Friday, April 28, 2006

My Red Carpet Picks

Van Cleef by Van Cleef & Arpels was created in 1993. For those of us who missed out on Gem while it was still being produced, Van Cleef, the jewelery company's signature, is the younger generation, a hypersweet, plush and gorgeous Floral Oriental with raspberry notes. After testing Gem earlier, I moved onto Van Cleef and found that this might be a little easier to wear, although a part of me still misses the sophisticated and complex Fruity Chypre aspect of Gem. If ever I could find a Fruity Chypre that resembles either of these, I think I'd be in 7th heaven. Right now, I'm happily testing this olfactory jewel which is sweet enough to call dessert for my skin. A little bit goes a long way with this powerful blend (I'm testing pure parfum), and like its predecessor Gem, here is another perfume that could easily walk down the red carpet, only it might be mistaken for Givenchy Hot Couture or another sweet berry-based Floral Oriental in its sillage. Still, I think it's worth a try while it's still in production. I only wish the bottle didn't look so gaudy.

According to Jan Moran:
Van Cleef (Floral-Oriental) 1993

Top: Neroli, bergamot, raspberry, galbanum
Heart: Rose, jasmine, orange blossom
Base: Cedarwood, vanilla, musk, tonka bean

Panthere de Cartier was my signature back in 1999 or so. I didn't discover it when it first launched in the late '80s but I'm so glad I went to a perfume shop and smelled everything in the store before I got to smell this one. I'll never forget how I fell in love instantly and bought it on the spot. The parfum is the best formulation and this is one fragrance which is composed differently for the Eau de Toilette version. The parfum is richer. I've worn Panthere for big gigs and it's been complimented on as well as commented on as being "dry as fine wine". For people who like a little peachy softness with bold woods and ambery-vanillic sweetness that's not overwhelmingly sweet, I highly recommend this upscale, glamorous scent. In fact right now I can't remember why I'd stopped wearing it. As far as I know, the parfum isn't available in the double panther flacon pictured anymore. I don't even know if Cartier still offers this scent in parfum at all.

Jan Moran's notes:
Panthere (Floral-Ambery) 1988

Top: Ginger, pepper, black currant bud, peach, coriander, plum
Heart: Jasmine, narcissus, rose, tuberose, gardenia, heliotrope, carnation, ylang-ylang
Base: Musk, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, oakmoss, cedarwood, vanilla, tonka bean

I think I could easily go with a Serge Lutens perfume for a big occasion. Serge Lutens has two perfumes which I think are born for the Oscars and Grammys: Gris Clair and Tubereuse Criminelle. Let's talk about Tubereuse Criminelle. I think you have to be crazy to like this scent. Gris Clair is icy-warm, sweet with a manly edge. Tubereuse Criminelle is My Chemical Romance. Basically, it's mentholated tuberose on a bed of dark resins. By mentholated, I mean it has a wintergreen or camphor-like scent for its fresh top notes. Weird? Yes. Medicinal? You bet. Then why would I wear it and why do I love it so? Because some perfumes are olfactory masterpieces, meant to be appreciated precisely for their avant garde charms. I once likened Tubereuse Criminelle to the smell of CBGB, complete with its stinky graffitied bathrooms, beer in the air and lines of motorcycles outside. Tubereuse Criminelle is my favorite toxic 'fume in a bottle, and I'd wear it with a devastating black leather number.

Tubereuse Criminelle (1999)
Notes: tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, musk, vanilla, styrax, nutmeg, clove, hyacinth

I would also consider wearing Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur, Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens) and Sisley Eau du Soir. Which perfume would you wear for a big formal event?