Monday, August 18, 2008

Forget me Not: Cardin de Pierre Cardin

The “Man Who Became a Label”, the “Man Who Sold His Name”, fascinates me, always has. It might not have been Cardin who realized that women who cannot afford couture clothes will buy into the dream of a fashion house’s name by using its make-up products, however it was Cardin who realized that the notion was applicable to just about everything else. He is the man who brought couture into every day life – into the home, the street, even into the pantry. Other fashion houses followed: Versace tea service, anyone? Or perhaps a pillow or throw from Armani Casa? He was the man who took the fall, being expelled from the Chambre Syndicale for bringing Prêt-a-Porter fashion to the masses, but was soon reinstated and Ready to Wear clothes slowly became acceptable. As we know, other fashion houses followed: today we take Prêt-a-Porter for granted, without giving it a second thought. Today the Cardin name is still more important than the man himself, as he himself once stated. Have his daring entrepreneurial skills left a smear on his name? Perhaps. Perhaps Cardin took the fall for all the rest. Just so we can have a Prada LG mobile phone, or perhaps a Dolce & Gabbana Motorola. This irony seems to be completely lost on fashion snobs who still insist that the house sold out years ago, even as every other house is making money out of this man’s daring and vision. When will the fashion world take a bow?

...Merci, Monsieur Cardin. Merci.



The homonymous Cardin perfume launched in 1976 and was the house’s first feminine scent. Even though it is not my favorite Cardin perfume, I decided to feature it in this month’s Forget me Not, because it is indeed, almost, if not altogether forgotten: It is listed in neither the Basenotes database, nor in Osmoz, and I fear it might soon be completely lost in Lethe. (Note: I am reviewing the much rarer parfum concentration, which I own, and as such cannot speak of the more common EdT splash and spray bottles that can still be found at online perfume discounters.) Cardin’s citrusy top notes are ever so slightly damaged by time but this does not result in drama: a fleeting moment of mildly bruised freshness and then it’s all a distant memory. Immediately after the deceptively mild opening, we plunge into a world of dense, raw and sultry essences, which although expertly blended, tend to deliver quite a blow to the nose that is more used to today’s modern, airier, transparent fragrances. Middle and base notes seem to arrive concurrently, building a web of interlaced aromas of erotic blossoms and thick, prodding, musky, mossy nuances. Beautiful roses, manage to remain defiantly tender, even as the unmistakable, sweet darkness of pure ylang-ylang embraces them, along with highly indolic jasmine. If this already sounds overwhelmingly delirious, I dare you to imagine that all the while, our floral notes are also being drenched by the most audacious civet and musk notes. Do you get the picture? Yes, this stuff is intense. An hour or so later, Cardin’s fervor relents. Our bouquet starts breathing more deeply, revealing a beautiful, earthy oakmoss and labdanum base and manages to present a profile that is at once soapy clean and dirty with musk and civet at once. The scent becomes progressively smoother and creamier, bringing to mind Ivoire’s drydown, only better blended, with a slightly more muted oakmoss note which does not demand all of one’s attention. If I had to sum Cardin into one word, it would be perfume-y, just as you’d imagine a vintage aldehydic mossy floral to be. Although it is beautiful, I have to admit it smells quite dated, as well as strangely familiar. Despite the copious amounts of civet and musk in its composition, it doesn’t manage to be quite sexy. It is however, totally worth sniffing for sentimental reasons, for this paints a very accurate picture of many perfumes of its time, as well as for getting a blast of its furious animalic tendencies.

All readers who leave a comment to this entry are automatically entered in a draw for a sample of Cardin Parfum. The draw will be open for a week’s time and winners will be announced next Monday.

Images: www.encyclopedia.com and Author’s Own


10 comments:

Jenavira13 said...

When I was younger I sorta of had a thing for the the oakmoss note, I had a zen for oak trees, but as I have gotten older, I realized something oakmoss and I rarely get along, a contention of skin and note. Still I love to smell Paloma Picasso because it reminds me of my mother and Ivoire is one of the few oakmoss based scents that I admire and can wear sometimes.

Anita said...

Hi, Divina! I can't believe you are featuring Cardin today. I thought I was the only one who remembers it! I wore this in the early 80s during my single, night clubbing days. I honestly don't remember what it smelled like, since it's been so long ago. My best friend and party pal at the time wore Halston, I remember that. I have a bottle of Halston that I bought a few years ago and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it smells. Cardin has the potential to open a flood of memories for me. If you know where the edt can be purchased online, please let me know. I looked for it for a while but gave up some time ago. Great writing, as always!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know I have mentioned before how much I _love_ this feature, but I have to do it again: I love forget me not. I am a little old fashioned so this might actually be something I'll enjoy. Please enter me in your raffle!

xo,

Christine

Divina said...

Hey Jen sweetie :) Paloma Picasso is my favorite perfume.. probably would be my desert island perfume, can't live without it! As for oakmoss.. I love Chypres, but there are some in which the oakmoss base becomes so singleminded and pervasive it becomes all I can smell after a while. Thankfully this never happens to me with the masterpieces like Mitsouko, even the oakmoss ladden vintage parfum is so very well blended...

Divina said...

Hi Anita! It's always a pleasure to feature something that brings back memories :) Can't believe you remember it either, I felt pretty much alone, lol! I have some websites for you to check for the edt, pdt and pure perfume, but the prices are quite insane! Maybe take a look on ebay as well? When did the prices hike up so much? I am quite stunned. Anyway, here are some websites for you to check:

edt: http://www.1stperfume.com/cardpcfetsl2.html?synertech

pdt (edp): http://www.1stperfume.com/cardinfptsp25u.html?synertech

and perfume: http://www.perfumedistributor.com/brands-p-pierre-cardin-cardin-de-pierre-cardin-women-by-pierre-cardin.html

Divina said...

Hey Christine :) You're in of course, and thank you for the kind words. I usually include a little more bio in this feature, but I have already spoken about Cardin in the past and will no doubt do so again. There's still Rose to come, later in the year, when the cool weather really asks for it!

MJ said...

Thanks for the history of Cardin- I never knew any of that! I agree that the fashion industry should give M.Cardin credit for being a visionary.

butterflyrouge(at)yahoo(dot)com

Divina said...

MJ, it is my pleasure, I love writing this feature and trying to link the subject to bio & other facts of the designers. Cardin is one of my favorites so I'll be sure to revisit him.

Welcome to Fragrance Bouquet btw, and I look forward to seeing you again :)

MountainLover305 said...

This perfume brings back so many memories! I used it for about 10 years and seeing this article brought back so many memories!

Divina said...

Hey MountainLover! Thanks for commenting. I always love to hear from fellow Cardin fans, I adore the man and hope that one day fashion will indeed take a bow as I write in this article. *sigh*

I'm gonna go dab some of this deliciously animalic concoction on my wrists right now!