A few years ago, the retail industry tried to promote Halloween in France, but it never quite caught on. So it’s been decades since I caught the sight of a trick-or-treater. I do, however, remember the combination of fun and disappointment of the few Halloweens where I went out in disguise. The fun was thinking up the costume. The disappointment was that it never actually transformed me into a superhero or a Gipsy dancer.
Part of the pleasure of perfumes is slipping on different personas, invisible disguises that send my inner little girl into raptures.
So this is what I’d wear if I wanted to dress up as…
The Ghost of Glamour Past: Mon Parfum Chéri, Camille Goutal and Isabelle Doyen’s tribute to old-style chypres, has the earthy glory of a vintage gown exhumed, torn apart and reassembled by a little girl on a sugar high.
A Replicant: If androids dream of electric sheep, do they woo each other with packing tape flowers? Comme des Garçons’ “New Perfume” by Antoine Lie and Antoine Maisondieu grafts subversive industrial smells on the nostalgic charm of a lilac and sweet pea bouquet.
A Hindu Goddess: You’d want six arms too, just to douse yourself in Trayee, Bertrand Duchaufour’s take on the scents of Vedic India for Neela Vermeire Créations. A deep, smoky, spicy, resinous potion which develops balsamic, arm-licking facets.
A Fauness: Vero Kern’s Onda in eau de parfum takes her dirty, bawdy, foresty brew into ever so slightly more civilized territory, with the animal notes toned down and replaced by passion fruit, which adds its touch of raspy, sulfurous devilry. But I’d add a dab of the parfum between my horns.
The Devil: An urbane creature with a quill pen and parchment for you to sign away you soul, the Devil sports Marlene Dietrich top hat and tails, and wafts François Demachy’s ultra-refined, yet troublingly animalic Patchouli Impérial for Dior Collection Privée, a modern take on Bois des Iles dipped in civet and amber.
A Fairy: Obviously, Mathilde Laurent’s Baiser Volé, conceived with a flighty, coquette but iron-willed fairy in mind: a confidently femme lily in a cloud of face powder rather than a wimpy sprite sprinkled with fairy dust.
A Sultana: With a, Ballets Russes Scheherazade get-up, I’d spray on Marc-Antoine Corticchiato’s vivid brew of candied fruit – date and prune – macerated in booze and aphrodisiac spices. Aziyadé for Parfum d’Empire is Femme gone full-on native in Constantinople.
A chocolate-drunk trick-or-treater: Thierry Mugler’s new Angel eau de parfum sublimée de cacao amer isn’t just a mouthful to ask for at the counter. It's like being sprayed with Angel before being rolled in cocoa powder. And it is possibly, with its sister Alien eau de parfum sublimée de beurre de caramel sale (that’s “salty caramel butter”), a fragrance that should be sold along with wooden stake or an exorcist's book. Delightful, but it'll haunt you for days.
A hot pink trick-or-treater on a candy high: Daniela Andrier’s Candy for Prada, obviously, the chicest take on the note this side of Pierre Hermé’s crème caramel au beurre sale, and really actually a delicate benzoin and musk scent. Despite the girly trappings, I find it very irrésistible.
Cinderella in her pumpkin carriage: Phaedon, the new brand produced – but not composed, except for two scents -- by Pierre Guillaume, was presented last week at Sens Unique, a new multi-brand niche store in Paris. He made me sniff a rather delicious candle called Carrosse, a vividly realistic pumpkin and orange blossom accord, whose name means “carriage” and is clearly meant as an allusion to Cinderella’s vehicle of choice. Mice not included.
And now, on to you: If you were to wear a disguise today, what would it be? And what perfume would you wear to immerse yourself in your character?
For more Top Tens, check out the usual suspects:
I think I would be in a costume within a costume, like a European Noblewoman disguised in a peasant's outfit in order to escape invading forces. I would have Caron Tabac Blond (vintage) as my scent.RépondreSupprimer
Carrie, those are the most fun. I also remember being fascinated by those characters that were girls disguised as boys in costume dramas (and Shakespeare, naturally). To be dressed as Rosalind/Ganymede in the forest of Arden, perhaps Dans Tes Bras?RépondreSupprimer
Oh my goodness, if I were to wear a disguise today...RépondreSupprimer
I'm tempted to say that I'd dress up as something scatological and wear some awful creation that offended my sensibilities over the course of the last few months, but why be negative, eh?
