Pure Poison

Mini bottle with white fade up to the black collar and purple lettering, casting iridescent shadows.

A jasmine bomb with a 2 mile blast radius.
Pull the candy orange peel pin and white flowers go nuclear, a dense gardenia fog with ambery woods fallout underneath, that flattens every other scent in the vicinity.

Brilliant and a little frightening.
Wear in winter with an open carry permit.

*

Zoa Night Perfume

Marvelous swirling black bottle with frosted flower shaped cap–Regine’s classic bottle shape has a bit of a can-can dress vibe.

A fun and inexpensive vampy amber floral–
I love the big citrus champagne opening, fresh and flirty, though I wish it lasted longer before dissolving into the pink flowers. The vanilla at the bottom stays close to the skin for most of the day, with faint patchi amber an inch above.

There’s a joyful retro feel that makes me think of secondhand shoppes that cater to drag royalty and couture collectors, and sell Pop Rocks and Lemonhead candy at the register.

*

This one was a hit in France in 2009, too.

The Chort Wife

(Photo: A red velvet anatomical heart pincushion with antique scissors and a spool of pink silk thread.)

A followup (a prequel?) to Chort’s Suds.

*

The Chort Wife

The car careens around Gooseberry and Third, spattering gravel on my skirt.
I spit my grandmother’s curses at the receding taillights–I’d spent days embroidering that hem.

“And what will you give me, for ‘taking the car and that hellish music too’?”
A man stands in the intersection, smirking. He’s fiendishly handsome, in hoof-heeled boots, tattered red leather duster, and hair slicked up into horns.

Babula had chastised me for summoning chorts–my first husband was a devil, and my second, too—they always stole a piece of my soul but never stayed.

I eye his clothing. “I can mend your coat.”

“Done.” He licks his palm and extends it. I kiss my fingertips and shake his hand, sealing the bargain. He doesn’t let go. “The ‘always flavorless pierogi’ might cost you more.”

I laugh, my heart spinning a polka in my chest.

He leans closer, his whisper on my neck rough and warm as smoking coal. “I’ll take that skirt.”

I take him home. He takes my clothes, and the rest of me, in the most sinful ways.
I darn his coattails while nude, needle flicking stitches under his hot gaze. He’s hypnotized by the flashing silver as the parzenica patterns close the ripped hide with chain-stitched hearts. When I prick my skin, he sucks my fingertip, and other places too.

The next day he’s gone, to make good on our deal, but I’ve sewn my name into his coat in blood, and this time the devil will return.

*

Alien

Mini bottle with lines mimicking the iconic sixties extraterrestrial in a high collar cape, showing off Thierry Mugler’s design aesthetic of bold complementary colors–a bright purple glass with gold accents.

A deceptively simple blend of pretty and sexy.
The jasmine on top is almost sugary, as if there’s a bit of grape Kool-aid wisteria mixed in. The amber gives it an edge, both clarifying it and making it sexy, like water splashing on a white shirt to make it see through.
Lasts for days, with sweet woods on the clothes until a hot setting wash.

A small bottle is a safe blind-buy, though the large one is gorgeous.

*

I’m still feeling the loss of Thierry Mugler.
His photography–that juxtaposed bright colors and played with architectural perspectives and environment–was amazing and ground breaking.

Galerie and British Vogue have some great features on his photos.

A few of Mugler’s photographs that I love.

*

Okay, so Space Oddity might be the obvious choice for a write up on Alien, but Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging is full of Mugler fashion goodness, so–

A*Men

Black A*Men sample spray on blue themed promo card featuring a flask with the Mugler iconic cut star.

Mint chocolate patchouli, camphor cool and creamy, with black coffee on the side.
Lasts an eternity.

Incredibly dynamic, constantly shifting from dark to bright, sugary to herbal, soft to sharp–and there’s something aggressive about the performance, the way it fills the room and takes up space. A*Men is definitely a manspreader, but gets away with it by being sweet and fun.

*

“I think beauty is the human emotional vehicle between us and it’s very important.” – Manfred Thierry Mugler

The world has lost some sparkle today, and I imagine the angels and the aliens fighting for the honor of carrying him upward.

Mugler was an incredible fashion designer, responsible for so many history making outfits–Demi Moore’s Indecent Proposal dress, Kim Kardashian’s wet Met Gala number, David Bowie’s neon green suit, Cardi B’s Venus dress–and sooo many more, all bold, creative, sometimes divisive, and always attention getting, just like his perfumes.

