Go big or go home!

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)

Leave a comment


  1. FiveoaksBouquet

     /  June 20, 2011

    Normand, that is some living room! I think it would drive me crazy and I can see where a person would have to have Vreeland’s big personality not to be overwhelmed by it.

    Totally agree on summer perfumes! I always liked very heady perfumes on the hot summer air, so sultry. Youth Dew is one I wore a lot in summer. They exaggerate the feeling of leisure and indolence in the heat and hover exotically. As it happens I’ve been wearing Beige a lot, which is not a heavy perfume in itself, but it becomes more potent in warm weather and I carry a purse flacon to reapply later in the day, walking along or in the bus.

    • Oh my God… Beige! I have a sample of it and I just absolutely love it! I can just imagine in the heat when it becomes more potent, as you say! And Youth Dew! I totally forgot about it! Yes, absolutely. Perfect for warm weather! I’m going to try it this week on one of my daily walks. Thanks for those great suggestions!

  2. I like to wear the original Carolina Herrera on a sunny day when I know I’ll be outdoors. Tuberose FTW

  3. I do love my citruses and teas and so on in summer, but I wear more of them — a lot more. Green figs too. None last particularly long, so I decant them to refresh the scent — often. If some perfumeophobe has a problem with these, well, just wait ten minutes.

    • Great idea… light, but more of it. It’s really the time of year that you can be totally self-indulgent and not worry what other people think. Thanks!

  4. Tara C

     /  June 22, 2011

    Depends on my mood… sometimes big white florals, or an oriental chypre, or a sweet green scent… today I am wearing Montale Patchouli Leaves, but it is cool and somewhat overcast here in San Diego today.

  5. Youth Dew is one I wore a lot in summer. They exaggerate the feeling of leisure and indolence in the heat and hover exotically.

    The Best Perfumes For Women As Said By Men


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: