It seems appropriate to quote Nancy Reagan now. She is credited with observing that women were like tea bags, you could never tell how strong one was until she got into hot water. Some women are so strong, or at any rate their personalities are so strong, that you don’t need the hot water at all and can sun brew them.
Such was the case with my own mother whose personality was of the expansive sort, and I’ve known plenty of women since who were larger than life. I’m speaking of the personality here mind you, not the character. Character is different. Largely self constructed a structure that goes up with labor over decades and has little to do with personality. Put it this way, personality you are born with, character you make yourself, it’s akin to the difference between beauty and style.
Anyway this post may get me into some hot water myself for the simple reason that is an unscientific observation of mine over time that the sort of woman who adores lily of the valley and wears it as a signature is almost always possessed of a strong personality. Codswallop? Possibly, but pop psychologists have always tried to find correlations between scents and their wearers.
“Psychologists have studied the links between characters and odors, “write Elizabeth Barille and Catherine Laroze, in The Book of Perfume,”and from their findings it appears that fresh, floral notes with immediate charm, such as Christian Dior’s Diorissimo, appeal to extrovert, audacious personalities…” Hm, well, let’s just say that I had noticed this myself over a number of years, and wondered about the link.
My Mother began by wearing Tabu which was something I remember from earliest childhood and not happily. I liked lots of things about my mother but not the way she smelled. She was not as addicted as a friend of my Mother in Law’s from Pittsburgh who craved Tabu so much that literally her whole house reeked of it (she sprayed it on curtains and lamps as well as herself evidently). For the record my Mother never sprayed anything on a light bulb, but she did like her Tabu and my Father made repeated efforts to wean her off it. Fidji as I recall and Arpege (which he liked because he liked anything with a smidge of vanilla, and I guess she didn’t) finally someone introduced her to Diorissimo.
Instant hit with her and I thought it was wonderful, but like her, expansive. You could always tell when my mother was at home because you could smell Diorissimo and as my Hub put it, “The house hums.”
She was not the only strong personality I’ve known who wore it, teachers, the odd neighbor and a relative, all of them quite strong personalities wore either Diorissimo, or in one case the Caron Muguet de Bonheur. What is it about Lilies of the Valley? I can’t think. In the garden they appear angelic and smell like heaven but have root systems like steel wool and are the devil to dig out or move. This probably accounts for the respectful not to say, distant relationship I’ve had with Lilies of the Valley all these years. I don’t grow them (though I should) and when it comes right down to it, and we’re talking about the evening air of May, I prefer Lilac which is maybe a tad more nostalgic and a bit less bracing.
Anyway I don’t seem to have the stuff that makes a Diorissimo wearer. The closest I could ever come was a strange old green perfume of de Nicolai’s called Eclipse which was basil and lilies of the valley and licorice, not at all in the Diorissimo mode. Could you ever wear Lilies of the Valley,or did someone you know? I wonder if the correlation holds?