Scent Of A Woman

Aesthetics,Pop-Culture,The Zeitgeist


The time of the year is upon us when you buy your sweetie her favorite fragrance. Or if you’re good at shopping for scent, you surprise her.

You might consider consulting a new book, Perfumes: The Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.

If you like the better concoctions, and are old enough, you’ll remember “Joy Parfum, the 1930 masterpiece by Henri Almeras for Jean Patou, which, if it were a painting, could hang beside Matisse’s nearly contemporary ‘Yellow Odalisque’ in Philadelphia,” writes TLS reviewer Angus Trumble.

But you ought to know that:

“The cynical bean-counters in Paris and Zurich do not hesitate to tamper with old formulas, insisting on the substitution of cheap chemical compounds that approximately resemble rarer, better ingredients in an effort to reduce the dizzying cost and increase profits. They do not tell their customers when or how they do this, indeed they presume we won’t notice the difference, so fine perfume is now hopelessly entangled with the international cosmetic dollar, and ill served by marketing and public relations. It is also manacled to crude presumptions about what is acceptably feminine or credibly masculine.”

“Just as the world is awash with terrible art, the fragrance counters are unhappily cluttered with rubbish.”

You need only a nose to sense that the “bubble-gummy” “Heiress” by Paris Hilton is “cheap shampoo and canned peaches.”

Also indefensible is Britney Spears’ “Curious”: It’s “a Niagara of megaphone vulgarity which ‘lasts forever, and radiates like nuclear waste.’”

The book speaks highly of “Lovely” by Sarah Jessica Parker.” It’s “evidently worth serious consideration: ‘a truly charming floral, about as edgy as a marshmallow and all the better for it, with a fresh, gracious, melodic chord somewhere between lily of the valley and magnolia.’”

Has any one tried it? I’m still stuck on Paris by Yves Saint Laurent and the original Trésor.

3 thoughts on “Scent Of A Woman

  1. Alex

    Well this is a surprising and light hearted post.

    I would say that it’s going to be difficult to find an answer to this, Ilana. What percentage of your readers are male? Probably over 80%.

    Unless we have someone who, uh, swings the other way…

  2. EN

    “It’s “a Niagara of megaphone vulgarity which ‘lasts forever, and radiates like nuclear waste.’”

    Forgive my ignorance, but are we speaking to her music or a particular perfume? In fact that could be a wonderful commentary on her entire life.

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