Anita said “March is MAD” and you were worried about me and she said, no, I meant the month! But I am, kind of.
It blows my mind a little when I think about it — women in the 1930s and 1940s who were so much younger than I was when they married and spawned, women I picture in smart dresses and proper lipstick, walked around wearing perfumes with monumental presence, some more risqué than others, with names like Tabu or Bandit, Femme or Shocking. More recently, in the perfume heyday of the late 70s – early 80s, when I outgrew Love’s Baby Soft and bought and wore grown-person scents for the first time, there were heavy hitters galore – the decadent era of Opium, Giorgio, Poison, Paris, etc.
I thought about this as I breezed through our downtown flagship Macy’s recently, taking a break from the office on a day it was awfully cold. I wandered the perfume department aisles, focusing on the new(ish) scents being given the most prominent placement on special, freestanding displays. Let’s see how it went, shall we?
Carolina Herrera Good Girl – Carolina Herrera the woman is enormously chic, her clothes are divine, and her original 1988 fragrance is every bit the white-flower-bomb you’d expect. Considering the brand’s core, Good Girl comes across as a desperate bid for a younger, if not hipper, audience. I admit the stripper-heel bottle’s kind of a hoot, nice and hefty in the hand, and its target demographic apparently doesn’t concern itself too much with what a fragrance smells like, as long as they get to set that bottle on the dresser and the sillage won’t kill anyone at work. Karlie Kloss, the face of the campaign, is a gorgeous woman, but even by my extremely low standards for perfume ad copy this thing is stupid. (She’s a good girl except when she’s bad.) Listed notes: tuberose, cocoa, tonka, almond, coffee. What it smells like: like it’s checking the same box as YSL Black Opium and Coco Noir, only possibly even less interesting.
YSL Mon Paris – have I mentioned that original Paris is perhaps the one and only rose perfume that I truly, truly love? Wearing vintage Paris is like being smothered with a rose bouquet by a red-taloned Eighties valkyrie wearing a fuchsia blazer with exceedingly large shoulder pads. I adore it; I even wear it to the office, having applied it veeeeery lightly using the spray-and-walk-through method. Mon Paris heads in a different direction: “Red berries and pear immediately exude sensuality and femininity. The exotic white Datura flower, the soul of the fragrance, embodies desire and seduces the senses. Finally, this modern and daring floral scent is balanced by creamy white musks and patchouli. A passionate and unforgettable whirlwind journey to Paris.” What it smells like: generic clean-fruity shampoo in your suite at the Holiday Inn. Convo with Macy’s SA: “Have you tried this? It’s amazing!” Me: “…. it smells like a nice shampoo.” SA: “yes!”
Dior Poison Girl – “intended for younger lovers of the iconic brand, which comes in a pink bottle in the classic shape of Poison. The new fragrance is announced as a bitter – sweet floral, scandalously delicious, made for rebellious young women, pop – feminists who follow their dreams.” Hey, girl. You want to be a rebel? Wear Poison. Or even Hypnotic Poison, instead of this HP knockoff. What it smells like: something you’d find at lurking with the counterfeit bags at the night market in Phuket. What’s next, Poison Baby?
Clearly I can’t find much nice to say about these scents, so I will say this: I positively long for the day the mainstream perfume pendulum swings back in the direction of aggressively weird (or weirdly aggressive) scents. Really, it fascinates me. Take Miss Dior. Hell, take the entire Dior Classic Lineup. Miss Dior has zero interest in being a Good Girl, and I love her all the more for it, although I find her borderline unwearable. Also, can we stop being girls and go back to being women, for crying out loud?
Next time: a review of something I liked!