Sunday, May 14, 2006

Karl LAgerfeld- Chloé (My Mother's Day Perfume)

I probably owe my love (not to say obsession) for scent and fragrance to my mother. Lotions, potions, high-end fabric softener, French soaps in my lingerie drawers, lavender sachets in the closet and a certain quirk regarding vanilla sugar that does wonders to the smell of kitchen cabinets. There, on top of the pyramid of all Things that Smell Good stands perfume, which my mother has taught me to appreciate, love and never leave the house without applying some.

Some time during the late 70s my mother discovered Chloe. Back than it was considered a fine department store fragrance and was a bit hard to find. It came as an EDP in a frosted glass bottle. I was too young to really think about notes and layers, but just like everyone who was lucky enough to get close had no doubt that it smelled wonderful on her.

It became her signature, earned her many compliments and comments from just about everyone. When asked by women what it was, my mom would usually say "Oh, just something French". She always preferred not to smell like everyone else and never gave in to fragrance trends (Giorgio Beverly Hills never entered our house). When someone- a friend or a neighbor tried Chloe it never smelled the same on them. The sparkling, lovely floral formula with a powdery finish was clearly made for my mother.

This was the only scent she would wear, day in and day out for nearly 30 years. I grew up to become the complete opposite. I wear something different every day. For me there is a fragrance for every mood, every weather, every activity. I rarely put on the same perfume two days in a row, unless I have something new that I'm completely in love with. While I was discovering the allures of Calvin, Ralph and Estee my mom was going through bottle after bottle of Chloe. I changed boyfriends, got married, dabbled in Cartier, Tiffany, Jil Sander and Armani while my mother stayed lovely and unique in Chloe.

There's been a change in recent years. The Karl Lagerfeld fragrance has been downgraded to drugstores everywhere, the frosted bottle is no more (replaced with a clear one) and the EDP seems to have been discontinued, though PerfumeMart lets you join a waiting list for it. I've joined over a year ago and have yet to hear back from them. Some reviews on claim that the original formula has changed and it's not as good as it used to be.

The last year has indeed seen a change: My mom started trying on and using new fragrances. Last autumn we both discovered Dior's Pure Poison (the mix of white florals, orange blossom and my beloved jasmine appeals to both of us). Her most recent purchase was quite surprising: Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. I'm not a big fan, but my mother loves it and only complains about its staying power- seems like Lovely needs to be used heavy-handedly to keep even a trace of it for a few hours.

I don't think that this is the end of the Chloe days, but I'm glad to be able to compare fragrance notes with the person responsible for this little hobby of mine.

Notes: green notes, coconut, bergamot, aldehydes, peach, tuberose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, hyacinth, orris, musk, sandalwood, moss, amber, cedar, benzoin.

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