Sunday, May 30, 2010

soy loco por coco: Chanel coco review

constant emir One of my favorite moment moments in modern fragrance history is the great Spicy Oriental boom of the Eighties. These fragrances were awesome, in my opinion; Opium, Cinnabar, Shalimar, Poison, Coco—these ladies didn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thought of them. They were huge, domineering, impossible to mistake for another, and were so powerful that they launched the biggest backlash ever—the ultimate domination of ‘quiet’, ‘linear’ fragrances like CK One and Bulgari’s Thé Vert. What nobody seemed to realize, or at least care about,  at the time is that these fragrances were singing the swan song of the great operatic fragrance a la big perfume house. Since then, most new releases—even from the great houses of Chanel and Guerlain—have been nice at times, but never as complex, dense, and intriguingly impossible to completely understand as these powerful creatures of their time. Of course, niche perfumers still create grand fragrances  with lots going on all the time, but the general public, while reveling in all other things ‘eighties’ right now, doesn’t look like it is ever going to shift back to the perfume-friendly aspect of that decade’s zeitgeist anytime soon, if ever.

coco

Chanel’s Coco is, characteristically, one of the most refined of the bunch, and the one I believe wears the best today because of it. It doesn’t scream “I am an eighties oriental!!” which some would say is a good thing, although to me, it just means I need to evaluate the juice on slightly modified terms. It is powdery in a very delicate way, spicy, woody, and dense, but also supremely balsamic and dark. The spicy notes shimmer about and change continuously, and some florals peek through the dense silk brocade oriental curtains from time to time, but only as if to say: “we are still here,but pay no mind to us…” I love its elegance, its indefinable glamour, and its very womanly and mysterious heart.  I wear it when I want to seem cool, collected, but also sensual and indefinably exotic—I guess like Coco herself . A treat for the senses indeed.

 

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CREDITS:

Benjamin Constant’s Oriental fantasy “Favorite of the Emir” and the image of young Coco Chanel courtesy of Wikimedia commons 

 

 

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5 comments:

  1. Coco is a great fragrance. I'd worn it a few times before I realised that it was a scent from the 1980s, and in some ways that ruined some of the pleasure as I had previously thought it was an older fragrance. But, I've worn it again since and can see how it fits with all the 80s horrors, but it's the only one that's managed to survive that era of truly shocking perfumes.

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  2. I too didn't realise that Coco was from the 80s - I thought it was older! But I do still love Opium, though I wear it much lighter than I used to!

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  3. MyPerfumeLife: 80's horrors? you hurt my heart...LOL! I know what you mean, though!

    Bloody Frida: You are both right, it does seem older, more 'classic' in a way. Like it's not trying too hard to fit into that whole 80's aesthetic so much...

    About Opium, such a gorgeous fragrance as well, although I understand it has been reformulated (involuntary shudder of horror)

    but Coco is fabulous, and well worth wearing, on its own terms, with or without its historical context.

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  4. You must have read The Perfect Scent...
    I wonder what you think of it?
    For years I didn't wear perfume-too close to food and chefs objected.
    I'm just putting my toe back in the water so to speak...I love how the French make perfume a crazy free-for-all tasting buffet in their stores. We're too uptight here :(

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  5. mais oui, je l'ai lu...

    And I liked it a lot! I thought it was a really cool look at the fragrance industry--not romantic, but also really beautifully written at times.

    Glad you are coming back to scent; there are lots and lots of perfumes that I believe play really well with food; it's just a matter of seeking them out! I am always looking for them, as a food-lover myself.

    SO glad you dropped by...I admire your work so much, so thanks.

    ReplyDelete

what thinkest thou?

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