Monday, April 21, 2008

Retail Therapy & Sniffing

So I've moved into a house my parents own in Palo Alto - the tenants had unexpectedly vacated the place, leaving it to me and my sister. My sister, however, is out gallivanting in Italy so I have this 3 bedroom place to myself for now. Without furniture. This was incredibly depressing until I realized that I could use the empty master bedroom and its mirrors as my fitting room, post-shopping.

I've also indulged in a bit of perfume sniffing today. I finally got down to smelling three fragrances I've longed to try: Agent Provocateur, Agent Provocateur Maitresse, and Fracas by Robert Piguet. If you sense a theme, yes, there is one. I won't elaborate.

Agent Provocateur surprised me. I suppose I forgot that it was a chypre. It is supposed to be an in-your-face scent of seduction. To me it smelled like money, which could be seductive . . . but instead of saying "come hither" to me it said "I am expensive and sleeping in crisp sheets at the Chateau Marmont." Its dry down on my wrist was a pleasant woody musk. Chandler Burr, New York Times perfume critic, mentioned "black plums on hot skin," but I'm not feelin' it.

AP's Maitresse began promisingly enough, sweet and musky, which I love, but it evolved ultimately into an overwhelming powderyness, which I associate with suffocating in an elevator when certain uber-coifed older ladies enter.

Fracas, thank goodness, did not disappoint. It is a tuberose so strong it knocks you off your feet - but it is exquisitely beautiful. Roja Dove, in The Independent, described it as smelling "like very, very hot flesh after you've had sex." Well. I think of tuberose as the scent that makes me say, "That - what is that? I've smelled that long ago in a garden after dark. I'm so happy to smell it again." I think I must own a bottle.

And then I did some unplanned sniffing. While in Bloomingdale's I was handed a strip of John Varvatos. Ugh. Cloyingly sweet and way too much like a knock-off of Thierry Mugler's Angel - marshmallows and weirdness. I will never understand all the rage over Angel. I had to scrub it off my wrist after trying it on, kind of like I have to do now with Maitresse.

No comments: