Madonna turns 60 today – Happy Birthday, HRH Madonna! To celebrate, I thought I would resurrect my much-loved ‘Scent a Celebrity Series’, in which I ‘scent’ (pick fragrances for) some of my favourite celebrities. So let’s jump right back in with none other than the Queen of Pop!
Madonna; no other name is more instantly recognisable and no person is more likely to divide opinion. Arguably the most famous woman on the planet and factually the best selling female recording artist of all time, Madonna is a force that is hard to define; singer, dancer, performer, entertainer, provocateur, feminist, business woman, calculating she-devil – love her or hate her, whatever moniker you throw at her will most likely apply. She has done what many other icons fail to do – achieve longevity and on her 60th birthday, we celebrate her phenomenal four decades in music.
The fascinating thing about Madonna is that her ratio of talent to fame is perhaps slightly off balance. She’s not the greatest singer or dancer in the world, or even the best looking, but she has that je ne sais quoi that makes a person a star – the x factor, as they call it. Some say that she’s just a good business woman and I’m sure she is but that does not make for such longevity. By pushing people’s buttons and having something to say (and saying it well) Madonna has ensured that she is more than a just a star, she’s that rare commodity: an icon.
I’m on a Serge Lutens kick at the moment, which is funny considering that I was considerably late to the Lutens party and it took me quite some time to ‘get’ the brand’s aesthetic. This is due in part to the fact that much of what Uncle Serge puts out is truly hedonistic and oriental, and can often feel thick and oppressive. This style is attractive to many but for years I failed to see the beauty amongst the spices, resins and balsams.
Unsurprisingly, it was the florals (specifically the incandescent Fleurs d’Oranger) within Lutens’ stable that served as a gateway to understanding perfume’s most highly respected, reclusive and artistic individual. But why the florals? What does Lutens do to nature’s blooms that others don’t? What does he see amongst the petals, the stems and the pollen that many perfumers and creative directors cannot?
The answer is simple – Serge Lutens sees the darker side of flowers and he’s not afraid to present the beautiful amongst the downright terrifying. Within his exclusive collection of fragrances housed inside his Palais Royal shop in Paris (a purple-tinted perfume Mecca), Lutens has three of the most deadly, carnivorous and fatal florals ever to have graced the noses of the human species, they are; the maniacal tuberose – Tubéreuse Criminelle, the viper jasmine – Sarrasins and the ghostly iris – Iris Silver Mist.
“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.”
This episode of my Scent a Celebrity Series serves as a slight change of tack from the norm. The series usually takes a famous person (ranging from Björk to The Muppets) and pairs them with a suitable fragrance (or fragrances) that perfectly capture the many facets of their personality. However, in this episode the focus has shifted beyond just humble celebrities to the characters they play.
Everyone loves a leading lady and a superb performance from a wonderful actress can turn a good movie into an extraordinary one. Here you’ll find a selection of some of my favourite actresses in one of their most impressive roles, and for good measure some perfumes that capture the spirit of their performances. These ‘Fragrant Femmes’ will have you glued to your seats and with a bit of luck the perfumes will too.
The Postcards From My Collection Series (if it can be called a series) is where I get to showcase, through the medium of amateur, shoddily taken photographs, the residents of my perfume collection. I feel that I have got to a point now in my fumehead journey that I have built a solid collection that meets most (most) of my perfume needs. There is always room for expansion of course….
So, over the next few weeks we shall be delving into my collection and picking out my favourite pieces. Nigel is quite happy that I’m doing this because he is under the impression that I may do some tidying/dusting on the way. I don’t quite know how to break it to him that I may just avoid the tidying and that my interests lie purely with the perfume, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
This week’s edition looks at the most precious perfumes in my collection and includes my big bottles of treasured things and my little, tiny bottles of just-as-treasured-if-not-more things. They range from the über pricey long agonised buy to the much appreciated christmas present with a ton of sentimental value. Simply put: a varied, but wonderful bunch.
I have always wanted to ensure that The Candy Perfume Boy is a diverse blog that not only features perfume reviews but also showcases interesting articles and pieces on different aspects of perfume/fragrance. One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while is a series of guides to particular perfume notes and genres, including information on the fragrant facets of the note/genre as well as a list of ‘reference perfumes’ that showcase the note/genre in different and interesting ways.
I’m a tuberose freak, so it makes sense that I start with one of my favourite notes. Why do I love tuberose? Well, as you probably know, I’m a bit of a ‘Fragrant Magpie’, in the sense that I am attracted to those perfumes that are shiny, loud and showy and tuberose is most definitely shiny, loud and showy!
Tuberose is a night-blooming white flower, which despite the name, has absolutely no relation to rose whatsoever. The name actually comes from its swollen, tuberous roots. Tuberose has been used in for perfume for many years but it is also used as wedding and funeral flowers in some cultures.
On a side note, Tuberose is a flower that I’ve always wanted to grow, but it is really difficult to find in garden centres over here and a lot of places haven’t even heard of it, which is a shame because I need me some of those pretty white flowers on my balcony!
Tuberose is a complex smell that can be described as; lush, green, cool, almost camphorous and also buttery, rubbery, exotic, sweet, tropical and like white hot flesh.
I have to admit that I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to By Kilian, I have pretty much dismissed the line up until now, predominately due to the high prices (a rookie perfumista error, I know) but my financial restraints prevent me from considering über expensive fragrances, so I don’t try them just in case I fall in love, which is pretty much always the case.
But thanks to some excellent reviews by my Evil Scent Twin, Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels I have found myself officially intrigued. I wanted to see what all of the fuss is about so I managed to blag a few samples from the By Kilian counter in Harvey Nichols.
Seeing as I’m such a latecomer to the By Kilian party, it seems fitting that I should start at the end, with the last fragrance in the L’Oeuvre Noire (The Black Masterpiece) collection, Sweet Redemption (The End).