Sunday, September 10, 2006

Perfume in Ciao! Manhattan?

There's a series of shots in the film where vintage toiletries are shown on a dresser in Edie Sedgwick's room, and of course I had to see if I could place that perfume! I could only see glimpses of what appeared to be perfume: the slender gold cylindrical cap, the tapered pear-shaped outline of the bottle (I could only make out the top half) and the yellowish juice in it, but I had to see if any perfume in the world might fit that image. As I was researching popular perfumes of the '60s and early '70s, I came across some vintage perfume ads ("What makes a shy girl intimate?") and voila--I think it has got to be Intimate, an American-born Floral/Chypre perfume launched by Revlon, New York in 1955. Apparently, Intimate ads were still running during that time.

Intimate came in different packagings (from gaudy to streamlined) since its launch. The bottle which I believe is in those shots looks quite different from the bottles I've found being sold online, so I'm assuming it's a long-discontinued bottle.

Now, of course I don't claim to know what was on the actual set of Ciao! Manhattan (so don't quote me!) but I'm entertaining myself with my small bottle of vintage Intimate cologne which I picked up off of eBay. The scent itself is rather good: more flowery floral than I'd expected, with an underlying succulent sweetness (there's a fruit note in it but it doesn't smell fruity at all in the mix) and even though it's often referred to as a Floral, some sources say it's a Chypre and I think it smells like a Chypre; in fact, sometimes it reminds me of Mitsouko only more wearable without the overwhelming mustiness and heaviness. There is still some musty, green, thick smell to Intimate which turns me off if I smell it for too long, maybe a little like Norell or Charlie--I'd say the effect is slightly unsweet, dark and woodsy-powdery, like a cheap drugstore aftershave, but in contrast to the heady, jubilant florals, I don't mind it too much because it adds dimension.

However, this is not a perfume I'd want to wear regularly because it's very old-fashioned (not that I don't ever wear old-fashioned scents but this really dried down musty on my hand. It's also a vintage juice, not fresh). It vaguely reminds me of L'Air du Temps and Je Reviens with that subtle cinnamon & clove powdery softness (can't wear these, either). It's perfect for a Sunday sampling session, to appreciate something of the past once in awhile. It's also good to know we've come a long way...The 1979 Revlon Intimate ad campaign went like this: "What makes a shy girl intimate? Intimate is for any girl who recognizes the beauty of being shy. And there's a bit of that shy girl in every woman"--not exactly empowering. I wasn't sure what type of scent to expect but I'm glad it didn't turn out to be some boring, prissy scent I couldn't imagine Edie wearing.

The notes on
Intimate...contains notes of dewberry, mandarin blossom, water lilly, cinnamon bark, linden flower, tuberose, blue rose, Amber, musk and incense. says:
Intimate(Revlon) (Women) : 1955 Revlon USA
Olfactive family:Chypre
Olfactive description:Chypre Floral Mossy Animalic

Friday, September 08, 2006

Calvin Klein Contradiction

This is my mod space flower scent! If I were aboard the USS Enterprise and had ordered a "feminine perfume", a slender metallic bottle of Contradiction would have been the first to materialize. No offense to Calvin Klein but I thought at first it might smell a bit too sporty and mainstream for me. It's actually a soothing, aromatic type of scent (even with the sporty element says the perfsnob in me). Oh, what the hey--Contradiction won a FIFI in 1998--it's a classic now as far as I'm concerned so I will declare it my holy grail and enjoy it this fall. I'm just in awe that this has been discontinued. I think it's a wonderful work of olfactive art and wish I had discovered it back in 1997 when it launched.

I found this description online and have a feeling it's from the original CK campaign although I could be wrong since I haven't been able to find the source:

"Description: Contradiction reflects the ever-changing traits of human nature and allows women to experience their multiple facets : sexy, free, exultant, and achieve success both in their careers and with their family.
The fragrance presents contrasting features. The flowers are traditional on one hand - rose, peony, jasmine, lily of the valley and modern on the other: eucalyptus, pepper flower, seringa and orchid. The warm, sensual hues clash with the clear, sparkly top note of sandal and tonka, blending together hot and cold in an oriental-style scent. FRAGRANCE NOTES - Rose, Peony, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Eucalyptus, Pear Blossom, Syringa, Orchid, Sandal, Tonka."

