Badgley Mischka : Badgley Mischka

Created by : Richard Herpin

Date : 2006

Genre : Fruity chypre

Concentration : eau de parfum

My dad’s favourite Hollywood star was Rita Hayworth.  He thought that she was incredibly beautiful and sexy and I hadn’t thought of her in a very long time… until this evening when I got a whiff of Badgley Mischka.  Subconsciously, my brain was searching for an image to go with this classy perfume made with “trashy”, fruity notes and Rita with her dyed-red hair came to mind.  You see, I don’t think of classy when I smell fruity topnotes but this one… well, it’s different.

Badgley Mischka is correctly classified as a fruity chypre with its fruit cocktail heart made up of classy mango and trashy raspberry (and other fruits undoubtedly) layered over a subtle chypre base… so very different than Paco Rabanne’s fizzy, hotel brunch mimosa concoction, Lady Million.  But Badgley Mischka is more complex, more “evening” with a slightly powdery note which is more like a matte finish on paint (or makeup) than an all-out, in-your-face powdery facet.  It’s beautiful and fun to wear.

My only problem with this one is that it has no moving parts.  Being so heavily fruity, it’s undoubtedly mostly synthetic and so… it doesn’t evolve over time.  It pretty well ends where it starts.  So…  it’s both topless and bottomless.  Unless you are a nose, it’s hard to smell any movement but the fruit accord is so gorgeous well… I’m recommending it anyway.

To resume, Badgley Mischka is an intense, fruity chypre with a matte finish.  I wore it many times when I bought it two years ago.  When I put it on skin this week to review it, I fell in love all over again.

If you want to wear something in this genre that won’t remind you of your daughter’s Hawaiian Punch-inspired fragrance, try this one.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Addendum March 4th – After a comment by Meg over at parfümieren about wearing Badgley Mischka with a hibiscus “tucked behind the ear”, it brought back memories of Dorothy Lamour.  By the way, I’m at the library supposedly working on my tell-all book when I started reading Meg’s blog and 2 hours later, I’m still reading.  Meg is a wonderful writer and she lives in the most divine parallel universe where she picks up vintage bottles of Paris by Coty and Givenchy’s L’Interdit for a song… not even… a refrain!  It’s a great blog to read.

And, here is the sarong lady herself… Dorothy Lamour.

Top image : Glamour shot of Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

Bottom image : Dorothy Lamour

Paco Rabanne : Lady Million

Created by :  Anne Flipo, Beatrice Piquet and Dominique Ropion

Date : 2010

Genre : Fruity floral

Concentration : eau de parfum

I’ll admit upfront that I have never been a fan of Paco Rabanne as a dressmaker.  All those metallic and plastic dresses never looked very appealing.   His legacy in fashion is ensured but his impact on fashion is very debatable.

As for his recent foray into perfume creation with Lady Million, I don’t think there will be much debate.  One thing that we can all agree on outright is that very little money went into its research.  There’s nothing new here.  Lady Million is based on a popular theme… the fruity floral.  And even less money is going into its production.

I’ll admit that the top notes were fun with their orange, fizzy blast that reminded me of those champagne and orange drinks called mimosas which they give you at fancy hotel brunches.  But the fireworks didn’t last very long and the raspberry-centric fruity concoction which followed was right out of a Hawaiian Punch drink.  That part of it I found loathsome and if it wasn’t for the odd but enticing tobacco subnote, I wouldn’t have given this one much more than a passing sniff.

Unbelievably there are no less than 3 experienced and successful perfumers behind Lady Million.. and I’ll credit them for adding the tobacco note.  But it wasn’t enough for me to give it a passing grade.  As for the fruity floral heart, the floral notes could be heard only faintly in addition to a honey note… “honey” being a euphemism for sickly sweet.  The drydown is a synthetic white floral accord of jasmine and gardenia… I think.  Several bloggers list patchouli in this one… but I don’t detect it.

I suspect that Lady Million’s target audience is between 16 and 17 years old.  Little Tiffany has just graduated from high school and her Jessica Simpson fragrance isn’t woman enough.  Now she is looking to scale up to a couture fragrance.  While at Sephora, she looks around… Paris Hilton perfumes are for girls, the latest Guerlain is too difficult to pronounce and Chanel perfumes are too Samantha Jones.  Lady Million’s “gold” diamond-shaped bottle and pretentious name are enough to have her spray her arm and pull out her credit card.

In short, Lady Million is about as subtle and as classy (or not) as a Paco Rabanne dress.

If you’re over 18 (or male), my advice is to pass on this one unless you’re looking to channel your inner Carmen Miranda and your tutti-frutti hat is at the cleaners.


Top image : Poster from Carmen Miranda’s biography “Bananas is my Business” (1995)

Bottom image : Paco Rabanne haute couture dress

Estée Lauder : Beyond Paradise Men

Created by : Calice Becker

Date : 2004

Genre : Fruity (melon) wood

Concentration : eau de toilette

In an earlier post I wrote that the perfumes I love and hate are the most difficult to review and Estée Lauder’s Beyond Paradise Men falls into the latter category.  Hate is perhaps a harsh word but let us say that if given only Beyond Paradise Men to wear, I’d rather go without.  First, let me explain that I purchased this perfume untested.  It had such a glowing review by Luca Turin in his Guide that I figured it must be wonderful.  It was described as being “more like music than like fragrance” but, like fragrance, music is subjective and this is not the kind of music that I like.

As a wood base, it’s fine.  Nothing special.  The part that I dislike is the unripe melon heart.  It’s just so pervasive!  It reminds me of the herb that sends me running for the exit of any restaurant… coriander!  When used, coriander takes up all the space.  Whether chicken or beef or seafood, if coriander is present, it is all I taste.  With Beyond Paradise Men, I only smell the melon note and it drives me crazy.

I wish I could write more but there isn’t much else to say other than the longevity is excellent… which, of course in this specific case, is not a positive for me.  

Having said all this, you’ve got to give Calice Becker credit for at least attempting to add a fruity note to the fairly narrow men’s fragrance offering.  And seeing that most other fruits had been used in women’s fragrances (strawberries, raspberries, peaches and apples), a melon note probably seemed like a good masculine possibility.  But, to me, it just smells like an experiment that didn’t work.

What is likely to happen is that Beyond Paradise Men will be seen in perfume history as a crude but necessary transitional experiment… a stepping stone to greener pastures like an early Italian Renaissance work by Giotto… far from the perfected perspective of High Renaissance painting… but without Giotto, we never would have gotten there.

Approach this one with caution and definitely test before purchasing because it’s probably like nothing else you’ve ever tried.



Top Image : The Pentecost (ca. 1305) by Giotto

Bottom Image : The Last Supper (1498) by Leonardo Da Vinci

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