Re the Frédéric Malle line: which have you tried? I saw you praising Dans tes bras and Carnal Flower. How does Carnal Flower compare to Fracas? What about En passant? Noir Epices? L'Eau d'Hiver? Where do I go first? Second?
I’ve smelled all the Malles, have worn many, and own some. And this is the third time in three days I find myself recommending Carnal Flower to Fracas lovers. I know you're not a Fracas lover, strictly speaking -- it's more like you have it the way you'd own a copy of The Grateful Dead's American Beauty that you never listen to. A classic that's not really "you".
Anyway, I prefer Carnal Flower to Fracas. Fracas is a thick, candied tuberose with a niff of rotting flowers. There’s an almost pissy smell to it that somehow ends up erotic.
Carnal Flower is fresher. The tuberose is greener -- there's earth in the smell. There's also a hint of coconut paired with jasmine that will please you, since you like your 70's suntan lotion scent. I find the whole thing gloriously hyper-real -- a pixilated tuberose.
Margaret, the elegant Frédéric Malle lady who travels from in-store boutique to in-store boutique like a couture sharecropper, nicely gave me a sample of the mind-blowing Carnal Flower body cream. When I wear it on my hands, it wafts up and blends with whatever incense or leather I'm wearing to turn me into Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8.
So Carnal Flower is aces. It's also very "here I am!” -- and I don't know how you feel about broadcasting tuberose on all frequencies.
Noir Epices is deep, spicy, rosy orange. I once impulsively threw it on with my Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Cuba, and the husb was very impressed with the result.
En Passant is wet lilacs and musk. Aqueous. So pretty.
I'm wondering about Une fleur de Cassie. I have a sprayed-on blotter here, and it's nice: flowers with hygiene problems. I read that ladies are afraid to wear it out of the house. You know, in public. Now I’m keen to try some on.
Le Parfum de Thérèse struck me as a sketch for Diorella, and also seemed "old fashioned" and a bit "perfumey", though I liked it for its similarity to my old friend Diorella.
I think the thrillseeker in you would enjoy Dans tes Bras, and the beauty lover in you would appreciate Carnal Flower.
Have you tried Lipstick Rose? That's supposed to be the sweet, artificial rose of the bunch. And it seems to really split people. I'm always fascinated by perfumes that split people. Or anything that splits people: Eyes Wide Shut, The Satanic Verses, Cher.
No, I'm not a Fracas lover exactly, but I do like it. And I like tuberose. I'm the only person on the planet who enjoys Tom Ford Private Blend Velvet Gardenia.
The blending of tuberose with coconut seems odd, though, only because I associate tuberose with cooler weather because it's so rich. Might Carnal Flower be the first summertime tuberose? (Don't answer that or I'll run up to Barneys and not get any work done today.)
I watched Frédéric Malle talking about Carnal Flower in this video and got excited:
He said it's the first tuberose that doesn't use Fracas as a reference point. And suddenly I leaned forward a little bit. I'm so susceptible to marketing bullshit.
Like at 3:25, when Malle says, "one thing I find a bit amusing..." and arrogantly puckers his lips in that special French way, I wanted to buy every single scent in the line! What is that about? Someone should study me.
I just watched and very much enjoyed this clip. I cracked up when he says, "I try to classify fragrances in a much more simple, down-to-earth way", and the accompanying graphic is a hilariously obtuse London Tube map from Mars: blobs of colors; squiggly arrows going every which way!
I actually paused on the “Perfumes Made Easy” chart to try to understand it. And it makes no sense at all. First, there are all of these colored blobs among the names and arrows. And then it declares that "Fresh" is the opposite of "Warm" and "Soft" is the opposite of "Streamlined" (I understand "chypre" better than I understand "Streamlined"). And yet because Frédéric Malle was talking to me, to me, I wanted to buy everything. Because I'm crazy that way.
Another Malle gem regarding the London Tube map from Mars (seriously, I've studied this thing like I'm on some complex archeological dig) is when he says people will be able to look at the diagram and know which perfume is for them "if they're honest with themselves" about what kinds of fragrances they like.
Frédéric Malle implies here that people aren't always honest with themselves when it comes to scent preference. But what's the advantage of lying about such a thing? And especially lying to YOURSELF? Based on that moment alone, I suspect Mr. Malle has a very dark world view. Which is all the more reason why I like him. Try to keep me from Barneys today! Just try!
People lie to themselves all the time, but not usually about perfume. I’m going to have to start keeping an eye on myself.
Fred’s the best!