Perfume Sins

Some scents just won’t charm other people

If you asked me this a few years ago I would have agreed but reluctantly that some perfume wearing is just in bad taste.  Perfume is something that has only recently become discussion worthy. Perfumes The Guide came out ten years ago and compared to all the preceding years when perfumes were neither discussed nor assessed, that’s a very short time.  I remember decades when it was very difficult to find out anything at all about perfume and what little I did discover came from reading: Edmond Roudnitska, Elizabeth Barille, Michael Edwards,even Jean Pierre Coffe, who as I recall Le Bon Vivre, did not think much of Cartier’s Le Panthere.

In the interim there has been an explosion of discussions online.  You have websites devoted to perfume, online magazines, a plethora of blogs, and still consensus is rare.  Most of the discussion is counteracted by the industry which remains secretive, almost furtive, and self contradictory in its aims. It’s certainly not clear that the perfume makers want to produce quality.  What they want to produce is something highly profitable, and the parameters of what constitutes a reasonable profit seem to expand all the time.  It’s now axiomatic that packaging costs far more than content.  Should it?  This product is largely water anyway. Continue reading

Shared Atmospheres

Atmospheres we enjoy

Atmospheres we enjoy

The end of the twentieth century was very concerned with clear atmospheres.  This was probably because of crowding in public spaces which I suppose also meant crowded air.  Perfume and cigarettes, those two great offenders, were sometimes banned, although the evidence that perfume harmed anyone was extremely spotty.  Still what it meant for me was caution. Now I do not wear perfume anywhere that contains a large number of people e.g. airplanes, offices, restaurants, theaters.  What’s left?

Here’s the odd part.  I used to like shared atmosphere as a child.  I enjoyed going to church and huffing whatever the lady in the fur wrap was wearing.  My mom’s Tabu I  avoided but when she changed to Fidji, that was quite another matter. Women on subway trains trailed something cheap and cheerful like Friendship Garden (essentially a knock off of No 5) or later there was Coty’s Sweet Earth series and patchouli made the nearness of hippie chicks bearable. Continue reading