Fashion, Fumes & Furs – Animal Print Perfume

Fashion, Fumes & Furs
Fashion, Fumes & Furs

It came down to yours truly to pick the theme for this edition of the group blog post between myself, Olfactoria’s Travels, Persolaise, Fragrant Moments and Eyeliner on a Cat. For me this task was simple, I knew straight away that I wanted to talk about the relationship between fragrance and fashion, and more importantly I wanted to see just what my fragrant brothers and sisters would make of the correlation.

For years the worlds of perfume and couture have collided to create a wealth of classics and a whole heap of dreck. Houses like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford and Dior are as famous for their perfumes as they are for their fashions, with the former serving as an accessible way for one to own just a small piece of one’s favourite luxury brand.

One’s favourite fashion trend is most definitely animal print. There is just something so wonderfully wild about such bold, beastly prints and furs (all faux of course) in fashion and when one wishes to make a statement there is no greater choice than a measured dose of shocking animal print.

This post takes a look at one’s pick of the best ‘Animal Print Perfumes’ – those fragrances that perfectly capture the spirit of the boldest of prints. Whether it be the spots of the royal leopard, the stripes of the elegant zebra or the scales of the deadly black mamba, this post celebrates the collision of fashion and fragrance in the most utterly outrageous of styles.

[Please head on over to Persolaise, Olfactoria’s Travels, Fragrant Moments and Eyeliner on a Cat to read their takes on fashion and fragrance]

Leopard Print by Tom Ford
Leopard Print by Tom Ford

Leopard print is the most prevalent of the animal prints and it’s almost the most dangerous, treading a fine line between savage beauty and full Bette Lynch tackiness. As a print, leopard speaks of fierce virility as much as it does high fashion style and when it comes to saying something with print, one can’t speak any louder than with the print of the animal kingdom’s most beautiful cat.

To represent the animal in the print one would pick Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir, a fragrance that happily walks on the wild side. With its triple threat of animalic funk (civet, honey and cumin) Absolue Pour le Soir is the scent of the deadly cat – regal and beautiful but ready to pounce.

Coco by Chanel is a fragrance that perfectly captures the colours and shades of the print. Brown, gold, auburn and black are all present in Coco’s luminous citrus, heady flowers and rich resins. Coco may not be animalic but it is entirely evocative of wealthy women clad head to toe in the fiercest (and finest) of prints.

Another perfume that represents the colours of leopard print is Tom Ford’s remarkable Shanghai Lily – a floral cocktail of lily and tuberose that feels suitably ‘speckled’ with spots of cinnamon and carnation spice. Out of all of the leopard print ‘fumes on this list one would declare it as the most ‘couture’ – a true statement piece to grace the most glamorous of wardrobes.

Zebra Print by Dior
Zebra Print by Dior

If leopard print evokes the world of the oriental then zebra print conjures the spirit of the chypre. It’s a print and style that explores the stark contrasts of monochrome colours, of black & white and of light & dark. In perfume, these opposing forces are the hespiridic citrus notes and sharp mosses of the chypre family – perfumes that contrast the soft and the stoic.

Le Labo’s recent Ylang 49 is a fragrance that displays the disparate facets of the chypre in bold zebra stripes. Sour, dusty rose, patchouli and moss sit comfortably next to each other, creating a stylish and modern interpretation of an old school theme. Ylang 49 is the fragrant incarnation of Dior’s zebra print trench coat – angular, unforgiving and so full of Parisian chic it almost hurts.

Snake Skin by Alexander McQueen
Snake Skin by Alexander McQueen

Snake skin, with its sleek coolness, is the polar opposite to the warmth and elegance of both leopard and zebra print. It speaks of the hidden dangers of beauty, of cruelness and of strength. Snakes have a foreboding air about them – they slither almost silently through the world, stalking and devouring their prey and many a fashion victim has fallen for the terrifying beauty of their skin.

Sarassins by Serge Lutens is the sleek black cobra of the perfume world. It turns the familiar odours of jasmine and leather into an inky PVC catsuit that straddles the line of fashion and fetishism. As far as perfumes go, Sarrasins is incredibly intricate with thousands of fragrant scales painstakingly pieced together to form a beautiful but deadly garment.

The colour black isn’t the only shade of snakeskin, it can of course take much more vibrant forms, in shades of red, yellow and green. Perhaps the most striking and colourful fragrant interpretation is the viper green Interlude Woman by Amouage. A poisonous, jelly-like burst of kiwi creates a rubbery texture, with which Interlude displays an almost alien interpretation of fashion’s most glorious skin. It is the spirit of Plato’s Atlantis, Alexander McQueen’s magnum opus of a collection.

Join the Discussion!

Which perfumes do you associate with animal prints?

How do you think fashion and fragrance collide?

Leave your thoughts in the comments box below!

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