Okay, I'd love to dress up as Sherlock Holmes and wear the sort of thing he'd spray himself with when he's not trying to blend into the shadows. Any suggestions? I'm guessing it would have to have a touch of smoke, but it would also have to be a bit odd and unconventional.
CdG 2 Man, maybe?
By the way, I love your list.
Persolaise, for some reason I'd see Sherlock Holmes in something peaty... Cumming, perhaps? Or Le Labo Patchouli 24?RépondreSupprimer
I am a complete Halloween Grinch. Well, I love it for kids (the toddler in the cow costume I saw yesterday was wonderful) but I dislike it intensely for adults. It seems mostly these days to be an excuse for women to dress like prostitutes and for adults to get drunk and act like fools.RépondreSupprimer
Amy, oh dear, we wouldn't want that, would we? Though it must sometimes be hard to tell the disguises apart from the usual party garb. Haven't been to the USA in ages, but I remember being quite... taken aback in London. And that was for the office Christmas party. Humbug indeed!RépondreSupprimer
It's funny you say peaty, because I swear my first suggestion was going to be Lonestar Memories, but I decided against it, 'cause people would start thinking Tauer pays me commission!RépondreSupprimer
P., I shouldn't imagine Andy would have to pay anyone to be appreciated! But for Sherlock, I've changed my mind: vintage Köllnisch Jüchten (give or take an ümlaut), which is the smokiest thing ever, and probably ancient enough to have actually been worn in that era.RépondreSupprimer
I love Dans tes Bras!RépondreSupprimer
I think the perfect fragrance for Sherlock Holmes (one of my greatest literary loves of all time) would be Liz Zorn's Meerschaum. The name says it all, and it's richer and darker and more incredible than one can even imagine. My words have never been able to do it justice.
Carrie, you and I both. There was a short period when I had a crush on Mr. Holmes as a very young teenager... Haven't smelled Meerschaum, or anything of Liz Zorn's for geographical reasons, but going by the name it sounds totally right. Mind you, any 10% solution could do.RépondreSupprimer
You had a crush on Holmes; I wanted to BE Holmes!RépondreSupprimer
And I love both your and Carrie's suggestions. I've Googled the umlaut-laden one: it seems it's almost impossible to find! I shall add it to my 'Maybe One Day' list...
P., well, what can I say? As for the ümlaut, when I come back to London, which should end up happening, please remind me to try and dig some up for you. The bottle is bound to be somewhere in my closet if I haven't sold it...RépondreSupprimer
Oh Denyse, an hour after we met in Paris I was at Printemps getting my nose around that Patchouli Impérial. It's a brawny number, isn't it? It beat up all the other wimpy blotters stuck into my Time Out Guide to Paris, which now smells solely of Patchouli Impérial.RépondreSupprimer
Katie, I know exactly what you mean. I was at Le Bon Marché with a friend and once he'd sprayed Patchouli Impérial on his wrist, the sniffing expedition was over. I do find it gorgeously animalic...RépondreSupprimer
That would be cool, thank you.RépondreSupprimer
I found myself skipping from one fantasy to the next. All of them are so beautifully portrayed, D, and the perfume choices are great too. You are tempting me to smell the new Taste Collection from Mugler. I am still not sure how I feel about Alien with caramel, but I might be pleasantly surprised.RépondreSupprimer
Today, however, I am The Ghost of Glamour Past. I am wearing Mon Parfum Chéri!
V., be warned that the new Muglers are to be handled with a HazMat suit. When I first got blotters of them, they wafted *through* a zipped-up handbag in a Thai restaurant. By evening I had to ditch them in a bin in the métro because I was afraid they'd gang up on me and take over my appartment. I mean, even the regular Alien stays four days on my skin (something which I reported to the relevant person, who raised his eyebrows and laughed).RépondreSupprimer
Still, Mugler is probably the gutsiest mainstream house, and anything they put out is worth visiting.
I've always wanted to be Carmen Miranda for Halloween, and this year I made my costume: Bahaiana fruit hat, fake eyelashes, a gazillion beads and ruffles and all.RépondreSupprimer
The first night I wore Carnal Flower, which was perfectly Diva-esque. The next night I wore Liz Zorn's Centennial, a slightly melancholy fruity chypre which reminded me of that tension in samba between happy and sad, the brightness of the music and the cold hard realities that the songs are about. I love having perfume as my own subtext to ground me!
Heidi, perfume-as-subtext is a very appealing notion. They're like purloined letters whispering our secrets in plain sight, or rather, smell...RépondreSupprimer