He was a visionary and an activist, ignoring gender rules, racial bias and body shape stereotypes, making luxury fashion inclusive and exciting to all, and in the case of his fragrances, accessibly priced and environmentally conscious.

Rest in Parfum, sir, and thank you for all the beauty you have given us.

*

George Micheal’s 1992 Too Funky video was set in a fictional Mugler runway show.

Perfect

Mini bottle with blue plastic bow on top and box with sketchy illustration of a banana on the side.

There’s something oddly coquettish about about this one, as if the perfume flirts with the wearer.

Opens with pink candy fruit and spring flowers (Do I get a whiff of banana or am I just looking for it because there’s one on the package?) that immediately settle to an inch above the skin, and stay there all day long, blanketed down by the softest wood musk–
–but in that intimate space, Perfect is an attention seeker.

I can only smell it when I lift my hands near my face–during a drink from a glass, resting my chin on my fist, smoothing my hair–but those moments are intensely sweet and distracting, a private tease with a wink and a smile, meant just for me.

The notes aren’t that special (seems like rhubarb and cashmeran are in everything right now) and a bit too girlish for me, but the performance is clever and fun.
I’d love to see more designers explore this topography.

*

Duran Duran’s cover of Lou Reed’s classic is perfection.


Urban Hero

Mini flask of pale green eau on a brown leather jacket.

Leather with nice manners.

Peppery sweet limes ease into smooth wood, wrapped in a bomber jacket with a satin ambergris lining.

Not pushy, but not a pushover, either. The spicy citrus stays light and refreshing in personal space, but the animalics laying just above the skin have some weight.

I’d chat him up if he sat next to me on the subway–

*

Quatre en Rouge

Red promo card and white topped sample spray.

A trumpet with a mute, playing jazzy raspberries in a roomful of roses that’s too small to contain them.

The red apple opening hits sharp, the petals fall flat, and the metallic musk bass line, though sweet, is way too brassy to wear indoors.

*

“You’d never know it, but buddy, I’m a kind of poet
And I’ve got a lot of things I’d like to say…”

Classic Lady Day, with Harry “Sweets” Edison on the trumpet.

Make Me Blush

TokyoMilk canister and gold capped bottle, illustrated with magnolia blossoms on a script background.

This beauty is much more likely to make everyone around her blush.

TokyoMilk #72 lists Magnolia, Honeysuckle, Jasmine Vine and Bourbon, and does them slow and sexy–understated creamy white florals take an hour to fully bloom in personal space, leaving long honey trails behind as they grow.
Underneath, a few inches above the skin, a touch of charred whiskey barrel grounds the lushness of the flowers, keeping them earthy and seductive.

(The bourbon notes are well done–smoky oak caramel with a hit of vanilla spice–that stay dry and thankfully don’t turn into teenage praline on the bottom.)
(Our queen finds getting carded tedious–no one would mistake her for an underage girl.)

Lasts only half the day–through afternoon on cuffs, and into the evening in the hair–but the opening comes in so easy, a later spray seems like a continuation rather than a refresh.

My favorite TokyoMilk out of the newest batch, and might be the best since Honey & the Moon.
There’s an enticing maturity to it that I really appreciate, as if the cottage-core princess grew up and got provocative.

*

Love the way she grows up in this redo of Sting’s classic.

Bubble Gum

Pink ceramic bottle and Dum-Dum bubble gum lollypops.

Bel Rebel’s interpretation opens with a tutti-fruity candy coated gum ball, loud and boisterous, the kind that clatters down the clear spiral base to ding the silver door of the coin machine.
I get the orange flavored one, citrus tart and sweet.
Sadly, the trace amounts of cloves aren’t enough to elevate it out of the candy dish–more sweet spice is needed to blend the fruit sours into that truly iconic bubblegum flavor.
I’m reminded of Fruitchouli Flash, an earthier distant cousin, maybe.

Settles down to elbow length after half an hour, with a dusting of chalk powder and the faintest hint of mint. (I got sneezy for a minute, but perhaps not the fragrance’s fault? Cold-season and all.)
(It’s 23 eff degrees outside, right now.)
Nice, and sniffy–I’m aware of it as I type–but I wish the heart had a bit of L’Interdit‘s tuberose or jasmine to cream it up and give the opaqueness that the bottle suggests. Bubblegum isn’t clear–

Lasts half the day, slowly fading to lighthearted patchouli on the bottom, with some super soft musk, an inch above the skin through the evening.
I like it. For the price, I’d hoped to love it.

*

I do love this–