Jicky is the nom de plume of a dear perfume sniffing pal, also known on this blog as FF. It was she who helped me expand into the greater perfume universe, and it was at her lovely home that I encountered The Different Company, L'Artisan and Serge Lutens for the first time.
I received my first perfume gifts when I was 16. One was from my mother: it was a Christian Dior Dioressence talcum powder/perfume set; the other from my best friend Martine: Paco Rabanne’s Calandre.
Let’s start with Dioressense. I can still remember the packaging—the most beautiful shade of blue, combined with white and gold. I loved everything about it—unfortunately they reformulated the perfume, so it has now landed in the dustbin of history. I used to sprinkle my pillowcase with it, and have sweet dreams about the French teacher I was in love with (never fall for your first love—that’s a lesson to remember). The perfume had a lovely milky floral smell.
Eau de Calandre. Everything about the perfume was cool, from the sleek modernist packaging to the simple stopper. And oh, it smelled so late 60s-70s: fantastic. Just loved that decade. It’s a really unusual perfume, slightly sweet, metallic, minty and spicy. Reminds me of all the 70s icons, Grace Jones, Jerry Hall, Bianca Jagger, and of course, moi, when I wear Calandre.
Some other memorable perfumes: My mom’s gold-colored Estee Lauder Private Collection perfume set. She bought it in Italy and it came with this lovely powder box that had a giant pouf for dusting. The powder was a classic. It gave you a golden sparkly tone and smelled divine. And alas, they no longer make the powder which I liked even more than the perfume. My mom used to lock it up in her drawer along with her stache of forbidden books, such as Erica Young’s Fear of Flying, and Roth’s novels. Of course, we all raided her closet, read the novels, and helped ourselves generously to her powder. As for the perfume, I remember it as a typical Lauder floral oriental, very well crafted. Not sure this perfume has aged well. Still it brings back nice memories.
I also remember Karl Lagerfeld’s pastel orange colored body cream that came packaged together with his eponymous perfume—it was the perfect shade of baroque orange, and it smelled so strong you could literally kill everyone a mile away. I once made the mistake of wearing it to a seminar. I noticed some classmates looking strangely at me, others less so. I will never make such a faux pas again, but I still have vicarious pleasure thinking about how special it made me feel, even if some of my puritan minded classmates had murder fantasies. They no longer make this perfume. And yes, I believe it’s because I wore it to seminar.
My last reminiscence: Jean-Louis Scherrer’s Nuits Indiennes. So lovely, but the bottle—tacky. It looked like it had walked straight out of a Las Vegas casino—emerald green with gold sparkles, and an oriental minaret tower that graced the box. It was a spur of the moment gift for my mom which she loved. I remember it as lovely floral oriental, with nice silage. Compared to the candy confections they make today, this perfume was brilliant. I am not sure why this one was discontinued. The packaging perhaps?
My most memorable perfume experience. I happened to be in Paris two summers ago and this impeccibly chic woman in front of me was wearing the most incredible perfume. I just remember walking rapidly behind her. All I wanted was to be enveloped by her lovely silage. I had to walk very fast because she was in a hurry, or perhaps she was in a hurry because she thought I was stalking her. I like to think of it as Perfume X, worn by this mysterious stranger. If there is a perfume god(ess), please help me relive this experience, and discover out the identity of this perfume.
If I had to list my all time favorite perfumes, they are (not in order of preference).
Chanel's Les Exclusifs: 31 Rue Cambon (I’d like to be embalmed in this one—fantastic)
Chinatown (a coup de genie) (Bond no. 9)
Verte Violette by L'Artisan Parfumeur
Aimez Moi by Caron
Le Labo Iris Serge Lutens La Myrrhe
I really like Miller Harris’s L’Air de Rien and TDC Bois D’Iris on my friend Carol aka Bloody Frida (even if LAdR smells hideous on me)
My list can go on, but for today I will limit myself to these 7.
As for the worse perfumess ever smelled:
Etat Libre D'Orange's Secretions Magnifiques--the sinister smell of toxic chemicals, a cholera clinic on a hot day, or just pick anything that will make you gag.
Even though its many people's favorite, I have issues with Lauder's White Linen--I hope I don't insult anyone, but I remember it as a sexless perfume, very Hillary Clinton/Madeline Albright-esque, i.e. worn by the woman in power pant suit and sneakers, the one who cracked the whip if you mispelled a word.
PS: On the fourth of July, Jicky was in attendance at dinner and since you know that sniffing perfume has to happen when two perfume-loving people are together, I pulled out a box of samples and had everyone (except my Mother who refused) sniff Secretions Magnifique! Per usual, most of the women hated it, and most of the men thought it was nice.
Hope you enjoyed Jicky's first guest post!! I sure did posting (and reading) it!