Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ask The Non-Blonde: Perfume, On A Personal Note (Part 2)


It's been more than a year since the last time I answered personal perfume questions (oops), so we're long overdue. I'll actually start with a leftover from that post: I was asked about the perfume skeletons from my past, and back then I completely forgot that some time between 1989 and 1990 I bought a bottle of Red Door (Elizabeth Arden). It was an impulse purchase without testing first and after a few days of wearing it I realized it a) reminded me of Giorgio, and b) smelled pretty bad on my skin. I think it took me three or four years before I tossed the bottle. I didn't even like it as a room spray. But, yes, back then I payed full retail price for Red Door. You may laugh now.

More questions:



  • How do you get perfumes to last on your skin?
    A well-hydrated skin retains fragrances far better than dry one. I've come to realize that it's a waste of good perfume to spray right after the shower. I need to slather myself in some goop first. Some people swear by jojoba oil as a good base, I personally prefer argan oil. Simple creams based on hyaluronic acid are also excellent for this task (I use the Mario Badescu Hyaluronic face lotion on my neck and chest).

  • You test so many fragrances. When do you get to wear what you want?
    That's an almost sore spot for me, especially when I'm stuck with a scrubber or even just a boring mainstream dreck. I try to wear perfumes from my personal collections at least every other day, or for the part of the day when I'm not trying something new.

  • You mentioned that your wedding perfume was Panthere de Cartier. What did you wear on your first date with the Blond? What did he wear?
    That's an easy one. I wore Tiffany by Tiffany. I still love it dearly (and contrary to the rumors, it's not discontinued, just limited to Tiffany stores and their website. Go get some).
    As for the man who became my husband, he didn't wear fragrance back then. I bought him his first bottle several months into our relationship. It was Minotaure by Paloma Picasso.

  • You promised to tell us more about that vintage Jacques Fath coffret and review Iris Gris. What's up with that?
    I'll do it. It's just that these perfumes, especially Iris Gris, are almost sacred objects for me. I touch them and smell them with such awe it'll be hard to make much sense. But I'll try.

  • Are you still buying vintage perfumes?
    Less and less. The prices are usually insane and I've become very mindful of the fact that buying a lot of vintage means buying less from my favorite indie perfumers who deserve my money a lot more.

  • What was the last department store/mainstream perfume that knocked your socks off?
    Does Annick Goutal counts? Probably not, since the one I'm thinking of is in very limited distribution (Mon Parfum Cheri, Par Camille). So I'll go with Tom Ford Violet Blonde.

  • Did you ever get a really negative reaction to your perfume?
    Probably. a couple of years ago I was wearing a tiny drop of an insanely animalic musk, Ajmal Musk Ghazelle. A small group of teenagers took the Barnes & Noble escalator right behind me and they started giggling and whispering about perfume and stench. I was mostly amused. I hoped to get a similar effect when I wore MFK Absolue pour le Soir to the DMV earlier this year. It wasn't necessary, as I were in and out of the place within minutes. Apparently our county has become amazingly efficient, so I didn't get a chance to fumigate the place.

  • Is there a niche brand (Not Creed and Bond No. 9) that you think is overhyped and totally undeserving?
    While Clive Christian rubs me the wrong way, I'll have to go with Escentric Molecules because I feel they're making a mockery out of perfumery.

  • Did you really name one of your cats after Olivia Giacobetti?
    Yes, I did. My intention was to call her brother Serge, but he just didn't look like a Serge to me, so he became Cedric (after Little Lord Fauntleroy).

  • Is there a celebrity you would like to release a perfume? What would it smell like?
    George Clooney or Ryan Gosling. Actually, Clooney and Gosling. Together. I'd go for that in a heartbeat.


  • Photo: Carole Lombard by Eugene Robert Richee, 1931

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