My lovely perfume sisters and brothers – Persolaise, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Moments and Olfactoria’s Travels – and I, have yet again clubbed together to bring you an olfactory group project. This time we’re focusing on the seven deadly sins and have cooked up our very best selections of the most sinful perfumes.
“A feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of one’s close associates, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
The Oxford English Dictionary’s
Definition of ‘Pride’
When given the choice of picking a sin for my article I opted for ‘Pride’. The sin of pride focuses on self-adoration and vanity – taking pleasure and satisfaction from our own achievements, looks and attractive qualities. Pride intrigues me because I think it’s the sin that nearly everybody is guilty of at some time in their lives and it can be a key driver for us to continue to succeed in our professional and personal lives.
The perfumes I have picked for this article all display an element of pride – each in a slight different way. Whether it’s vanity, pride in artistry, the pride that precedes a fall or even a faceless pride, these perfumes are subtly sinful in a subversive and utterly compelling way
When I think ‘faceless’ I’m instantly reminded of Guerlain’s wondrous chypre from 1919 – Mitsouko. She is as stoic a fragrance as any and I imagine Mitsouko to be a cold, unforgiving woman who takes such pride in her fading beauty that she alienates all those around her.
Mitsouko’s harsher notes (oakmoss and jasmine) are softened by a famous dose of peach hinting at an emotional core, shrouded in mystery and hidden from the world. There is a sad air to Mistouko, much more so than there is to L’Heure Bleue (considered by many as Guerlain’s ‘melancholic’ perfume), showing that the sin of pride, when all-consuming, ultimately results in loneliness.
I’ve always seen Thierry Mugler’s fragrances (and fashions) as having an air of vanity around them. They positively strut out of their bottles, entirely aware of just how fierce and striking they are, but for the most part they do this with a measured dose of humour, knowing that they are also wonderfully ridiculous.
A Travers le Miroir however, has never laughed at a joke in its life. Pride and vanity exist with in its oily tuberose, bitter green absinthe and sharp cedar wood. It is Angel without the colour of costume and the fun of drag; and Alien without the solar flare – a fragrance that is beautiful for the sake of being beautiful – sour, sharp and uncompromising.
Yves Saint Laurent’s Nu Eau de Parfum is many things; androgynous, divine, artistic, gorgeous; and worst of all – discontinued. It’s not-so-living proof that pride comes before a fall and in Nu’s case the pride stems from it’s audacity to be so boldly different.
Mashing together a dark incense & pepper accord with an accord of stringent white orchid creates a brooding, high-fashion perfume that appears desperate to succeed. I adore Nu, as do many others, but perhaps if it had taken a little less pride in being unique it my have been a huge success – not that any of us would have wanted that!
Opus VII, the latest offering in Amouage’s Library Collection showcases a different kind of pride – pride in the art of perfume. Christopher Chong – Amouage’s Creative Director – possesses a fearless thirst for creating fascinating and beautiful perfumes, and Opus VII is no exception.
The magnetic attraction between bitter green galbanum and aged leather creates a startling contrast – an addictive sense of danger and glory that bewitches the wearer with an olfactory tour de force quite unlike any other.
Join the Discussion!
What perfumes do you think represent the sin of pride?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!
Image 1 comprised of images from; profumeria.com, tumblr.com, amazon.com and blog.missala.pl. Image 2 echemist.co.uk. Image 3 laparfumerie.ro. Image 4 fragrantica.com. Image 5 parfumerie.nl.