Wednesday 28 May 2014

Chic in the attic

During the recent and truly welcome long weekend away at my parents' house, I found a few 'ladies' hidden treasures' lurking on the dressing table of my old bedroom - a collection of five miniature vintage perfumes bequeathed to me by my parents when I was a young child and played with Barbie dolls, or some such. Honestly, I don't recall exactly what their uses were but I do remember being fascinated by them, to the point of fighting over them with my sister copious times, which is really as much of a coup as small childhood novelties can achieve!

I decided to take a closer look at the trinkets I fawned over whilst playing 'shops' and a session of cursory internet research told me all I needed to know - it was a veritable vintage tour de force!

Scents of place

Balenciaga Cialenga

Year: 1973

Created by: Jacques Jantzen

Mood: Aloof, witty and sophisticated. It's from the chypre family and sports a  distinctive balance of green, spice and wood with a dry, acrid sophistication.


Top: citrus, black currant,green notes

Heart: iris, jasmine, ylang-ylang, clove, tincture of rose and lily

Base: Vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss and Virginia cedar.

Think: The wit, sophistication and shady past of an icy Hitchcockian heroine.

Emilio Pucci Vivara

Year: 1967

Designed by: Pochet and Courval

Mood: We have another chypre here - specifically classic chypre - with a dense, dusty, powerful scent, like many from the decade.

Notes: cypress, iris, peppers and labdanum.

Gres Cabochard

Year: 1959

Created by: Bernard Chant

Mood: Just to give you an idea, 'cabochard' is French for 'headstrong' or 'stubborn,' so while you can expect no whiff of a wilting, shrinking violet from this one, there's no compromise on feminine elegance. This one's also a chypre (you might be starting to see a pattern emerging!) so, although bold by nature, the demure sophistication still remains intact.


Top: Aldehydes, citrus, fruit and spice accents

Heart: Jasmine, rose, geranium, ylang-ylang, orris

Base: Patchouli, amber, vetiver, castoreum, moss, musk

Think: A 'lady of the night' with sweet floral notes beneath a demure smoky veil.

Pierre Cardin Paradoxe

Year: 1983

Designed by: Serge Mansau

Mood: As the name suggests, it's a contrast of sweet and sour scents against a castoreum-rich animalic-leather base with lush florals in between. Funnily enough, it's another chypre. 'Sultry' is definitely the word for this one.


Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, green note, spicy note, gardenia.

Heart: Jasmine, orris, rose, carnation, tuberose, ylang-ylang.

Base: Leather, sandalwood, moss, patchouli, cistus, castoreum, civet, musk.

Think: Charlotte Rampling.

Chanel Ma Griffe

Year: 1946

Mood: Bold, green and comforting with a dangerous streak - it must be the cinnamon!


Top: Aldehydes, clary sage, galbanum, bergamot.

Heart: Gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose.

Base: Cinnamon, tonka bean, vetiver.

Think: The name translates as 'my claw' so a touch of surprise and sting in the tail, as well as a devil-may-care abandon.

Imagine what collectables you might have hidden away in the deep forgotten recesses of your home, and what you might just find out about them. In my case, it was thanks to these rather awesome perfume blogs that I was able to look back at mementoes of my childhood from a whole new angle.

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