The day before we left Bangkok, I went down to breakfast at the hotel early and alone. As usual, I was greeted by the hostess, an elegant young woman in a long, formal Thai silk skirt. While she penciled me in, I smelled flowers. I took a speculative sniff at the tropical bouquet right in front of me. Nope. I looked around hopefully … where are those flowers? I tried two other arrangements in the room, one of which was fake. So then I, using my deductive reasoning skilz, asked the hostess: are you wearing perfume?
As you know from previous posts, I´m capable of stalking a room full of people in order to sort out who´s wearing the fragrance I caught a whiff of, and then I´m not shy about asking what it is. The hostess said in response to my query that yes, she was wearing perfume, but couldn´t pronounce it. She wrote down Moschino. I was so happy to get an answer I forgot to ask which one.
When I went to Siam Paragon in Bangkok for a sniff that afternoon, I was surprised to find eight fragrances – five for women and three for men. The only one I could remember smelling was Cheap and Chic, and that whole concept – the Olive Oyl bottle and the scent – was offputting, and although the company´s done some memorable advertising I don´t know anything about the clothing. The fact that I mix Moschino up with Mossimo (or whatever the Target house brand is called) doesn´t exactly compel me to explore the Moschino oeuvre. But, faced with the stunning information that this delicate young woman in front of me was wearing Moschino, and it smelled not like perfume but a floral arrangement, I had to.
The SA in Siam Paragon said the two most popular were Couture and Oh!, so I started with those.
Couture (2003, notes of Mandarin, Bergamot, Pepper, Yellow Poppy, Jasmine, Pomegranate Blossom, Poppy Seeds, Vanilla, Cedar, Benzoin) has its fans, but I found it overly sweet, with too much vanilla. Gorgeous bottle, though. If I were a vanilla fan, which I am decidedly not, I´d give this one a whirl.
Oh! (1996, notes of Italian Bergamot, Tangerine Peel, Brazilian Rosewood, Living Pink Lotus, Wild Cyclamen, Yellow Living Water Orris, Living Indian Pink Waterlily, Chinese Peony, Wild Muguet, Madagascar Stephanotis, Heliotrope, May Blossom, Florentine Orris, Sandalwood, Musk) seems a more likely candidate. It´s a bright, sparkling scent, green, and with a fairly strong note of muguet. (An aside: why am I often fond of fragrances on other people with notes, like muguet or rose, that I can´t stand on myself?) But it didn´t seem quite like the missing fragrance, somehow. I was smelling a bouquet. Oh! is very much a Perfume – the musk note in particular would be a tipoff, but maybe, having missed the citrus opening…
Cheap and Chic (1995, notes: Calabrian Bergamot, Petitgrain, Yuzu, Rosewood, Living Baghdad Nimphea, Cyclamen, Living Wild Rose, Egyptian Jasmine, Peony, Water Flowers, Violet Flowers,Living Vanilla, Orris, Bourbon Vanilla, Musk, Living White Orchid, Mysore Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Grey Amber) smells … well, cheap. Other commenters on Basenotes raise the same issue that struck me: there´s something very synthetic about the way it smells. I´m not opposed to weird “manmade” smells – I like SMN Nostalgia, for instance, and several of the weird CDGs, and I love the peculiar notes of Gucci Rush – but Cheap and Chic smelled like those scented rubber toys, or possibly melting plastic. It can´t be that one. Also, living vanilla? Grey amber? Snerk. Are the folks at Basenotes having me on? The whole “living” thing works my last nerve.
Cheap and Chic I Love Love (2005) – I can´t find the notes, but this seems like a citrus flanker to the original, and I find it more appealing. Light, effervescent, grapefruity, fun, reminds me vaguely of Light Blue, gone in 20 minutes.
Moschino by Moschino – the original fragrance from the line (1987, Galbanum, Tagete, Freesia, Honeysuckle, Gardenia, Rose, Ylang-Ylang, Nutmeg, Clove, Pepper, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber, Musk, Vanilla) A total shocker, reading those notes – definitely not the one I was looking for, but the winner of the bunch. As Patty would say, squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! The in-your-face sap-sweet florals are beautifully balanced by the spices, sandalwood and musk. It´s quite close to a unisex fragrance – a man could definitely wear it. Wow. I was expecting some big-shoulderpad thing, but it mimics my favorite earthy bits of MDCI´s Invasion Barbare and my current addiction Courtesan. The bottle´s supposed to be reminiscent of a wine bottle, but it´s … not. In fact, it´s kind of ugly, particularly that big ol´ fake pearl detail on top. I wish it were in the Couture bottle.
I think all these scents can be found dirt cheap ($30ish) online at various e-tailers.
Moschino ads: I love the whimsy in the I Love Love ad, and the Cheap and Chic ad is the sort of image I’d have taped to my bedroom wall in my 20s. And is anyone else old enough to remember the harp seal ad? I think Moschino was (he´s dead, right?) a big animal-rights fan.