James Abbott Macneil
There are a lot of scents out there these days which strike me as only one part of a perfume. Alaia which I have been smelling round me on scent strips (from Saks) is certainly one of them. I’m kind of amused that many bloggers think that it’s a wonderful modern perfume. Alaia’s the coda to a modern perfume. There’s no heart, and no beginning, you could call this linear but there isn’t enough of a high note to pull you in. It’s a base.
Alaia smells totally synthetic and there is something dark and tarry that I remember from the days when I was toying with Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend (remember that? No?) and from Estee Lauder’s Sensuous Noir, although that had more of a presence than Alaia. Continue reading
Sometimes I think that the first perfumer anyone who is interested in perfume learns about is Germaine Cellier (1909-1976?). This figures, because she was such a glamorous entity. There she is, in black and white photos, wearing her well-fitted tailleurs like armor, usually with a cigarette clamped between her first two fingers. The story goes, that she was lesbian, witty, the friend of Jean Cocteau, and very talented. Then there’s the fact that she’s credited with the most memorable Robert Piguet perfumes – Bandit (1944) and Fracas (1945) and some Balmains: Vent Vert (1947) , Jolie Madame (1953), Monsieur Balmain (1964) as well as Coeur Joie for Nina Ricci in (1946). That’s a lot of hits for a single career.
The one that people struggle with these days is Bandit. I’ve read the reviews. Everyone thinks that Bandit’s dark, difficult, a bad girl scent, even a scrubber. Old lady comments seem to drop off, since I guess that even contemporary sniffers suspect this perfume saw more action than World War Two, and indeed, Bandit was worn by Marlene Dietrich, so probably did. Continue reading