One of the best things about spring and early summer is the smells.
Honeysuckle, lavender, gardenia … mmm. Besides encouraging my obsession for flowers,
the scents of the season have kick-started a bit of a love affair with women's fragrances for me.
In the past, I was always a one-bottle-babe. I thought of perfume as part of my identity, like skin
tone or eye color. As in "I'm fair, brown-eyed and I wear L'Air du Temps". But these days I'm not so
conventional. Or better yet, not so boring. A woman has more than one point of view, more than one
mood. Mademoiselle cannot live on Chanel No. 5 alone! Fortunately, there are a bevy of talented
perfumers available to muse our muzzles. Fresh, floral, earthy or exotic – whatever your essence –
there's a scent to describe your internal allure and intoxicate your senses. Bottle-up and be amazing.
The fabrication of fragrances dates back to ancient Egypt.
This Etruscan vessel is a perfume vase. Designers take note.
In addition to my standard Coco by Chanel, I acquired three new fragrances this year.
Calypso Figue by Christiane Celle, Brigitte by Tocca and Sole 149 by Pucci – a birthday
gift from a girlfriend. Beyond the scents themselves, I like that I can change them up
and layer them according to my mood and my adventures for the day.
Four classics from the first half of the twentieth century that are still popular, still chic.
Chanel No. 5 (1921), Arpège (1927), Acqua di Parma (1930) & Fracas (1948).
I’m intrigued by the ad for Balenciaga’s new fragrance. It speaks to a cultivated and
sophisticated aesthetic that appreciates the contrast of textures, eras and styles.
It’s described as a muted scent of soft violet with a woodsy-musky base.
Speaking of advertising, how does one sell a smell? Clearly, it’s all about the power of the
image. If I wear perfume ABC by company XYZ, I will be beautiful/sexy/desirable, etc.
Below are some memorable ads from recent years and the impressions they left upon me.
L’EAU AMBRÉE by Prada
– warm, sensual and modern –
ETERNITY MOMENT by Calvin Klein
– men will fall in love with you –
FLOWER BOMB by Viktor & Rolf
– feminine but powerful –
JUICY COUTURE PERFUME by Juicy Couture
– for the social deb with a wild side –
CB I Hate Perfume is the brainchild of Christopher Brosius. He creates fragrances based on moments
and experiences. I’m dying to try In the Library, Russian Caravan Tea and Fire From Heaven. His
concept “scent is life” is brilliantly simple. You have to love a guy who studied the arts at Carnegie
Mellon, Columbia and Parsons, drove a taxi in New York, went on to work for Kiehl’s and says things
like “People who smell like everyone else disgust me.” Cool, irreverent and scary-talented. Love him!
Fragrances for the home have become as popular as fragrances for the body. They’re another
way for us to express who we are and share what inspires us. I love Antica Farmacista's
products. I discovered their Vanilla, Bourbon & Mandarin room diffuser a few years ago.
It’s absolutely delicious and is my home’s secret weapon. Shhhh.
Aedes de Venustas is another favorite source of mine (I can’t believe I’m giving away
all my secrets!). I find amazing fragrances for myself and for friends and family.
Boule d’Ambre by L’Artisan Perfumer. Amber crystals encased in a terracotta sphere.
I have the Odalisque candle by Cire Trudon in my bedroom. Its notes of citrus, wood bark and
orange blossom are sexy and comforting and not overwhelming next to my bed. The company
was founded in 1643 and developed scents for the Court of Versailles and Napoleon.
A simple but amazing gift for that special someone? Primavera room spray from Santa Maria Novella.
It is said to capture the scents of a Tuscan garden in spring – cherry blossoms, gardenia and dogwood.
Heavenly! Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and was
established in 1221 by Dominican Fathers. I would also love to buy their Caprifoglio eau de cologne –
a unisex fragrance with the essence of honeysuckle. Those monks knew what they were doing!
And not exactly old compared to the scents above, but nonetheless “vintage”.
These oldies-but-goodies were favorites in their respective eras.
OBSESSION by Calvin Klein
– you’re an elusive and enigmatic muse –
This commercial looked like the celluloid love child of John Pawson and M.C. Escher.
But I did love the tagline – "Ahhh, the smell of it."
ENJOLI by Charles of the Ritz/Revlon
– for the wife/corporate go-getter/sexpot who’s kickin’ ass and takin’ names –
I loved this ad when I was a little girl. I know, not surprising ; )
It’s incredible, isn’t it, that we can wear so much history and inspiration on our skin?!
Fragrance is a magical part of nature … of life. Just remember, use it in moderation.
You want to beguile and entice, not overwhelm or offend!