In opera they say, “Go big or go home!” and this motto is a recurring theme in one of my all-time favourite autobiographies, D.V. by Diana Vreeland. I’m rereading it again for the nth time. Of course much of the book is a pack of lies. As Mary Louise Wilson says in the foreward, “Realities were simply not as important to Mrs V. as the imaginative life.” From the first pages, one quickly realizes that it’s the image that is important… the BIG LIFE! Diana’s own son Freckie said that his mother didn’t like to be seen “unless she was at full gallop.” That was Diana! As for perfume, Diana loved Chanel No. 5 and carried purse scent so that she could refresh herself continually, as suggested by Chanel.
Today, it would be difficult to wear that much perfume and not get slapped with a grievance from a coworker referring to some new anti-fragrance regulation and complaining of psychological harassment and cruelty! But now that summer is here and we are all out of doors more often, I’ve taken out all my BIG perfumes that are normally in the back of my closet and moved them to the front… Bel Ami by Hermès, Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir, Estée Lauder’s Knowing, Paloma Picasso, Thierry Mugler’s Angel and Amarige by Givenchy. These scents were made for walking around outside which makes me wonder why perfume companies come out with lighter versions of their fragrances during the summer. Does anyone understand that? The last SA boasted that the new summer flanker was “so sheer, you won’t even know you’re wearing it!” So… what’s the point?
I’m wondering what other perfumistas wear out of doors. And are there some fragrances you only wear during the heat of the summer? Dane of peredepierre once told me that he wears Serge Lutens’ ultra-animalic Muscs Koublaï Khän only in the sweltering heat. Any other ideas? I love this time of year… it’s time to go really BIG with fragrance.
So let’s end this post with something BIG! Here are two of my all-time favourite singers, Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson, singing Be My Love with all stops pulled out. Enjoy!
Top image : Horst P. Horst photograph of Diana Vreeland in her “Garden in Hell” living room
Bottom image : Be My Love sung by two of the greats, Mario Lanza and Kathryn Grayson, in The Toast of New Orleans (1950)