I had a sharp little throwback to my teenage years earlier tonight. John Taylor of Duran Duran made a personal appearance at our local bookstore to sign his just-released memoir, In The Pleasure Groove. I dropped by and really wanted to meet JT and tell him how 14 year old me planned to marry both him and George Michael and live together happily ever after. But there was no way I was going to spend an hour or more standing in the line that stretched from the parking lot all around the block with other semi-crazed middle-aged women. I did go inside and had a good look at him-- at 52 John Taylor is still as tall and cheekbony as in my teen fantasies. The guy has a superstar presence that neither the years, various scandals or rehab had diminished. So I pre-ordered a signed copy (I have the best husband in the world), took one last look at His Hotness, shook my head at the screaming soccer moms and left.
This, of course, led me to thinking about the perfumes of the 80s in general and my youth in particular. I already wrote about Anais Anais (Cacharel) and Le Jardin (Max Factor) and the memories they conjure. Obviously there was my mom's signature scent, the original Chloe, that permeated clothes, furniture and the hair of our old cat, Mad Max. I recently remembered two long lost perfumes from my and my sister's very early teens: I'm pretty sure it was a German brand, Muelhens, that produced two scents: My Melody Dreams and My Melody Flowers. One was packaged in pink and the other in blue, and my sister and I had both, though hers was the blue. Yes, I had a "pink" perfume. Go figure. I don't remember what either one smelled like, only that I really tried to like them because of the adorable packaging but secretly didn't.
There were various perfumes that my mother got and hated, such as Fidji, O de Lancome, Azzaro 9 and Charlie, that ended up being used as household cleaners (excellent for light switches). Obviously, my mom was never a chypre fan. Other perfumes that are stuck in my memory from that decade are Lou Lou (my sister's. I hated it and the noxious cloud that lingered in the air outside her room), Colors de Benetton (I'd love to get my hands on the old formula), Revlon Jontue (my junior high BFF bathed in it), Ultima II (high school BFF. It smelled off on her, so I bought her a bottle of Beautiful a couple of years later), and of course, Giorgio (everyone under the sun).
My high school loves were the sultry Creation by Ted Lapidus and the innocent Tamango (Leonard). While Paloma Picasso was launched in 1984, I didn't buy my first bottle until 1989 when I started fumigating the environment with it, and then spritzed some more, to ensure the people in Malta would not miss my sillage. I also have clear memories of people wearing Aromatics Elixir, Samsara, and various Pierre Cardin perfumes. It took me years to learn to appreciate and start collecting them in their original formulas.
Then there were the really hot ones, Poison and Opium. I never liked the former and took Opium for granted until it was too late. It seemed like both a force of nature and a too obvious and ubiquitous choice. Then came the reformulations that killed Opium as we know it and I started squirreling any vintage bottle I could find. Sometimes I fantasize about going back in time and buying buying buying: not Microsoft stock. Perfume. And lots of it.
What smells like the 80s to you? Please share your scented memories.
(And don't forget to enter the draw for the very modern Loretta by Andy Tauer/ Tableau de Parfums here).