We have all glimpsed the surreal and saccharine images of toddlers spinning and glittering on gaudy little catwalks. It exerts a weird and sugary if unhealthy fascination, the competitive moms, the terrifying razzmatazz and the channeling of frustrated dreams. But there is a terrible pathos too; echoes of lost prom nights, endless evenings spent gazing at TV movies, dreaming of stardom. All of this focused ruthlessly into preening and disturbingly garbed tots knocking back go-go juice before parading for trophy after trophy cheered on by air-punching moms. So it felt incredibly weird when I smelt the new Vera Wang Princess Night, all I could think of was so-called pageant crack…the now infamous go-go juice…sugar and dizzying sweetness and an unsettling poisoned darkness; this closed little world of suspended sequined belief and frustrated dreams. Scent rocks the mind in some strange and surreal ways.
Princess Night is pitched a few notches above the other Princess offerings. They have all been tooth aching sweet and somewhat disposable. But, my defenses are down; I’m a little out of love with niche just now, bored with high concept and art-house fragranced pretention. I go through phases like this. I just want something to drown in. Britney’s Circus Fantasy was an awesome find, glow in the dark raspberry and porny lip-gloss lip locking. The spray and go equivalent of the richly saturated imagery of Mert & Marcus, dripping models and poreless skins. Dolce & Gabbana’s Roue de la Fortune was another guilty pleasure, a little more Miles Aldridge, all pina colada rush and plastic jasmine, glossed up flesh lit against stained and dripping walls. Trash is about subversion and transgression. Pushing the unexpected. Hardly anyone I know expects me to rock up in Princess Night, hence the fun and sexiness in wearing it.
I loved all the controversy about the so-called pageant crack or go-go juice, supposedly poured down the little things before they went on. A mix of Red Bull and Mountain Dew, a popular fizzy drink, it buzzed them and then caused massive tantrum crashes. I watched the scary tinseled Honey Boo Boo swigging back on a bottle and then strutting her sequined pinkified stuff. Car crash TV at its best.
Princess Night has heady gulping qualities, swigging addictive top notes, ubiquitous wild berries, raspberries and a strange watermelon note that for a moment smells startlingly real then shatters into sherbet and cream. It is a little grimy and smudged as it settles. The kisses more serious, less tweenie, more emotional, more intense. With just a hint of angst.
The ingredients are a roll call of the usual suspects of the neon gourmand: sugar, vanilla and fruits. But the arrangement and management of the notes, the glitter of raspberry, the drip of watermelon is rather impressive. The descent into spiked prom night punch notes of spiced orange and corsage jasmine and rose is weirdly smooth and controlled. There is a tired tantrum kick out to the drydown, a faint slamming door, and a teenage pout of a fade that I couldn’t help but like.
I’m kinda niched out just now and Princess Night caught me. It’s like my weakness for Christina Aguilera ballads; I know they should not make me emotional, but hey they do.
So I bathed in Princess Night’s My Little Pony glow for a while. It was like being a teen again, being incredibly angry and shouty, no-one listening or understanding a chest full of pain. Yet feeling deeply sad and childlike at the same time. Curling up on your bed with a light on, imagining it was a fire on a beach and a boy was whispering your name in the flickering glow.
It’s quite addictive without really knowing why. A passing infatuation. The pale and lovely boy on a bike you see one morning as you hurry to work, the shy girl looking up from her coffee and a second-hand copy of The Great Gatsby. I was hooked to my own skin for hours. Was it too girly, was it even appropriate? It had at its heart that lovely cereal warmth I adore in my beloved Lann Ael by Lostmarc’h.
The gaudy glitter rolled heart shaped bottle is a little cheap and like Honey Boo Boo’s eye-watering ensembles, probably best viewed with half-closed eyes. The so-called pageant crack of Red Bull and Mountain Dew fires up the little tots to spin and sparkle till they crash and burn amid a hyper real universe of competitive surrealism. So the bottle is probably just right.
There is a time and place for all things. We all have guilty crushes. Films we know are rubbish but laugh and cry at anyway. Disposable pop is its own shimmering art, perfect for forgetful nights as you wander home after stressful workdays. There are days when high art, conceptualism, art-house cinema, laborious lit etc. just irritates and bores me. I’ve been watching London Fashion Week recently and been sooooooo bored by the so-called clothes walking up and down the runways. A lot of print and virtual space has been taken up with discussing London’s return to form, the dynamism, the edginess, and the forwardness. I disagree. It was dull, repetitive, gaudy and actually rather ugly. Swinging between the starry bourgeois acceptance of Burberry Prorsum and Mulberry to the frankly hideous ramblings of Meadham Kirchoff and dull cocktail revisitations of Stella McCartney.
I get so tired of archness. It permeates all levels of consumerism these days. Perfumery is no exception. More and more Houses are toying with abstraction and over-elaborate thematics. The true nature of fragrance, the emotion, the style, the connection to ourselves, our past and our collective memories is being overshadowed in a desire to persuade us that we can wear scent like art, we are potential galleries and can become ‘display’ and ‘interaction’.
Therefore, the relief of liberally applying neon-tastic scent and feeling sensually sinful is rather joyful. The fact that it smells fucking great is of course a bonus. Princess Night has all the exhilarating rush of pageant crack, a fabulous ride of scintillating fairground sweetness, a nighttime ride on the waltzer trying to shout love to someone next to you. Drowning in fruits, vanilla and sugar and holding on tight as the spinning night kicks in.
Now, where are my sequins……?
For more info on the Vera Wang Princess line, click below: