Monday, January 16, 2012

Fragrance Antropology & A Smattering of Emotional Remembrances

*Currently Listening: "White Blank Page" by Mumford & Sons
*Current Fragrance: "Cleopatra" by Tocca

I WAS going to do a review of the Ineke gift set that "D.F." gifted me for Christmas, but it's REALLY cold in my apartment, and I just wanted to write about something that was warm, fuzzy and nostalgic - so I'm switching up my weekly plan for NDC#5. (Yes, there's a "weekly plan"! I'm a Virgo. I get all excited about lists...)

I have sang By Kilian's "Liaisons Dangereuses" praises SEVERAL times. I pretty convinced I'm having a not so secret love affair with it at this point. It's one of those fragrances that simultaneously evokes feelings of sexiness, comfort and nostalgia; which for me is no easy feat! I'm a sucker for so many of the notes used in this fragrance: coconut (esp. when it's not the "Pina Colada" dumped over my head type), plum, blackcurrant, rose (esp. when it goes a bit "jammier"), & ambrette. I'm 99% sure that this is going to be my purchase when I FINALLY get to visit Aedes de Venustas later this month. Sure there are places in Boston where I could pick it up, but I've been waiting for make a trip to Aedes for about 8 years, so I want to make my first in person purchase very special.

"Liaisons Dangereuses" was supposed to be my New Year's Eve Fragrance, (complete with feather eyelashes) but I was NOT feeling up to going out, so we celebrated in. (In, in SETX - watching my father's PRICELESS facial reactions to Lady GaGa.)

From Halloween being a "Red Wing Blackbird" & they're dying to make another outing.

The best Champagne we could find in a 3 town radius in my Mom's GORGEOUS crystal.
Since I didn't get to wear it out on NYE, I decided I needed to wear "Liaisons Dangereuses" to the grocery store (complete w/ red lips and red suede ballet flats - COMPLETELY necessary!) with my Mom. Upon smelling my perfume my mom exclaimed, "Oooh! You smell just like MY grandmother smelled! She would have worn something like that!" I mean, I was already in love with the perfume, but that just sent me over the love-o-meter edge! For as long as I can remember, my Mom and Grandmother would both tell me how much I am like my Great Grandmother: her love of fresh flowers, her independent streak, her need to always be consumed with some sort of project, her connection to the spiritual, her little fur pill box hat (yes, I want to be the little old lady sitting at the bar drinking a glass of champagne wearing a fur and ALL of her jewelry). . .

I've always felt a very strong kinship to my Great Grandmother, having never know her. She passed away when my Mom was in her early 20's. Having grown up at times feeling SO different from either side of my family, it was insanely comforting to know that there was someone, witch whom you shared DNA with, was so much like I am.

Of all my material possessions, this set of jewelry is my most treasured...

They belonged to my Great Grandma, and I have worn them once, for my wedding. I have very distinct memories of sitting at my Grandma Byrd's vanity, digging in her blue multi-tiered jewelry box and trying things on. This jewelry set was my absolute favorite!! I loved the insane chic-ness of the grey and white crystals in a floral-esque pattern. (I actually picked my wedding dress to go with the jewelry.) I would ask my Grandma on countless occasions, "Please let me have this jewelry Grandma!" Her response was always the same. "I will, Kathleen. When it's time."

The last Christmas my Grandmother was alive, she quietly pulled me into her bedroom, opened the top middle drawer to her vanity (which my little sister now uses), and pulled out the jewelry, simply wrapped in white tissue paper, handed it to me, as she smiled and said, "It's time." I thought it was "time" because I was 19 at the time, and a freshman in college. Little did I know it was "time" because that was the last Christmas we would have together as she passed away the next month. I am 100% that she understood on some level that her time was short and there were things that needed to be done. It's such a treasured moment in my memory. It wasn't around  the rest of my family, just myself, my Grandmother and somewhere my Great Grandmother sharing a beautiful and beloved treasure and moment.

Time to dry my tears and go back to musing about perfume. (Mom, I'm sure you are reading this at work, so...sorry for making you cry too!)
With my Mom telling me how much "Liaisons Dangereuses" smelled like my Great Grandmother, I can't help but wonder; what perfume might she HAVE worn? There's really no one left on that side of the family to ask. My Mom doesn't remember, so I'm positive that her brother wouldn't. My Grandma and Grandpa, along with my two Great Aunt's have all passed away as well. So I guess it's time for a little Fragrance Anthropology. Admittedly I know very little about vintage perfumes. I DO know, if it's a smell that my mother would have remembered her wearing, it would have been between 1950 and 1972. (I'll narrow it down to 1955-1965.) Also, something that would have been mass distributed and could have been available in Port Arthur, TX at the time.  Given the  notes for "Liaisons Dangereuses" I know what I'm looking for with that, but how would I find what was available at the time? To my perfumistas out there - any great thoughts as to where I could start looking to figure this out? Has anyone else out there reading ever gone on an anthropological perfume quest?

*Currently Listening: "Mad World" by Gary Jules


  1. How about a "sorry for making your little sister cry, as she sits at that exact desk reading this at the moment"

    1. Awwww! You read sister! Is this the first one you've read?