|Art: Baroness Vera Wassilko by Christian Schad, 1926|
Last night's review was of an opulent iris perfume with an almost languorous nature, the kind you find sprawled on the most lavish silks and doesn't get up until noon. Sort of like Misia Sert herself, the bohemian muse who was also a friend of Mademoiselle Chanel. But Misia the perfume is a different creature. Crisp, clipped, linear, and determined, like a 1920s bobbed haircut. Misia delivers exact doses of iris and violets that walk the line between soap and powder, nostalgia and modern minimalism, Chanel and Guerlain.
Misia is also very pretty. Not wistfully or heartbreakingly so, but pure and simple in its perfect proportions. The balance is kept so accurately that despite the turn towards the vintage dressing table through the powdery makeup vibe, Misia is still not overly feminine. It has the same gender-free appeal as Prada Infusion d'Iris: clean, approachable, a good office-mate kind of a thing. But this is Chanel, and the iris is more irisy, its spine is straighter, and the overall impression is of good breeding and good money, which is yet another point in favor of Misia: you get all the Chanel magic, tradition, and pretty packaging in a large bottle that's still cheaper than Tom Ford. Who can resist that?
Chanel's Misia has something austere about it, which is why I didn't use any photo or artwork depicting the actual Misia Sert on all her sensual and bosomy presence. The perfume watches its waist and doesn't get all foody and plump the way a Guerlain fragrance would have done given similar notes. Also, it lacks a certain playfulness, but that's probably what makes Misia so easy to pull off on any given day. It's there, it smells good, it's reliable. I can see Misia becoming the same kind of a default perfume that the various versions of No.5 are for me and Sycomore is for the husband. Too lazy or tired to choose? Going to spend the day around people with unknown attitudes towards perfume? Grab that Chanel and go.
Notes: violet, iris, orris root, Turkish rose, benzoin , tonka bean.
Chanel Misia ($160, 2.5oz EDT) is available at Chanel boutiques and chanel.com.