Scented Stylings, Getting more from my Fragrance Wardrobe
Since early July, I have been in a creative slump. Just taking care of business, as necessities of each day keep coming at me fast and furious. Sunday is the proverbial day of rest, and so I opened up a jigsaw puzzle that had been gathering dust since the winter holidays – 1000 opportunities for joy, as one fellow puzzler puts it – a Ravensburger fantasy scene from the fairytale of Cinderella.
Something in the atmosphere was missing, so I absent mindedly fingered a collection of decants I have in my perfume bag and touched upon one of a seventies vintage Chanel no. 19 edt. Next my eye fell on my little 15 ml bottle of Iris 39, blended for me in NoLiTa by Alex last year. The 39 felt a bit too earth bound for me, the 19, just a tad sophisticated for my mood. I went with a spritz of 39 at the wrist and a spritz of 19 at the forearm and the opposite wrist. Perfection ensued.
There are countless blogs about styling pieces of clothing by accessorizing, mixing and matching, as well as a hundred and one ways to blend the latest makeup palette or collection. With perfumes, not so much. Nobody wants to mess with Shalimar, Joy or No 5. Some might consider doing so as sacrilege, akin to drawing a hair ribbon on the Mona Lisa. Except for the DIY fragonistas, we appear to leave the blending and composing of notes to the perfumeurs extraordinaire and select the fragrance of the day or night or occassion accordingly.
Or do we? Every so often threads pop up about layering fragrances on a fragrance forum. My beloved Basenotes had The Great Layering Challenge back in 2007, and that same year, Robin of Now Smell This wrote some great tips on layering.
I’m not referring to layering an edt with a pure parfum, or a pure parfum with a matching body lotion version, but rather, pairing one fragrance with another that may in turn highlight particular facets of the chosen partner.
My 19 and 39 combination did just that. The moist deep rooty quality of the Le Labo creation grounded and centered the elevated aspects of the Chanel. Brought the goddess down to earth. Like a sophisticated lady kicking off her shoes and strolling barefoot through the garden after summer rain, in an understated sheath of cool clean linen…natural and refreshing, yet elegant. Gracious, yet approachable. There are those who perceive No. 19 as aloof and armoured. At times I would agree, but to me, 19 always winds down to a sweet creamy note if I pay attention long enough. Iris 39, on the other hand, never goes sweet on me, always remains direct, straightforward, bright but not floral, and equally mesmerizing on man or woman. No. 19 brings me roses. Sweeps me off my feet. The first is a study in naturalism, the second an impressionistic masterpiece. Together they are perfect for a Sunday afternoon of leisurely puzzle play. Cinderella’s Transformation indeed! Does playing with puzzles and pairing perfumes banish writer’s block and boost one out of artistic dullsville? I’m counting on it.
Which fragrance pairings do you enjoy? I’d love to hear about your fragrance stylings.