Denise Hamilton, the crime novelist who write the “Uncommon Scents” fragrance column for the L.A. Times, has a new piece on “scents that evoke bodily fluids.” Naturally, Etat Libre d’Orange’s infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques figures prominently here:
“When I asked Etienne de Swardt, the Baudelairean impresario behind Etat, how the idea for this perfume came about, he relayed the fragrance concept he gave perfumer Antoine Lie: ‘My brief was this pernicious idea of viral risk, which at times gives a mystical and transcendental dimension to sex. Suicide, love, confusion. When one does not know where to stand in between “Protect me from what I want” and rushing for that raw desire, whatever the consequences…Welcome to your mammal’s DNA.'”
Woah. As I’ve written before, I think Sécrétions is revolting and unwearable, and yet I keep going back to it as a novelty. I’d love a large sample of it (perhaps just to scare friends and use for dares), but I could not spend money on it. (Indeed, de Swardt says that it is “the fragrance most demanded for sampling on our Website.”)
Sécrétions was the subject of a lively comment section discussion on the blog Personal Odour recently. Many commenters think they smell egg whites. I’ll have to smell egg whites (uncooked, I’m assuming. Am I wrong?) to get a frame of reference. One pointed out that “if sex smelled like this, human race would be in extinction!” Too true.
Hamilton covers a couple dozen other fragrances, most of which do not cross the line so boldly as Sécrétions Magnifiques does:
“Miller Harris’s L’Air de Rien, Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom and Vivienne Westwood’s original Boudoir all have a soiled-panty note. Cumming by Alan Cumming (by the talented Christopher Brosius) is a coy double entendre that evokes soiled leather panties doused in single-malt scotch. Even Sarah Jessica Parker, whose Lovely and Covet were hits for Coty, is a fan of the skank school. She likes the smell of B.O. and has announced she’s working on a perfume with self-same olfactory note.”
Disgusting, and intriguing.