January 2, 2008
When I was a teenager, I brought my aunt back a mini bottle of Jean Paul Gaultier perfume from a vacation in Europe. "Mmm toilet water!" she joked as she tried to pronounce Eau de Toilette. I felt like shit. That's French toilet water, and it ain't cheap either. How does one not appreciate this delicate little flask of rich liquidy escape?
I've soaked up bottles of Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Dior, Donna Karan, Gucci, Estee Lauder, Davidoff, Prada, Gaultier..to name a few. I've annoyed hundreds of sales clerks at Sephora and Bloomingdales on perfume sampling excursions. But let's be honest, who sprays 20 perfumes all over their wrists and sample papers refusing help, then exits the store in complete satisfaction? I shall say my field work allows me to conclude that like haute couture and pastries, the French do it best. The classic Chanel No 5 has yet to be matched, having an entire lab and flower farm (I read in Deluxe: How Luxury Lost it's Luxor) devoted to its formulation. Thierry Mugler's Angel, was the premier gift I'd received from my Paris-based designer cousin; I must have been 12. And my most recent fragrant purchase was the Gautier coffret, including Classique, Le Male, Fragile, and Gaultier2-a unisex perfume, which I will wear when the other bottles run low, praying that no one draws a connection between me and the gay men of Manhattan. The collection is deeply seductive just as a Frenchman might pronounce its names.
When I sported Angel as a young girl, I thought it was awesome that I smelled like cotton candy without having to be at the carnival. I'm sure the seductive ads of the leading perfumes weren't aiming for that, but now as I continue to douse myself in Angel clouds of warm caramel deflect the dirty smell of New York, becoming my nose's sugar addiction. It's no wonder they're all being named-Addict, Opium, Covet-I think I have a dependency.