(Don’t Laught at Me)
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that one of my passions is for perfume. To the extent that I hope to follow a career in flavor and fragrance chemistry. This really got triggered sometime around 8th or 9th grade, when I bought what I think of as my first ‘perfumista’ fragrance- L’Air de Rien, by Miller Harris. L’Air de Rien isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, as it combines musk, patchouli, vanilla, oaks, and orange blossom to get a scent that ultimately feels very sexy and ‘lived in’ (or like a cupcake in a stable, if you’re my mum).
Apparently in 2006, Jane Birkin commissioned Miller Harris to create a perfume smelling “a little of my brother’s hair, my father’s pipe, floor polish, empty chest of drawers, old forgotten houses.”
I’ve never smelled Jane Birkin’s brother’s hair, but I think MH was pretty much on target.
And then my interest in perfume really kicked into high gear in 10th grade, when I started swapping samples.
So that’s the not very necessary backstory, which was really more just an excuse to reminisce over the start of my long-enduring marriage to L’Air de Rien (sorry!). But even if that’s really what I think of as the event that initiated me into perfumista-hood, that doesn’t mean I never wore perfume before hand. Because I did. And I’m not too proud to remember.
I’m going to try to go more or less in chronological order, but it’s going to be with minimal success (I’ve kind of blocked out my preteens 😛 )
Just Me, Paris Hilton: It was a Black Friday and for maybe the first time ever I was buying bras so I figured I was a grown up now and should maybe get a perfume to wear. SO I let my favorite cousin pick one out for me, which is now just completely shocking because as much as I love Megan I can’t imagine ever letting anyone pick out a fragrance for me.
I never finished the bottle, but I liked it a lot for a while and it got pretty low.
Dream Angels Desire, Victoria’s Secret: It was plastic and bosomly-shaped and it had sparkles in it. Apparently it was a plummy musky magnolia-freesia aquatic fruity floral. Sigh.
Fleur de Cabotine, Gres: Okay, so this is where I maybe started doing a bit better. (Low standard, low standard). I fell a bit in love with this perfume when I sniffed it on a trip to Montreal with my parents. Want to know why I fell in love with it? Because it reminded me of Megan. I have no idea why, because I’m pretty certain she didn’t wear it and the notes they’re listing aren’t all that common (cactus flower, mignonette, syringa? What are you doing Gres?)
But I know I did finish this one. I’m pretty certain
I bought myself my parents bought me a second bottle too.
Pure Vanilla, Lavanila: My first Sephora perfume. It smelled like vanilla. I was pretty edgy back when I was eleven (ish? Older?). Just kidding. All eleven year olds just want to fit in, right? And what better way than being, quite literally, vanilla.
Chance Eau Fraiche, Chanel: And then I was obsessed by the Chanel’s Chance range of fragrances for so long. This would have been when I started reading the magazine (Seventeen and Teen Vogue before it became interesting and political) and more importantly, huffing the scent strips for whatever is new and most marketable (the Beat by Burberry, I remember launching. In hindsight, not an awful iris.)
So I was worshipping this and smelling it over and over again and stopping at perfume stores and obsessing (this is also around the time my anxiety and OCD behaviors started popping up, funny how you can look back and see it reflected). And I finally bought it. And I do know I ran out. I don’t remember if I ran through two before moving on to this next one…
Chance Eau Tendre, Chanel: And then of course the ET flanker was released (and featured in magazines) and I felt that I liked it even better than the EF. I remember smelling it when the wind blew it up from my skin on the walk to high school. And I remember being complimented by the weird guy from Winthrop who tried to give me a massage during an AP Biology Saturday session when he said I “smelled expensive”. What is life. So based on those context clues this would have been tenth grade, and, though I didn’t know it, there was a rapid countdown going on until my fragrant awakening and subsequent revelations re: my purpose in life (to smell good).
Fleur d’Interdit, Givenchy: I had this around the same time as my last bottle of ET. Inspired by reading that Audrey Hepburn wore a bespoke perfume from Givenchy called Interdit, I figured this had to be similar/parallel/somewhat equivalent. How young I was! How naive and innocent of the ploys of marketing! But, you know, it was alright. I rapidly outgrew it as I began reading more and more about fragrance and wanting to smell more and more things. I did pass it on to someone who I found looking for it via Fragrantica, so that’s good.
It was maybe a big step from Chance ET and Fleur d’Interdit to the notoriously difficult to wear L’Air de Rien, but it fowl like such a natural process to me, and L’Air de Rien really did fit like the proverbial glove. It didn’t hurt that that barn smell was something I had grown up loving, due to an obsession with horses and a few years of riding lessons- which continued throughout high school, during which I would come to select more fragrances that I loved and that felt like ‘me’ (and most of them have continued to feel like me).
It’s a process and a journey, like everything. And I feel about as embarrassed about those fragrances as I do about most of the thing I liked/did from the ages of 10-13 XD