|Imperceptibly, the killer gardenia crept up on Stephen Nilsen and Katie Puckrik.|
Madonna’s talents as a superstar-singer-songwriter-dancer-actor-director-producer-designer-activist-philanthropist range from phenomenal to meager, depending which side of the hyphen she’s on. Nevertheless, the entertainer has always possessed an iron-clad confidence in her abilities across all areas, marked by an insistence on doing things her way. Creating her first perfume was no exception.
Working with perfumer Stephen Nilsen, Madonna coaxed Truth or Dare from the memory of her late mother's favorite perfume, Fracas by Robert Piguet. In a conversation I had with Nilsen at the Truth or Dare London press launch in March 2012, he revealed that he had to do a little of his own coaxing in order to convince Madonna to allow musk to be used in the scent. She was adamant that it not be included in the blend of gardenia, jasmine and caramelized amber.
“She thought it was a finished perfume with only the white florals and the vanilla/amber accord,” Nilsen remembered, dismayed. "I tried to explain to her that it needed musk to round the edges, like you sand and seal a stippled wall."
Who won that battle? Read the rest of my interview with Nilsen in the Guardian to find out.
Once Madonna got into the swing of honing in on favored raw materials, she developed a hankering for IFRA-restricted ingredients. Nilsen told me, "Madonna was like any perfumer who is exasperated by how safety regulations can make it difficult to recreate the olfactive memories from our past, specifically the memory of her mother's perfume from over 40 years ago."
And how did Madonna express her exasperation? "Fuck IFRA!" she snapped.
Spoken like a true fumehead.
Read more of my interview with Stephen Nilsen here.
Photo credit: REX