Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mary Quant Havoc



I've been fascinated lately with Guy Robert creations such as Hermes Caleche, Amouage Gold and Madame Rochas, three variations of scent built on the same theme, so when the opportunity came to sample the discontinued Havoc, I was deliriously happy. I was so curious to see if it was similar to those scents, and because it's so hard to find, I was sure I'd never have another chance. I agree with Marian Bendeth of Sixth Scents who'd said that it's only a matter of time before the supply of vintage fragrances will dwindle while the demand will only go up, and vintage perfume will be the next big commodity. When people buy vintage perfumes, it's not always for the sake of curiosity or to own something expensive or even artistically worthy--it's to preserve a memory, to trace the course of her-story and to relive a moment in time--real life important stuff to people, reasons we should respect because they are so personal. As for me, I didn't want to miss the boat and live with questions about what this popular fragrance by the iconic mod '60s designer, Mary Quant, smelled like. I absolutely love Mary Quant's style, and had a feeling her fragrance would smell like the era her designs came out of.

Mary Quant Havoc, launched in Great Britain in 1974, indeed smells like Caleche, Madame Rochas and Amouage Gold: a green, Aldehydic-Chypre, a soapy, powdery-mossy fragrance, typical of its time. However, Havoc is different from the three in its aqueous (marine) Floral element. Maybe this is a newer rendition of Havoc, made in the 80s or after. I could smell something akin to Creed Love In White or Agent Provocateur in it, a watery floral note that starts out plasticky, chemical and unpleasant, but it dries down like a with a fresh-fruity floral sweetness, pretty and light. Havoc is sweeter and more floral than the other Guy Robert creations and others like them such as Caron Infini, Estee Lauder White Linen, YSL Rive Gauche, Trigere Liquid Chic, Cie. The light floralcy of it is closer to Chanel No.19, but Havoc has a more pronounced skin cream note, maybe closest to Paco Rabanne Calandre and Floris Florissa. The modern floralcy doesn't overshadow but co-features the vintage soapy-mossy scent. Anyone who thought the other Guy Robert Aldehydic Chypres were too severe, Havoc is perhaps a slightly sporty and youthful version of Caleche. Even if the quality is lacking compared to the other Guy Robert fragrances, it's a nice fragrance, effervescently retro green, chic but youthful with no austere, heavy woodsy dry down and instead, happy spring flowers right in the heart where I want it to feel full. Won't someone please bring Havoc back?