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
Currier and Ives
Hobble gobble seems to be the motto of every Us citizen on November 27th. Some of us even run marathons first in order to justify all that subsequent eating- the hub did once in Atlanta. But I’m not in the marathon running business, and in order to keep the gluttony down to liveable levels- because I don’t intend to go up a dress size- I sometimes wear my desserts instead of ingesting them. 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
One of the Hub’s guilty television pleasures is Heat Seekers, a little program in which two chefs go in search of incendiary food all over the US map. Roger Mooking and Aaron Sanchez can take on just about anything measured by the Scoville Scale, up to and including the dreaded Ghost Chili.
The Hub who is extremely fond of a good dose of chemical heat in his food, finds in the program pleasure by proxy. He himself cannot take things quite as fiery as all that. I know, because of an unfortunate experiment in cooking that involved a super hot South American pork stew some years ago. Five bites in and the Hub’s throat barred access to his stomach. He claims that it had been a glorious five bites before indigestion called a halt to the whole operation, but he still likes to watch other guys break into a sweat over a bowl of chili. Continue reading
Once in an idle interval, I remember toting up all the perfumes worn by every member of my extended family according to scent families. An idiotic little game of parallelisms and no doubt OCD as all get out, but bear with me.
What I discovered was that of about a dozen of us, only one of us wore Orientals, and that was my Mom with…drum roll… Tabu.
Even Chypres were better represented (by me), but of Orientals there were, well, only that one .
Why was that? Now that there are more of us, and several of us are a good deal younger than the original test sample, I find the exact same thing. The ladies in my family wear fruity florals, and aldehydic florals and the odd citrus perfume but now, only one Oriental, namely Poivre, worn by me. No one else wears them at all. 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.)
Is certainly blood, in whatever form, followed by certain flowers. While living in Vermont, I once grew a hybrid tea called Precious Platinum that, despite the name, was anything but silver. Platinum was a saturated scarlet, so intensely red that a local boy stopped by the garden one day and successfully petitioned for a rose to take to his girl with whom he’d had a fight.
I never heard if they made it up, but he couldn’t have found a redder rose if he’d trekked from one end of the state to the other. That rose, that particular rose, was the epitome of redness.
How do you interpret the phrase Dragon Lady? Is it the vamp of the 40’s B movies in her skin tight re-interpretation of the cheongsam, or is it the lady simply born in the Year of the Dragon?
If the latter, you’re probably not really looking for the sexy perfume, you’re probably looking for the perfume that smells the way that dragons would smell.
But now that we’re on the subject, how do dragons smell? J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit suggests that the smell was anything but nice; that is, if the phrase “vast reek” is anything to go by.