Scenting the Beales of Grey Gardens
Scenting the Beales of Grey Gardens

“The Scent a Celebrity Series is my vain attempt at picking perfumes for those who don’t know any better, yes I mean celebrities. Let’s face it, most celebrities are incapable of choosing decent clothing, boyfriends, girlfriends, movies, (insert-celebrity-mistake-here) let alone having the ability to make decisions about something as important as their scent – that’s where I come in. Never fear my dear schlebs, I will ensure that you are appropriately scented, all you need to do is listen.”

If you haven’t seen the Maysles Brother’s 1975 documentary ‘Grey Gardens’, please click the following link and come back you have educated yourself. You’re welcome. In lieu of watching the film, I shall provide a quick summary. Grey Gardens was (and still is) the name of the East Hamptons mansion once owned by the Bouvier Beales and inhabited by the mother/daughter duo that was Big Edie and Little Edie. After many years of neglect, both the Edies and the Grey Gardens estate were found to be in a dilapidated state, and in need of lots of care and attention. After a load of hoo-hah in the press and calls for their eviction, along came the Maysles brothers who spent a number of months documenting the lives of these two reclusive, yet utterly eccentric women in this strangest of settings. Grey Gardens the movie, is the result of their labours.

Grey Gardens has become a cult classic over time with Little Edie, who is easily the star of the show, remaining a fashion icon long after her death. There’s tons of memorable quotes  (“he always compliments me on the way I do my corn”, anyone?) and fun moments, but the overarching feeling is one of sadness. Watching Grey Gardens, the sense of loss both Big and Little Edie feel for their past life, wealthier times when they were members of New York’s high society and not shunned shut-ins, is palpable. It’s safe to say that the longing for the glory days and the constant rumination over missed opportunities, and what could have been, is painful to watch, but the Edies have a strong sense of survival, and they get through. As Little Edie would put it, they are ‘staunch characters’. That’s ‘S-T-A-U-N-C-H’. Let’s scent them.

Old School Whimsy - Tralala by Penhaligon's, Meadham Kirchhoff & Bertrand Duchaufour
Old School Whimsy – Tralala by Penhaligon’s, Meadham Kirchhoff & Bertrand Duchaufour

Old-school British brand Penhaligon’s has seen a positive renaissance over the last few years. In 2009 they appeared to make a conscious decision to move away from their more staid roots and played to their more risqué side with Bertrand Duchaufour’s masterful Amaranthine – a perfume that was created to smell like the inside of a woman’s thigh (oh my, I’m blushing), and have since set themselves a trend of creating old school perfumes with modern and quirky twists.

Thankfully this is a trend that they seem to be continuing and for 2014, Britain’s most idiosyncratic perfume house is teaming up with the equally unconventional fashion brand, Meadham Kirchhoff, to create perhaps their most whimsical fragrance to date. The result of this collaboration is a fragrance penned by super-perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour (the man also responsible for AmaranthineVaaraSartorial and Orange Blossom) and bestowed with the infectious name ‘Tralala‘.

Launching next week, Tralala is described by Penhaligon’s as being a “beguiling and addictive piece of counter culture couture” and all one needs for proof of this claim is a quick look at the wonderful bottle with it’s clown head and ridiculously huge signature Penhaligon’s bow. The scent itself, is billed as “an opulent, hedonistic blend” that “evokes the interplay of glamour and retrospection favoured by Meadham Kirchhoff”. Having spent quite some time sniffing this new creation, I can wholeheartedly confirm that it does do exactly what it ‘says on the tin’.