perfume

25 October 2009

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I have adored perfume ever since I was a little girl and had my first sly sneaky spray of my grandmother’s Chanel No 5. She clearly had a taste for the big, brash scents of the 80s as her collection also included Ysatis, Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, L’Air du Temps, Giorgio Beverly Hills (just a whiff of this takes me back to a trip to Paris in July 1989) and, her favourite, Yves St Laurent Paris.

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My own favourite when I was growing up was not, mercifully, Christian Dior’s Poison (unlike most of the girls at my school) but, perhaps more awfully, Guerlain’s Samsara of which I got through dozens of bottles. Yves St Laurent’s Champagne (now called Yvresse thanks to a law suit) was also a brief favourite as was Chanel’s Cristalle. I had expensive tastes and the nose of a middle aged, power suited female lawyer.

Thierry Mugler - Angel woman

Through the years I have jumped from one favourite to the next, generally following the prevalent trend but with a bad taste edge that was all my own. At university I still favoured Cristalle but then veered like so many others towards the world of wrong that is Thierry Mugler’s Angel (I still have my refillable bottle but am hesitating over actually getting some more – can I still carry it off?) before plumping for Viv Westwood’s Boudoir, which is crassly over the top, luscious and ridiculous all at once. I wore it on a trip to Paris with my ex fiancé and now the smell of it brings him to mind, which is more than enough reason to avoid it forever more.

coco mademoiselle

Nowadays my taste is more sedate but unfortunately due to my husband recoiling in disgust from any smell more pungent than the lightest dash of vanilla essence behind my ears (according to my grandmother, all the housewives in the post war years would do this in lieu of proper, meaning French, perfumes) and also my much loved Chanel Coco Mademoiselle suddenly bringing on migraines, I stopped wearing most perfumes a couple of years ago except for occasional dashes of my much loved and now sadly dwindling BPAL Eden.

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Well, no more! I still buy perfume guides then devour them from cover to cover (is that weird?), lurk around the perfume department in Harvey Nichols like a long lost relative who has come uninvited to the family reunion and then, miserably, apply the testers in a state of fear and shame before scuttling away in a panic lest I actually give in and buy something scary like Vera Wang Princess, which I am always drawn to despite myself. I spent rather too much time hanging around Sephora on my last trip to Paris, spraying myself with Princess and sniffing myself rapturously.

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This has to stop. My once amazing perfume collection has dwindled to some Lush solid perfumes, a couple of BPAL bottles, Guerlain Insolence, Guerlain My Insolence and a few precious drops of Diptyque Philosykos, which is my all time favourite perfume OF ALL TIME.

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Ah Philosykos. Just one sweet, coconutty, figgy whiff, redolent of summer breezes and happy days is enough to make me feel content. Dave, finding it inoffensive, has agreed to buy me a bottle for Christmas, which as it is rather pricey leaves me free to work on acquiring the rest of my Perfume Wish List over the coming year.

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Marc Jacobs Daisy.

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Donna Karan Be Delicious.

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Giorgio Armani Code.

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L’Artisan Perfumeur Premier Figuier.

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Clarins Par Amour.

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Agent Provocateur.

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Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb.

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Gucci Flora.

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Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One.

And now I am wondering what other lovely perfumes would work for me. Rock and Rose perhaps or Black XS or maybe Paul Smith Rose? Any suggestions?

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