Posts Tagged 'perfume'

it smells like paris

After years of ‘reading’ the NYTimes style magazine, I recently decided I should actually read the words in the magazine, not just the graphics. This is how I stumbled upon the beautifully descriptive perfume reviews which made me immediately wish I had loads money to spend. Not surprsingly, perfumes are more intricate than smelling good or bad and much more nuanced than smelling like roses, apples, or old wood.

Some quotes from a recent NYT Style Magazine review:

Chanel No. 18 is a conceptual portrait of Paris. And a beautiful one….I cannot stress the degree to which No. 18 is a brilliantly postmodern perfume..No. 18 smells as if the perfumers had captured a flower, but a flower whose perfume somehow exudes from spotless glass jewlery counters and warm, burnished stone
is the jaw-dropping incarnation of mid-century Paris … it is astouding because [it] captures the quintessence of the 16th Arrondissment women in full battle regalia (heels, scarfs, blouse, jewels, jakcet)..also becuase of its starling modernity.
(NYT Winter 2008 Women’s Fashion)

What a conceptual portrait of Paris or postmodern scent smells like is completely beyond me, but it’s still intriguing. As little as I understand perfumes or smells, I think (at least for me) it is the strongest memory trigger, much more than any song or visual. When I smell cut grass in the fall, I can feel myself lying on the cold field on a Friday afternoon after practice doing our bizarre, disorganized pre-game ritual with Myers. Or that not-so-great smell of public school cafeterias makes me taste two plates rice and beans (best meal in the new york public school lunch system). My point is that unlike sounds, songs, or images that remind me of a memory, smell makes me relive that tactile feeling of a memory however briefly.

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