Living in London, the defining perfume of my past few years here has been Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules. Not a day goes by that I don't nab a whiff of a waft of "the little aromachemical that could" in the city's streets and tubes, galleries and supermarkets. I smell it in double-kiss hellos with film editors, yoga teachers and pop stars' himbo consorts.
My friend Brix Smith Start sprays it with a free hand in her Start boutiques, and provides a Molecule 01 logbook for visitors to share their Mol 01-scented adventures.
Another friend, the artist Caragh Thuring, has hit upon a masterful combination of Chanel Cristalle and Molecule 01 that sounds like blasphemy, but smells like heaven.
And every single time I'm browsing in Liberty's seductive perfume room, I witness eager shoppers snatching up boxes of the stuff.
It's easy to see the appeal: Molecule 01 is a one-size-fits-all scent. It works on both women and men, simply and without pretzel-like contextualization. It's a daytime/nighttime/spring-to-winter winner. And everyone agrees that it smells great.
All of which can be said for Colonia by Acqua di Parma. Like Molecule 01, it was adopted by tastemakers and beauties, along with the frothiest cream of Hollywood. Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, David Niven and Ava Gardner were among those said to be partial to Colonia's blur of aromatics, citrus, rose, jasmine and musk.
I'm developing a theory about how this ragtag crowd all ended up smelling the same:
|David and Ava cavort in a sea of Colonia.|
|Niven is narked by Grant's appropriation of his sig scent.|
|"Audrey, are you wearing my Colonia again?"|
Colonia: the Molecule 01 of classic Hollywood...and beyond.
David Niven and Ava Gardner filming The Little Hut.
Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young in The Bishop's Wife.
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn circa Charade.