Monday, April 27, 2009

Chanel Coco

(This article is today's featured review @ The Examiner: NY Fragrance Examiner: Chanel Coco - roses like wine, intoxicating chic)

Chanel Coco (1984) has previously been described on my blog as a uniquely beautiful and sophisticated rose-amber with Mysore sandalwood, a hint of leather and sultry white florals with spices and peach topping off the daring, elegant Oriental blend. It's full of character and to be experienced in parfum if possible. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little more in depth about this gorgeous now-classic number, one to be worn with that little black dress created and made iconic by designer Coco Chanel. Coco parfum was one of my most cherished gifts from my mother who gave it to me on my 25th birthday, saying a young woman destined to go places deserved to wear not just a nice perfume but a great perfume, one with elegance, prestige and a bold, attention-getting (she always thought I could stand out more - that's a stage Mom for you) and unique quality. I remember cutting the string holding the glass cap tightly to the neck of the flacon, the famous Chanel bottleneck adorning a black Chanel logo choker, releasing its sultry aroma and feeling a bit more worldly than I had been just moments before. I wore Coco everywhere I needed confidence, from auditions to work, to negotiate a new contract. I wore Coco to my singing gigs from the Yale Club to Le Cirque, to every fancy destination in the Tri-State area knowing it would be appropriate to wear, and yet it wouldn't skimp on sex appeal and drama. Warm, spicy, dazzling, a little boozy and romantic with a heart of rose...intoxicating yet chic, I loved the complex intensity and the sense of inner power it allowed me to tune into and possess.

A perfume like Coco is so much the epitome of what perfume should be, it can intimidate some less daring fragrance wearers. For instance, I once wore it to a casual gathering place in Queens, a restaurant / watering hole where a young woman about my age at the time turned to me from the bar, gave me a once-over (me wearing a little black dress, she in T-shirt and jeans) and commented that I smelled like an old lady perfume. Perhaps what she meant was that Coco was redolent of old leather-bound books that lined the walls of Coco Chanel's living room at her 31 rue Cambon apartment, the room that had inspired the in-house Chanel master perfumer. Before I'd had the chance to feel embarrassed, a young man sitting near us heard the comment directed towards me and told her what she smelled was an expensive, classy perfume. He asked what it was, and I told him it was Chanel Coco. The young lady within earshot didn't have a word to say after that. I have never forgotten this experience because it taught me that a perfume speaks a thousand words. If you're looking to be taken seriously in the world, or if you're hoping to attract someone with a keen sense of refinement, I suspect a subtle dab of Coco wouldn't hurt at all. Of course class isn't what you wear but who you are - I know the kind gentleman who stood up for me that evening could have overdosed on Brut himself, and I would have thought just as highly of him for his heroism alone. Don't get me wrong - this was not a romantic encounter between this handsome prince of a young man and me. Still, would he have had the chance to model for me what gallantry was had it not been for Coco's disturbing, mind-boggling presence? Mom was right about Coco not being a wallflower. Wear Coco, go live the life!

(Image: Chanel Coco ad featuring Shalom Harlow,