Are there people who wear Fracas straight through from the Junior Prom until the Heavenly Rest Funeral Home? I’ll bet that there are. I can’t remember a time when Fracas wasn’t part of the crowd on any perfume counter. It was also a staple south of the Mason-Dixon Line, there is just something about Fracas that appeals to the most feminine women in the world, some of whom are from the southern US.
It’s the tuberose in Fracas that creates the ruckus in the first place. Tuberoses speak in a big unapologetic voice about mating, and they get even huskier voiced and more come hither at night, and are often used in moon gardens, which 19th century ladies roamed in order to preserve their complexions from the sun. It calls up the irresistible image of Mae West vamping her way up and down a gravel path somewhere, about equally lethal to her lovers and their bank accounts.
If there was ever a negative connotation about tuberoses (and therefore Fracas) it probably came from their use at the aforementioned Funeral Homes. “Tuberoses,” Tovah Martin writes in The Essence of Paradise, “always seemed to turn up at funerals. They were as conspicuous as calla lilies at gravesites.”
Is this true? Are tuberoses in fact the flowers of love and death? Are we looking for biological perpetuation and extinction at the same time in this one little flower? Or are we just looking for love in all the wrong places- as per usual? Martin goes on to say that since gladiolus turns up at funerals in stead of tuberoses, their rehabilitation has begun. But for southern women, Fracas, like the tuberoses they can grow in their gardens till October, never went out of style. I can count on it, every time I visit Savannah as a fixture of the atmosphere, even at a brew pub lunch.
Fracas, however, was never small or shy. The term sillage monster might have been coined for it. Actually Fracas has an olfactory tail coiling along behind it rather than a sillage, a tail almost as large as Nagini’s, and similarly capable of knocking a grown man off his feet. This, potentially anyhow, is where Petit Fracas might wriggle in.
Petit is smaller than Fracas, and it’s sweeter. The beginning is a typical fruity composition: pear, bergamot, mandarin orange, only then do you have tuberose, gardenia and jasmine and the base is sandalwood, musk and chocolate. The chocolate note, I ought to say, is perceptible from the beginning, if you don’t like white flowers and chocolates, you won’t like Petit. But it does do a fairly good job of bringing Fracas up to date. That is, if you feel that Fracas needs updating, or if you feel dated wearing it. My guess is that if you are a serious Fracas fan you will not like it, but that if you’re not, and you like fruity florals, then Petit may be for you.
The other possibility is to use PF in the morning, when Fracas itself, the old tuberose typhoon is too much for you, your yoghurt, and your granola. Then Petit might come into its own. I can see it with a latte, actually. Maybe even two.