What I hate about perfume

I’m currently reading Jeanne Beker’s latest book “Finding Myself in Fashion” and when I read the following sentence an explosion went off in my head… “A business so consumed with appearances can make you crazy.  It’s what I both love and hate about fashion.”  It made me ask myself what I love and hate about the perfume business.  For me, they are not the same thing.  I know what I love about perfume… the juice, the history, the creators (!), the quest, the romance, the luxury.  And, I know what I hate about the perfume business.  For instance, the endless celebrity launches!

Everytime I turn around some “celebrity” is launching some new perfume.  Now Justin Bieber has a perfume.  One wonders how much research went into it… if any.  And what about Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump, Paris Hilton, Céline Dion… the list goes on and on.  Who’s next?  Charlie Sheen?  Dame Edna?  All these crappy celebrity perfumes leave me with just one feeling… I miss Elizabeth Taylor!

Then there are all the fake ingredients and the ridiculous marketing copy.  How about these…

“The heart of the fragrance adds a tropical mangosteen blossom to make a luminous scent, welcoming you.  Cocobolo wood, an exotic wood prized for its rare beauty, adds texture and warmth.” (From Hilary Duff’s With Love)

“Celine Dion Pure Brilliance reflects the splendor that radiates naturally from Celine Dion’s core.  The captivating fragrance can exude confidence from within and reveal a shining brilliance.” (From Céline Dion’s Pure Brilliance)

“Your hidden fantasies come alive with an intriguing finish of Mexican Vanilla Bean, Jacaranda Wood and Fluid Sandalwood, enhanced with the radiance of Amber.” (From Britney Spears’ Hidden Fantasy… well, actually, this one is not so bad… at least we get an idea of the notes.)

And lastly… the rude sales associates… a certain Givenchy representative in a major Montreal department store comes to mind.

Me : What are these Givenchy Harvest 2010 perfumes?

SA : They’re variations on Very Irresistible.  For instance, this Rose Damascena variation has the rose punched up in the top notes?

Me : The top notes?  So… the rose only last 15 – 30 minutes.

SA : That’s not what I said.  (then, loudly) YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME.

Me : (to myself) Oh, I hear you loud and clear. 

When I listen to what some of these SAs have to say I think of Woody Allen’s line… “What I wouldn’t give for a large sock with horse manure in it!”

Enjoy this clip from the genius.  I promise, promise, promise to come back next week with a review of something that I truly love!


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  1. Richard Townson

     /  June 6, 2011

    A perfume by Dame Edna:

    Eau de Gladioli, with an underplay of “Gin and It”, a hint of Bristol Cream and the unmistakable afterscent of Vick’s VapoRub.

    • Beauty! And the colour of the perfume would be Dame Edna’s beautiful, natural hair colour… purple! Imagine what the bottle would look like!

  2. annemariec

     /  June 6, 2011

    SA: Have you heard of Lubin’s Gin Fizz at all?
    Me: Ah … vaguely.
    SA: It’s lovely. It was made for Grace Kelly, you know.
    Me (confused): Oh? I thought she wore Private Collection … ?
    SA: No.
    Me: Well …
    SA: It was made for her wedding.
    Me: Oh, right, so it must have been later that she wore Private Collection.
    SA: No, she didn’t. They say the Gin Fizz bottle is shaped like Kelly’s wedding dress.
    Me: But I’m sure I read somewhere that …
    SA: No.

    Well, stories abound, but it has been often said that Kelly bought Private Collection as soon as it came out. Other versions have it that Estee Lauder gave Kelly some while it was still Lauder’s bespoke perfume. Still, how incredibly rude to just flatly deny what a customer is saying.

    Anyway, while apparently GF was created in homage to Kelly, it was Fleurissimo, I later found out, that was commissioned for the wedding. So take that, Mr Gin Fizz Man. Yes, it’s my sock full of manure.

    • I heard it was Fleurissimo as well. The Creed SA was extremely proud to tell me that and on first sniff, it smelled wonderful. Thankfully, I have been able to single out 2 smart and experienced SAs that I really like in Montreal. I learn something new from them everytime I visit their counters. Unfortunately as the business model goes, they can only sell me certain brands.

      Thanks for the comment!


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