Friday, May 09, 2008

Michael by Michael Kors

Against All Odds- The Magic Of Different Concentrations

Michael has everything going against it. From the smugness of the designer (Project Runway viewers can join my cringing every time Heidi Klum introduces him as "top American designer, Michael Kors!", though it gets better once the guy actually starts snarking), to the big tuberose heart that takes over the fragrance. In Perfumes- The Guide, Tania Sanchez called it an "evil tuberose" and declared it "One of the worst ever". My shameful confession is that I love Michael.

Now, I have no problem seeing how it can get this bad reputation. While I own and wear the parfum, and only dab it carefully, the EdP that's widely available is, indeed, an evil tuberose. Spraying it with abandon results in a skanky cloud that would rival some of the more infamous 80s gassers and calls to mind lucite heels and Fredrick's of Hollywood lingerie. What does a nice (ahem) girl like me is doing with a bottle like this?

The answer is, again, in the concentration. The parfum is significantly more well-behaved than the street version. While it's very tuberosy and I'm not exactly the queen of white flowers, I have discovered that I can actually deal with either tuberose or gardenia, as long as they do not reside in the same bottle. Also, they must have other notes to keep them busy enough as to not try and strangle me. In this case it's mostly a game of incense and sweetness that rounds the edges and makes it interesting. I'm not saying that Michael in parfum is modest or demure, because it's not. It's openly sexy, somewhat come-hithery, but more playful than porn.

The official notes are-
Top: Dewy Freesia, Tamarind, Incense, Chinese Osmanthus .
Middle Notes: Tuberose, Blue Orris, White Wings Peony, Arum Lily .
Base Notes: Cashmere Woods, Musk, Vetiver.

However, unless one has a super-skin and/or a super-nose, this is much more a "tuberose and friends" affair. Don't go looking for the orris or musk, because the tuberose has eaten them whole. It's not well-blended enough to be anything but a sweet, oriental tuberose scent. Even if you manage to find the parfum, don't wear it to meet his parents or for a PTA meeting. You'll get a reputation. But when it's ok to be a little naughty in a weather that makes floral bloom, this is a non-caloric guilty pleasure.

Image: (yes, I know it's not tuberose, but I liked the painting and it has the right feeling) Brugsmania 2 by Judith Barath.


  1. Well, dear scent twin, I think that we unearth and radiate tuberose. I do so with Cedre, in which I was warned, and in ELd'O's Rien, in which I was not. But you know what? They both rock..

    I think most people tend to over-apply and if you do that with a tuberose/jasmine then you will clear a room; I was with a friend at Barneys whose application method with testers is to keep spraying her chest until the juice fills her shoes (SAs all over town hate her) and this time it was Carnal Flower.

    If she had been to the desert for a month wearing a fur coat and a piece of Gorgonzola under each arm she could not have cleared the room more effectively..

  2. I bought my 100 ml bottle in 2001, and accidentally dropped it 2 days later, chipping the bottle so that I had to decant into two smaller bottles that had a dropper thingy. That was a blessing in disguise: I'm still using the scent from that original bottle, and I think you are right: small quantities is the key esp in the tropics where I live. :)

  3. I guess it's a similar case with Versace's Blonde: the parfum is vastly superior and since one only dabs a drop it can be controlled.

    Thanks for the lovely review, it prompts me to try it out at the store.

  4. Tom- We're the twinnest of twins :)Cedre was my second Serge. It's gorgeous. Carnal Flower still scares me. I have yet to try it on my skin, but I will if you would...

    I'm getting the craziest mental image of gorgonzola armpits.

  5. Lena- Michael probably does very well in the tropics, and dabbing would tame even the regular edp. It's a fun scent, for sure.

  6. Helg- I haven't smelled Blonde in years, but I'm sure you're right. I wish the parfum version of just about everything would have been widely available. I'm slowly collecting some and it's an interesting experience.


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