Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum (vintage)


When I bought myself the first bottle of Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum, it was the spring of 1990 and I was emerging from a long boy-induced funk. The perfume wasn't a new release (launched in 1984) and I've wanted it for quite a while. I was 19 and still believed in signature scents. I spent six months trying to mold myself into a girl who wears YSL Paris, because my mom, full of good intentions and trying to cheer me up after a gut-wrenching breakup, bought me a gift set of the rosy pink Paris, but just like my attempts at dating during those months, Paris went sour.

Paloma Picasso the designer was one of my favorite non-blonde icons. She was a living proof that one can dark hair and eyes, family baggage, an unusual look and an individual style and still make it in the world and be a striking beauty. An important lesson for a child of the 80s whose other celebrity obsession was poor Princess Diana.

Even before I first smelled the juice, I was fascinated by the ad campaign and the red lipstick, and when I finally got to sniff it, I was sold. It was big, bold, womanly and strong. In Paloma Picasso I found exactly the person I wanted to be, and wearing it changed my attitude to the core. I could be myself again and not loath every second of it.

Paloma Picasso is a monumental chypre. It smacks you right on the head from it's opening when you realize bergamot can be a big diva. There's a floral heart that comes and goes, quite a bit of cool, dark greenery and a larger than life oakmoss base, which unlike other scents in the genre, is quite sweet and and has a feel of dark, velvety honey. Paloma Picasso is a strong and assertive perfume, of the kind that gave many chyper-wearers the reputation of an environmental hazard. It was probably not meant for 19 year olds (and neither was Sisley Eau de Soir, another big chypre and the fragrance I started wearing after someone in my social circle, a tall, flat-chested blonde, got a bottle of Paloma Picasso and made it her signature scent) even back in 1984. I still love it and keep some on hand, though I rarely wear it. When I do, I always dab and never spray, lest I kill someone with my sillage. My days of fumigating the planet are probably over.

Like just about any chyper and/or a perfume franchise owned by a global giant (L'Oreal, in this case), Paloma Picasso has been reformulated. The stuff currently found in stores (and online discounters) is as miserable and depressing as I was in the first half of 1990. And to add insult to injury,it smells cheap. If you can, seek out the old stuff (there's a good chance your aunt still has a bottle somewhere) . I always preferred the EDP, because it was sweeter and the opening didn't necessarily cleared my sinuses, but even the vintage EDT is better than the current juice.

Perfume ads: http://www.couleurparfum.com/

1 comment:

  1. Oddly enough, I wore Paloma Picasso as a 14/15 yr old. I went to an all girls school where everyone wore cKOne. Nobody messes with a girl who wears Paloma Picasso!

    It was a liberating scent that made me grow up and embrace who I am: take-no-prisoners, uncompromising and passionate woman.

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