Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Top 10 Fragrance List for Early Summer 2013

From Lady Gaga in her own FAME fragrance ad to illustrations by René Gruau, the mask and /or blindfold is a recurring theme in the world of beauty and perfume. From a blindfolded cupid in a Revlon Intimate ad to the abstract sadomasochistic black mask depicted in an ad for Robert Piguet Bandit perfume, the social message behind the marketing and sales of French perfumes seems clear: Hyperfocus your senses. Be epicurean, a sensualist, a hedonist. Believe in happiness that comes from outside, not just from within. When these images coincide as they often do with the selling of Animalic perfumes--civet cat and sperm whale as well as leather, fur and musk accords--we hear a materialistic message that tells us the epitome of luxury is sacrifice, the loss of life and suffering of those that were born only to serve and please us on demand. The ultimate message, however, is for the target audience to submit.

Curiously, animalic perfume becoming a symbol of luxury grew from a not-so-glamorous beginning. The practice of perfuming leather gloves is often explained as the desire for royalty to mask the smells of the plebian masses, but according to another perfume legend, it was born of the need to cover up the odor of urine which was used to soften the leather. Civet was the scent that masked the stench most effectively, and therefore it became a staple in perfumery.

There was a time when women were discouraged from wearing civet perfume which not only masked odors well but apparently was declared too masculine for them. While men's grooming became synonymous with the powerful scent of civet, women were limited to fey floral waters--that was until the birth of Guerlain Jicky (1889) which ushered in a new era in modern perfumery with its technological advances as well as gender-bending olfactive character which introduced strong, musky elements in a women's perfume.

Since then, animal notes have become useful as a fixative for many perfumes, as well as inspiring Animalic perfumes that are purposely made to smell "dirty" and "musky" to aesthetically pleasing effect. Today, most animalic notes are made with synthetics, but they provide a rich and colorful depth to the spectrum of the fragrance wheel. By Kilian Cruel Intentions, Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin and Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur are some of the fragrances featuring animalic notes that I've been enjoying wearing this summer.

Here is my Top 10 Fragrance List for Early Summer 2013:

1. BCBG Bon Chic
2. Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin
3. Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur
4. Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
5. Annick Goutal Eau d'Hadrien
6. Helmut Lang
7. By Kilian Cruel Intentions
8. Cartier Panthére
9. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
10. Van Cleef and Arpels Feerie Rose des Neiges