exactly to wear Chanels , but you do have to have a high inner chic quotient. Everything from Coco Mademoiselle to the latest bottle of Coromandel, requires either femininity, or else elegance to pull off.
The golden incense of No 22? Femininity. The jasmine/aldehydes of No 5? Elegance. The Iris/wood/citrus of 31 Rue Cambon, elegance. Bois des Isles sandalwood, and champagne aldehydes, definitely elegance. Even things like Gardenia and Beige want you to be all woman or else all soigne all the time. Put a gun to my head, and I’ll hot foot it out of the Chanel Boutique clutching a bottle of the Cologne, which is not very much like a Chanel in the first place, you must admit, but will steer clear of everything else, even Pour Monsieur.
Will this ever change? Probably not, because to wear Chanel, like Valentino clothes, you must be either a lady or otherwise dandified. You cannot yap and bounce like a terrier let off the leash, which – and I regret to say this – is about as dignified as it ever gets for me.