Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Perfume at the Movies Goes Off-Screen

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.

21 comments:

ParisLondres said...

Great list and post and I like them all!
Enjoy the rest of the summer.

:)

Annieytown said...

F: Your list is fab. I failed to mention chantecaille frangipane. I regret that.

surlyh said...

Oh. Off-screen. I could opine on the odor of The Scent Of Green Papaya, Sweet Smell Of Success, or Smell Of Camphor, Fragrance Of Jasmine. Hell, I'd even take a whiff of The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell Of Fear. But I'm lost till after this shift at the olfactory. Smell you later.

Campaspe said...

LOL! Sorry H. I did run some posts on perfume scenes in the movies. But there is a small piece on a Naruse flick below.

Annie: I love Frangipane. I actually found a bottle of this in Canada but passed it up because ... I don't know why. Weird mood I guess!!

Tania said...

Once I sat in a movie theater completely surrounded by Marc Jacobs fragrance. I thought at first it was one heedlessly wanton applier, but I concluded by the end of the film that it was two or three ladies all around me. Thank you for your public service announcement on Cinema Scenting!

Tania said...

P.S. You and that Tubereuse! On you, dahlink, it works.

Campaspe said...

I heard a rumor that the Caron violently disagreed with you, T. I am so sorry! when I see you in NY I promise to wear something else. Anything else, LOL!

NowSmellThis said...

Thank you for forbidding the use of Angel in closed places, it is much appreciated.

Love your list, we have lots of favorites in common although no doubles on our lists.

surlyh said...

campaspe: Didn't John Waters do smell-o-vision or something? If he didn't do it first, William Castle did.

Campaspe said...

Nowsmellthis: I love your list too, but am still trying to find a way to post comments on your site! I read it almost every day but creep away leaving no footprint.

H: Was it Waters who did Smell-O-Vision? Will look it up. I must say he is one of the very last directors I would trust with such a technology. Von Sternberg, on the other hand, would have had a wonderful time with it. Imagine smelling Morocco or The Scarlet Empress.

boisdejasmin said...

A perfect combination of fragrances and suitable venues! I love your choices and I am glad to see so many of my favourites.

Campaspe said...

Boisdejasmin: I should try to send Bela the link. I just now figured out to make the accent marks in html. :)

I really have to try the TDC scents when I am at Aedes the next time.

mireille said...

Yeah, whack 'em with the Bandit! I love this list! xoxo

Koneko said...

I love the way you listed Summer Movies and Summer Perfumes... perfect! =)

Anonymous said...

Great choices, but the only one I would dispute is the pairing of Apres L'Ondee with the Conformist, my favorite movie, which revels in autumn leaves and decadence.

That said, I saw The Conformist at Film Forum last week, and wore Champaca, when I should really have worn Vol de Nuit or dzing! Humidity be damned.

Tania said...

The laserdisc for Polyester (or was it Pink Flamingos?) a few years back had a scratch-n-sniff strip with numbered cues in the film, to replicate the Smell-O-Vision experience. You don't want to know.

As for Caron Tubéreuse, it's true--it disagreed violently with me, in a physiological reaction sort of way. But only to wear! When it was just on someone else, there was no trouble at all. And so you are free to wear it without pangs of conscience around me when you visit, which I of course hope will be sometime soon. :)

katiedid said...

I love your list. But I must say, if you smelled Angel on *ME* in the dead of winter when its freezing or below out, you would never leave my side. It works that well on me.

La Chasse - I give in! I will absolutely HAVE to try my sample now. Too late for today, but now I'm certainly going to choose it for tomorrow's scent.

Exiled in NJ said...

I feel left out at the party; I am asthmatic and many smells, especially some perfumes, set off wheezing. Works that way too for incense and pot.

careerlady (on Makeupalley.com) said...

Your entire list seems so theatrical! I love it! There's a movie in every perfume.... Hugs, L

Atreau said...

Such a beautiful list with a great PSA that everyone should follow! I really with that grapefruit worked on me because In Love Again smells so wonderful on others.

Happy said...

Great list of perfumes for women! Thanks!