Wow--even the description sounds like it was made for me. Hot and cold? Yes!

Contradiction was created by Ann Gottlieb who also created CK Euphoria. I would describe Contradiction as soapy-sweet fresh floral oriental woody vanillic. I feel it's a perfume for floral lovers like myself, even though I think it's marketed as Oriental. It has some base-heavy and sweet anchoring notes to satiate my desire for a touch of Gourmand, but it's not as heavy as I thought it might be based on the note description. On application, Contradiction is rather sharp and clean-smelling, like a good shampoo, only more intriguing. It gets sweeter and fuller-bodied over time. It's best in parfum, btw; my mini parfum is better in quality from the juice to the packaging than my 10ml EDP spray which has a rubbery-plasticky scent reminiscent of Lancome Attraction, plus a dull grey plastic cap instead of brushed aluminum. Nevertheless, I think Contradiction is a very sexy scent and so I keep getting told! This is not for the traditional perfume lover because it's slick and high tech-smelling, except for its heart of traditional classic florals. I think they smell fresh against the non-traditional, bold, aromatic elements. The overall impression is that of one harmonious, unique scent, not of flowers per se.

It's strange to me but every now and then, I think it smells sophisticated like a Chypre, very much like the dazzling green openings of Deneuve, Ivoire or Y, only modernized and clean. Maybe I'm reacting to the lilies.

Contradiction reminds me of the following perfumes but it doesn't resemble them too much, either:

Chanel Allure (creamy rose-vanilla), Laura Biagiotti Laura (watery rose vanilla), Vivienne Westwood Boudoir (patchouli-rose-amber-vanilla), Giorgio Beverly Hills Red (aromatic woody chypre oriental powdery aldehydic), Van Cleef & Arpels Birmane (aromatic fruity musky ambery), Geir Ness Laila (musky watery white florals), Fresh Sugar Blossom (musky white florals and vanilla), Christian Dior Dune (abstract marine redolent of lily, peony, sandalwood and broom, very '90s) and Liz Claibourne Realities (original) (also '90s--"therapeutic" chamomile, peach and creamy woods with vanilla), and finally, maybe shades of a vintage Floral like Revlon Intimate: bright, cheerful and flowery sweet, not quiet and well-mannered but like a celebration, heady and sensual, like you've fallen madly in love! CK Contradiction is your head in the high heavens though your feet are still on the ground as you find your balance for inner peace.

(Images: The fabulous bottle by Fabien Baron--from, and the original ad ("She's always and never the same"), Images de Parfums)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Autumn (Is Near) In New York

Dear Friends: Fall 06 is approaching and I have some exciting things cooking. First, I have a new gig in October coming up:

433 Park Ave. South, 212-684-9472
$10 admission - 21+ w/ID
Take the 6 train to 28th Street. The club is one block away on 29th and Park.

The band lineup will be the same as the one at CBGB's:

Sali Oguri: Vocals and keyboards
Fred Kimmel: Guitar
J.Dibbs: Bass
Patrick Carmichael: Drums

The first 25 people will receive a free perfume gift (more details later). More gig dates in Fall 06 will follow. Thanks for your support!

Other stuff: I'm happy to share that a song of mine called "All Dressed Up With No Place To Go" has been receiving loads of airplay on TSO1 Web Radio, short for The Smooth1 Web Radio, a noncommercial web cast dedicated to streaming original music. Thank you, Carl T. Smith of and all my listeners who have supported me!

Broadjam Update: I still have songs in the Top 10s in these genres: Modern Rock, Electronic Dance, Drum N'Bass and Downbeat (all collaborations with artist Fred Kimmel), Dreampop with "Before We Say Goodnight" on my Pink Manhattan Petit-CD. Some songs I sang on are still on the North East and New York charts. Visit