Monday, December 09, 2013

Perfumes - Love Them or Leave Them

I was reading and article by Mental Floss on the names of perfumes launched in the '80s. The article suggested that the perfumes of this decadent decade supported, through their names and over the edge advertising, the hedonism of a "me" generation. Here's a link to the article.

Often a name can either make or break a product's acceptance in the marketplace. Perfumes have to be able to say a lot in just a word or two. Yes, the actual scent is important, but more important is the cache associated with the name. Some of the perfumes mentioned in the article were - Opium, Obsession, and Poison, scents synonymous with drugs, sex, and an underworld of indulgence.

Well, perfumes for the most part, are worn to create a mystique. They are meant to attract people to you for sensual pleasures. You suggest through your choice of scents, what these pleasures might be. I don't think that the 80's were the only years that suggested taboos. In fact, the perfume, Tabu, was actually introduced in 1932, a few years after scents, such as, My Sin - 1925, but before Snuff - 1940.

Not all perfumes associate themselves with the forbidden. Some try to create an air of elusiveness in their name, such as Windsong - 1952, English Leather - 1949 or Princess - 2008. Others hint at the exotic - Shalimar - 1925,  Magie Noire - 1978, or Black Orchid - 2006 and then there are the scents for the "tidy wives." Those who shouldn't be flaunting themselves openly, might wear, for example, White Linen - 1978, Green Irish Tweed - 1985 or Tea for Two - 2000.

Nature's Perfume

Closely related are the maiden aunt scents; these don't necessarily sound repelling, but they do beg the question, "How come you haven't had a partner all these years?" Maybe they have worn Lily of the Valley - 1976, June Roses - 1922 or April Violets 1913 just a little too long.

Finally there are the "Whatever were you thinking?" scent names - Colony - 1937 (I'm thinking ants!), Quorum - 1982 (Stuffy board meeting), or Flowerbomb 2004 (These are insecticides in greenhouses!)

I actually don't wear perfume, because a lot of people are allergic to scents. However, I have been given, on two very separate occasions, L'Air du Temps - 1948. I have bought for myself Chantilly - 1941 and I also love Bal a Versailles - 1962. To me perfume is an extra, that is quite controversial. Often people wear too much. For example, it's annoying to sit in a theatre near someone wearing a strong perfume. I have theories about people who wear certain perfumes or wear perfumes inappropriately. But then I have theories about a lot of things, mostly unfounded. I really should write fiction.

What are your favourite scents or what are your thoughts on perfume?

The picture? The fragrance, Beautiful - 1985 is a blend of 2000 different flowers!

Names and dates come courtesy of Wikipedia

Have a decadent day :)

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