I am a man who loves wearing -- here's the rub -- "femme fatale" fragrances. We're talking Tom Ford Black Orchid, Dior Poison: dark, heady, thick, baroque, bewitching, mysterious. These fragrances generally seem to be fruity florals, which I especially like with a little "repulsion" -- animal and indole with my fruit and flowers really light me up. As you may have noticed, I also like some sweetness -- not just fruit but decadent, luscious chocolates and vanillas as well.
The problem is, most fruity florals I find are more, as you put it, "sorority walk of shame" than femme fatale, and sadly I know of little beyond contemporary mainstream fragrances. Of course, I am open to fragrances outside the fruity floral and gourmand genres.
As Sandra Cisneros wrote in The House on Mango Street:
In the movies there is always one with red red lips who is beautiful and cruel. She is the one who drives the men crazy and laughs them all away. Her power is her own. She will not give it away.
Any suggestions on how I can smell like that?
Chris -- Repulsion is the key, here. Perfumes that frogmarch you right up to the brink of gagging while still foghorning their bold beauty across the oceans. Black Orchid would seem to be the total package for you: with its fermented chocolate, mushroom and berries, it's a spew stew prettied up just in time by tropical florals and comforting woods. There's really no need to look any further.
But since when has “need” had any place in the fumehound's vocabulary? Let's get you lined up with some more beautiful and cruel perfumes, stat!
With Black Orchid as your North Star, you can confidently steer your ship towards three more of Tom Ford's offerings. His Private Blend Velvet Gardenia (“gardenia and lead”, Pen Pal Dan Rolleri calls it) will keep you topped up on fermented florals with a dollop of stinky cheese.
Private Blend Noir de Noir addresses your chocolate needs more directly with a riot of chocolate, rose, saffron, patchouli and a certain nuttiness. Rita of Left Coast Nose calls it “man candy”, which is perfect, but I think the rose, sweetness and claustrophobic thickness of NdN also allows it to pass as femininely fatal.
The third perfume under Ford's purview for you is Gucci Rush, with its bleachy fruity poppers-meets-creamy-jasmine disco freakout. The red red lipped lovely wearing Rush is writhing in an explosion of strobe lights and smoke machines in the middle of the dance floor.
Here are five more femme fumes:
LesNez Manoumalia -- sexily smothering tropical allure.
Guerlain Mitsouko –- overripe peach and mossy mystery.
Frédéric Malle Une Fleur de Cassie -- intimately unwashed flowers and hay.
Agent Provocateur -- rose, saffron and jasmine naughtiness.
Mona di Orio Nuit Noire -- its orange blossom-and-hindquarters blend is jolie laide for some, and just plain ol' laide for others.
And this from Pen Pal Dan:
Well, Chris says heady and thick, and I think Fracas. And back to indole, let's not forget my latest find, Nasomatto Nuda. You've got a sample of that, KP. Spray a tiny bit on. Or maybe wait until right before shower-time. Luckily for me, it's always right before shower-time so I can be more reckless with my spraying.
Unable to match Dan's busy shower schedule, I was nervous about trying Nuda. I squinted my eyes and squirted my hand. I sniffed and unsquinted. This thing is a wonder!
First thing on the skin, Nasomatto Nuda does an fascinating slalom between earth, gas, blue-veined cheese and an almost-mildewy washcloth. Within ten minutes, the gack factor evaporates and Nuda is a heavenly puff of jasmine, still indolic, but without Nuit Noire's large intestine.
Fumies, help "un homme fatal" out. Your best "beautiful and cruel" perfumes for the gent, if you please.