Having covered movies where perfume figures in the action, the Siren now turns to perfume in the audience. Today is Top 10 Scents of Summer Day for the Siren and some of her Magnificent Fellow Obsessives (links above). The big summertime movie-season is almost over, but I am grabbing my chance to talk about summer perfumes as they should be worn by the moviegoing public. I confine myself to perfumes for women, but I hope this isn't altogether without interest for a man. If it is, stroll around the archives. This won't take long.
Let's start with a general observation about which perfumes are suitable for wearing to a movie, and which are not. Above all, you want subtle application and low sillage. (Sillage, for those who don't speak perfumefreak, is the trail of scent left by a perfume.) And when I say low, I mean LOW. Does your date lean close to sneak another handful of Junior Mints, close his eyes and murmur, "Mmmm," then continue? Good job. That's low sillage. You aren't bothering anybody. On the other hand, did you just hear someone two rows back ask loudly, "What the hell are they putting on the popcorn these days? It smells like chocolate," then that is high sillage. Off to the restroom for a good scrub. Furthermore, if it's chocolate, you're wearing Thierry Mugler Angel, which should never, ever be worn in closed spaces, period. There are other perfumes like that (Coco Mademoiselle, I am talking to you), too strong to ever be suitable for any theater unless applied in amounts measurable only with nanotechnology. With one exception, discussed below, save those super-wafters for that charity ball you're attending next month.
The Siren's Top 10 Perfumes for Summer Movie-Viewing:
1. For an evening at an art house, watching the revival of The Conformist or a Mizoguchi film: Guerlain Apres L'Ondee, a refined blend of violet and anise.
2. For venturing out to the corner video store, to cut through the heat and humidity during the walk: Serge Lutens Fleurs de Citronnier, a clean and slightly soapy floral.
3. & 4. For snuggling under the air conditioning with your man of the moment, watching a Sergio Leone flick solely to make him happy: The soft jasmine seductiveness of Chantecaille Frangipane, or the smoky-sweet warmth of Serge Lutens Daim Blond. With any luck you'll distract him and won't have to sit through all three hours.
5. & 6. For an evening watching The Aristocrats: Annick Goutal Petite Cherie or L'Artisan Parfumeurs La Chasse aux Papillons. At least something in the theater will be sweet and innocent.
7. & 8. For an outdoor screening of a classic--say, a film noir like Double Indemnity: Yves St. Laurent In Love Again or Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien. Citrus and patchouli don't attract flying insects, and both these slightly tangy, sexy scents work well on a summer evening.
9. For that big, sold-out summer blockbuster: Robert Piguet Bandit. I know, I know, I said subtle, but here is the exception. If you are seated next to one of those awful people who talk to the screen, a big whacking dose of Bandit might get rid of him. Marlene Dietrich wore this. Bandit doesn't mess around.
10. Any movie, any time, any place: Caron Tubéreuse. It's that perfect.