I have to admit, researching this month’s PFTO Feature was a lot of fun, but at the same time it was also quite overwhelming. Where does one begin in choosing a fragrance for this holiday? Should the focus be on luxury and sophistication, knowing that many will be going out for a special dinner? Or should the focus perhaps be on seduction, knowing that just as many will be making the evening special a deux, very privately at home? Or would it have been more fun to playfully take a look at the best of fragrances touting the subject of love in their name, such as Anick Goutal’s Quelle Amour and Grand Amour? The possibilities seemed limitless. In the end I decided to follow my instinct – what clearly seemed more interesting for the occasion were the essential do’s and don’ts, so that was my starting point.
Don’ts: Despite the fact that Chypre is one of my favorite fragrance families, in my opinion Valentine’s Day is one of those few occasions when they are not appropriate. Most Chypres carry, along with an air of beautiful, distinguished sophistication, an air of unattainability and often, superiority. Many green Chypres in fact, have the remarkable ability of making the wearer appear distanced from mortal passions. Even the sexually charged, animalic Chypres like Paloma Picasso seem inappropriate: Despite the fact that they have the ability to ignite fiery lust, they still have an air of forceful competence that can be very forbidding. The message they convey is often “You can look (and squirm with desire), but you can’t touch till I say so”. Marine – Aquatic and Ozonic fragrances are best left for another day as well. Their cool nature does not make them good candidates for the occasion, which calls for warmer scents. Too, they can be frivolous, nonchalant and sometimes too casual – all these qualities will render them out of sync with the character of the evening and your body language.
Do’s: It should be a night that’s all about sharing love and passion so the key word is warmth. Orientals like the recently reviewed Moschino are wonderful choices, as are animalic and musky scents, which are the most obvious perhaps, but also the most capable of conveying a passionate message. Those that favor Gourmand scents will be glad to know that this day is indeed the most perfect occasion to wear them with abandon, since their edible nature will speak louder than words. Choose a nuanced, rich gourmand fragrance instead of a simple linear vanilla or chocolate comfort scent, for the situation surely deserves it. If you have a signature scent or one that you wear very often, consider wearing something different for the day – just another way to make your significant other aware that you made a special effort for the evening!
Finally, in short, three choices for the day:
For the Ladies: When I reviewed Soie Rouge by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, I wrote that this is definitely a scent for a very special occasion and noted that its ideal setting is silk sheets, champagne and caviar. In fact, the last paragraph of that review read “The intimacy it proclaims requires it be worn for whom you love most. I hope their heart swells with desire and appreciation, just as mine does when I smell this enchanting creation”. That’s what I call perfect for the occasion! You can read the full review here.
For the Gents: I always notice when a man wears Gucci’s Envy for Men. This wonderful Woody-Oriental smells at once sophisticated and beautifully seductive without being obvious. In fact, it is a slow, thoughtful, patient lover that first attracts one’s interest and then slowly proceeds to ignite a long-lasting flame. The patchouli in the base notes is quite clean and rests on a bed of creamy sandalwood that makes it deep, soft and tender. A great escape from the usual fresh-marine fare, this is sure to make an impression.
Unisex: This is not for the shy, bashful or timid: Parfumerie Generale’s Intrigant Patchouli is all animal, pure sex and primal instincts. Warm, sensual, but also very clear about its intentions, Intrigant Patchouli is an incredibly daring composition that will either make you fall in love or send you running. I intend to fully review this gem soon, so look forward to it. Not for the faint of heart!
Images: Flickr (originally uploaded by Sister72), Flickr (originally uploaded by Way Opening) and www.freeimages.co.uk