Hello, darlings! As you know, there are some fragrances of which one whiff is enough to make you want to vomit (EldO’s Secretions Magnifique springs immediately to mind.) There are other fragrances that are, in some way, reminiscent of actual vomit. (Oh, look, it must be March posting today…) For me, as many of you know, one such fragrance is the ubiquitous Angel, which is redolent of the smell of upchuck after your kid’s eaten a little too much of the Easter Basket. I think that choco-vanilla-patch combo is one of the most disgusting smells ever concocted by a legit perfumer, and Angel’s vast popularity continues to baffle me. (Angel lovers, don’t bother flaming me. Look, I love Light Blue. And Dior Addict. Obviously I have no taste at all.)
Another category of sick-making fragrances is typified by the spice-market scents, and I happen to be quite fond of those. Those of you who aren’t fond of them really, really hate them – they are, I suppose, The Souk Threw Up On Me. Get Melissa started on Laura Mercier’s fall LE, Minuit Enchante, which she found anything but enchanting. She couldn’t get that thing off her fast enough, although, unfortunately, Minuit Enchante isn’t in any hurry to leave. It would be a fantastic/terrible scrubber. I bought a bottle. I looooove eeeeet. I love that screechy agarwood at the bottom, and all those yummy spices at the top. Everyone stayed far, far away from it at my perfume party. Melissa probably begged them not to touch it.
Daphne, the new fragrance by Daphne Guinness (who I am pretty sure is an heir to the Guinness fortune, yes?) was done by Antoine Lie for Comme des Garcons. Notes are bitter orange, incense, saffron, Centifolia rose, Tunisian jasmine, tuberose, iris, patchouli, aoud, amber and vanilla. It is decidedly in the spice-market category, where there is no such thing as Too Much (and correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s sort of the impression I get of ol’ Daphne.) At $150 for 50 ml it is expensive-ish, but since you’re not talking about real money any more until you hit $250, I guess it’s not ridiculously priced. Also, is it just me, or does reading someone described as a “muse” make your eyes roll back in your head reflexively?
Melissa gave me her sample vial, with her blessings and strict orders never to spray it anywhere near her again.
Two sprays of Daphne is probably one spray too much, this thing is huge. And for the first thirty minutes, it’s nothing but love – it reminded me quite a bit of Bal a Versailles, the parfum, overlayed with something containing even more candied sweetness. I thought it was kind of a riot, although – WARNING – then I went through a ten-minute phase in there of almost total anosmia, but it’s there, people! Please, for the love of God and other humans, don’t reapply! I was in touch with Daphne then, I was digging her, I was feeling her hippy-dippy Morocco vibe. I was sort of channeling that other heiress who used to swan around Marrakesh all the time in her fabulous caftans … Talitha Getty?
And then things started to come apart, and then turn ugly, in a way that was fascinating but I can’t quite bear to repeat. Daphne got bigger and bigger and bigger, like a Macy’s parade float, while at the same time it stretched and stretched until all the interesting bits – the candied part, the bitter orange, a great leather-glove note, the white florals that gave it some lift – fell away, and I was left being slowly strangled by this web of terrible, bedizened bitterness – saffrochouloud, I guess, all sour and raspy and hateful and strange. It was expensive and awful, like those evening dresses at Neiman Marcus that look like they’ve been attacked by a psychopath armed with a BeDazzler. Daphne combines the subtlety of Liberace with the warmth of Darth Vader. It is oversized and grim and have I mentioned bitter?
Which is weird, because I swear, hasn’t everyone been complaining about how the sweetness was killing them? Like the unbearable gagging sweetness of those giant faux party-balloon dog sculptures by (crazy-like-a-fox) Jeff Koons? Man, I hate those things. And those sliced up cows and sharks in formaldehyde by that other wanker – and good luck unloading those pieces of dreck in the current art market, suckas! But where was I? (Sorry, we switched over to the modern art screed channel briefly).
So. Good news: I killed off all the sweetness in Daphne. Bad news: I was left with the blanket of bitter tears of saffron, patch and oud that forced me to come home, scrub my arms with Liquid Dawn and change my sweater while trying not to breathe through my nose. After which I applied a healing, head-clearing balm of Annick Goutal Mandragore. (And later: Gucci Rush, my adorable new mini! It dribbles just the right amount, no overspray. See, I told you I had no taste!)
Any of the rest of you tried this thing? How do you feel about spice-heavy scents? Isn’t Malle’s Noir Epices the most fabulous thing you ever smelled? (hehehe) Go ahead, ’tis the season, hate on it. Or tell me your favorites, what if I’ve missed one? I love DSH’s a lot, by the way — Cimabue, Mahjoun, Sienna…
image: Daphne Guinness, British Vogue, March 2008