Happy May Day. To my joy, at least one of the lily of the valley I planted last autumn might well bloom. Though late. The weather here has been impossible. We’re due gales again.
Last week was mad. Usually the last week of the month is quiet work-wise, but no go. And frustratingly I am working for the evil client Monday as while it’s a holiday here it isn’t one in the US.
After I referenced Guerlain Djedi in last Monday’s post it sent me off thinking about where I’d first heard about this I believe very-long-gone fragrance which was in an article published quite a number of years ago in UK Elle. Called “Scents of Desire”, it’s about dark fragrances – per the article, “…perfumes that get a girl into trouble”. Usually, perfume articles in women’s magazines are fairly banal. This was just the opposite, focusing almost exclusively on classic perfumes that are decidedly stanky in a very erotic way.
Anyway, I have a copy of the article pasted into a sort of diary. That’s how I know the article is fairly old – the diary dates from when I lived briefly with my then husband in Amsterdam, where he was working for a period. Which means the article may well be more than 20 years old.
I got rid of quite a lot of stuff when I packed to move into storage/the rental house while my house was having work done. I had definitely packed the diary (a large artist sketch-book-type) because it was definitely not something that was excess to requirements. I’m crap at diary keeping – I have a lot of respect for people who are consistent at writing about their lives, even if they don’t expect anyone else to read what they write.
So mid-last-week I went hunting for the diary which I discovered on the bottom shelf, pushed way back, of a bookcase. I had a small a ha jolt – the ‘I knew it was somewhere’ kind.
The article starts out referencing Severine in the film Belle de Jour who leads a double life – as a bourgeois housewife and as a prostitute. Severine wears Mitsouko – and given the size of the bottle she has it looks like she bathed in it.
The article (I have realised I have no clue who the author is, as it’s not listed on my printout) makes a point of saying Chanel No 5 is definitely not a dark woman fragrance.
After I read this article I made a point of sourcing samples of some of the perfumes mentioned, one of which was Djedi, which is described by parfum raconteur Roja Dove in the article (he’s quoted a fair bit) as “One of the driest, duskiest perfumes I’ve ever smelt. Unbelievably strange”.
Anyway, so I don’t go on endlessly, here are the perfumes referenced in the article (in addition to Mitsouko and Djedi): Chanel Cuir de Russie; Balmain Jolie Madame; Schiaparelli Shocking; Guerlain L’Heure Bleue (playdough on me) and Vol de Nuit; Donna Karan Chaos (the only marginally modern one); Caron Narcisse Noir, Coup de Fouet, Bellodgia and Tabac Blond; YSL Opium; Lancome Magie Noir; and Robert Piguet Fracas. I managed to bag older samples of Djedi (exactly as Dove describes), Bellodgia (louche floral pepper, like the old style carnations – the little wild ones); Narcisse Noir (almost dank); and I’m pretty sure Coup de Fouet (no memory whatsoever which is really too bad given the trouble I went to to find a sample). In any case each of these was a tiny amount in a tiny sample vial. Just enough to, in the case of Djedi and Bellodgia, give me serious want monsters.
The closing sentences of the article state: “To weave their magic, dark side scents have to be lived-up-to. Wear them when you’re vulnerable, and you’re lost. Wear them when you’re strong, and the effect is nothing short of devastating. Don’t say I didn’t warn you”.
So, has anyone else read this article? If yes, what did you think? And in any case, what are your thoughts on the premise – and which perfumes do you think fit it?