Rogers and Astaire
Not the cute pairings of masculines with feminines worn by couples. What I mean by perfume couples, are scents in your wardrobe which you know will form a stable partnership with at least one other perfume you own. Maybe that might strike some people as odd, but I have done this for years.
Bear with me. Fond as I am of the fragrance wardrobe concept, I tend to change it seasonally or even monthly, and usually in this way, morning or daytime scent with evening or afternoon one. If you use two perfumes from the same house it’s often easier to pull off since they frequently share a base. Right now I’ve done this with Le Temps d’un Fete and Vanille Tonka from de Nicolai. They play off one another extremely well and can be worn for a month or so at a time. You feel like you have choice but also harmony and some familiarity. Try this with any maker, from DS and Durga to Estee Lauder, the only common point being a house signature.Since the idea is not layering per se here(although you can try that) but to wear both in the same day with one perfume giving out as the other takes over and the overlap smelling wonderful. Continue reading
Sciaparelli’s Mr Satan at her front door
The story goes that the designer Schiaparelli had two Venetian carved figures on either side of her front door in Paris in the thirties. They were human scale but carved out of wood and had cloven hooves, so some wag on his way in to a Schiaparelli party dubbed them Mr and Mrs Satan.
Schiaparelli had a distinctive taste, but when it comes to red hot and devilish fun, I can understand it. My own fondness is for any kind of red hot scent. I really will go out of my way for peppers, or cinnamon, or carnation (provided it’s good and spicy) and cloves, so it can’t be any surprise that one of my long term loves in the perfume world is Caron’s Poivre. Continue reading
Ever since the famous study about moths and railway soot in the mid-nineteenth century England, it has been apparent that evolution proceeds not at a steady pace, but in bounds. Things don’t just go along at a predictable pace, they leap forward and then step backwards.
It’s the same way with perfume. Whenever something new and wonderful comes along, it does so when you were least expecting magic.
L’Accord 119 from Caron is one such event. When the scent was released a couple of years ago it was reviewed and briefly talked about as interesting, the more so since it was a fruity floral, but then the subject of 119 was dropped. Evidently among the perfume smelling and buying classes, it was not a hit. Continue reading
Then there is the perfume in which the whole spicy carnation floweriness I have been writing about sinks in a morass of heavier, hotter materials like a bouquet in a lava flow. The one time floral composition becomes an oriental and a heated one at that. This is what happens in Caron’s Poivre from 1954. The perfume belongs to that group of Caron compositions done after the death of the house’s founder Ernest Daltroff in 1940. Daltroff’s companion and business partner Felicie Vanpouille was still in charge at Caron and she employed the perfumer Michel Morsetti as in- house talent( he had been Daltroff’s assistant.)
When Caron’s Parfum Sacre first came out in 1990, I did not like it at all. It was, to give me some modicum of credit, not the same perfume that it is today. It was much, much stronger, and in a perfume guide from 1993, the sole notation I wrote about it is: ooph. Monstre Sacre!
This is really getting to the heart of the matter, because the perfume was made in order to attract attention. The original version was a show-boater of a scent, designed for maximum olfactory impact in the way that something along the lines of Flowerbomb is today. Never being a fan of the overly emphatic scent, I avoided it.