Sunday, 25 September 2011
Loverdose by Diesel had me at the name alone. This is gothic sugar and liquorice overdose at the Chelsea Hotel styled by the Balenciaged Olsen Twins, slumped in papal darkness, air awash with vanilla, star anise, smoky woods and aftershocks of amber. The floor is littered with fragments of broken glittering hearts.
Loverdose is hardcore, loving at full tilt, rushing at life. Clinging to whatever you crave and kissing till your lips bleed.
Diesel has created something carefree and headstrong. It feels freeform, simple and shattering. It reeks of liquorice; sticky childhood, torpedoes, laces, sherbet dips, explosive heady hits of chewy darkness and powder.
I have very little time for perfume snobs. If I like something and it works on my skin I will wear it, no matter who makes it or what the bottle or the juice looks like. Hence the inclusion in my collection of Britney Spears Circus Fantasy. A neon-tastic harlot take on blue peony and orchid and god knows what else. Gaudy, brittle and throbbingly bright it may be, but it smells porny and gorgeous when I’m in the right mood. All pina colada and carnal cocktail skin.
Diesel’s Fuel for Life (for men) by Wasser and Menardo, another shrieking, pulsating neon blast of fruit and petrol. I posted a review of this on Basenotes as raspberries shredded through aircraft turbines and thrown onto the tarmac at Cannes airport, reeking of jammy, shimmering fuel. But again, it flows off my skin with violence and metallic beauty. (I am waiting with bated breath for the Wasser/Menardo collaboration on the new JPG men’s scent Kokorico; cacao, fig and woods). Please be good….please be wonderful….
I love some of the D&G Marseille Tarot series. Inspired simplicity. Not all of them work, but some are surprisingly rich and profound. La Roue de la Fortune is glorious, crashing Côte d’Azur hits of benzoin, pineapple, vanilla, pink pepper and gardenia. We all need a little overdose in our lives, something a little vulgar, something bad for us, something we should stay away from, and just can’t resist. Like inked, metal-head boys, booze and married men. But what would be the point of life if we were always good? A little bit of bad is often incredibly liberating. Never ever forget the first rule of fragrance. If it smells good, wear it.
There is no denying Loverdose is vulgar. It practically chews gum and tells you to fuck off. The purple chunk of heart shaped glass is both tacky and dramatic. I can imagine hurling it slo-mo across a room in a rage and watching the shards sparkle and fly, purple tinted juice spilling like papal blood across the floor. And the name: Loverdose. A fractured film starring Lou Doillon as an anti-Monroe, just tinted pieces, silent, Lou-Marilyn wrapped in mauve, in a motel drinking martinis, endlessly smoking. Kissing young men through teary mascara, holding her fingers to their lips and smiling. The sun drips behind them. She turns to the camera, tips back her head and closes her yes.
Prada Candy with its golden caramel halo and rumoured 12% overdose of narcotic benzoin (3-4% is the norm….) is the odour of obsession and stalking, the perfume equivalent of De Clérambault Syndrome. Up close and disturbingly personal, every sign, whiff and signal could be interpreted as love and private passion, to touch and consummate skin on skin. This total absorption, the tiniest notes giving the obsessive an affirmation of private and perfect desire. Like the afterglow of an extinguished bulb, the wing beat of a moth in amber darkness. Despite the warning signs, the craving rolls on regardless. The molten attraction of soft golden benzoin cut like class A drugs with white musks and powdered floral accords. Then the pre-Raphaelite honeyed kiss of a drydown, all liquid eyes and trailing limbs.
Candy is one of the most elegant releases so far this year. It delivers a striking but subtle and poignant look at our seemingly endless obsession with gourmand fragrances. Everything about Candy is disarmingly soft and sensual, but this golden hued abstraction is wrapped around an intensely addictive core. It demands to be worn, lavished over the body and inhaled off the skin. It made me dizzy with desire when I first smelt it. I wanted to chew my friend’s hand off when he tried it, it was that sexy. Up close it does very strange things. Now I love benzoin, the more the better, so I knew I would like it, but it stalked me, crept closer, kissed the back of neck and then consumed me.
Of course it’s only a fragrance and a high street one at that, but Prada understand the singularity of oddness, the subtle leverage at the edge of conformity. It’s not the first time Prada have toyed with benzoin. Daniela Andrier’s niche Exclusive line for Muiccia four or five years ago resulted in some truly extraordinary fragrances that were around all too fleetingly. Single note essays in purity and abstraction they were presented like art, stripped down and offered up as gifts to the gods. They included a very haunting take on myrrh, a creamy and obsessive glowing leather: Cuir Ambre and a smoky and ritualistic Oppoponax. Despite myself I also loved the Toulouse Lautrec dazzle of Oeillet; a near perfect rendition of dizzying clove dusted carnations.
The standout was No 9 Benjoin in 2007, a stormy marriage of bigarade and benzoin tears. It was a shocking scent. Vegetal, hot, spiced, sweet and incredibly heart-breaking on the skin. It moved and shifted like a virus, virtually impossible to identify as it sweetened, spiked and licked seductively at the senses. Part of me laments the rarity of the Exclusive line, but the other part of me secretly smiles and privately remembers the beauty.