“Eau is Me” is a weekly perfume column, introducing you to new and old scents by pairing them with songs, foods, and even fashion. Colleen Williams has been writing and obsessing about fragrance for years now, and wants you to obsess about it too.
Chloé, the Little-House-on-the-French-Prairie fashion house, has launched a trio of new fragrances, eau de fleurs. At first, I was intrigued – the scents are Lavande, Capucine, and Néroli, which all sounded très French chic. I thought it would smell a little simple, feminine, effortless, like bottled ballet flats. At the time, I was lazily watching “The Witches of Eastwick,” and realized something as I sprayed each scent. The trio of Chloé Eau de Fleurs was strangely just like each woman in the film. They weren’t overt Francophile scents – they were crazy American witchy perfumes!
NÉROLI – Susan Sarandon’s Jane (The Musician)
Néroli is a floral citrus in its natural state, slightly bitter and veiled. It is not as soft as an orange blossom, but after hitting the air, it calms. Sweeter and more sensual Néroli scents (like in L’Occitane’s Néroli) are very popular – however, Chloé’s Néroli is not gentle, it is straight up sireny. Imagine the scene where Jane is strutting her stuff in the grocery store, only to be called a slut at the checkout line, her hair wild, “she’s not wearing a bra.” Damn straight she ain’t.
The fragrance is similarly tempestuous – it starts off smelling like a smoking room in a hotel – stuffy, but with that feeling of past sordid tales sewn in the sheets. It fades to a dry, unmarked soap smell. You know – that kind of soap that isn’t moisturizing, it’s more scrubbed down, bare. It’s all a bit nervous, mathematical, and tight however when the top notes dry down, the result is a vernal, breathy blossom.
I had to smell Néroli about a hundred times before I could wrap my nose around it. Not simple, yet not complicated. Just hard to understand and unconventional, much like Jane.
LAVANDE – Michelle Pfeiffer’s Sukie (The Writer)
Lavande opens just as Donna Karan’s Cashmere Mist does – like a powderbomb of SweetTart crumbs. The main note of lavender is not your grandmother’s lavender, it’s actually kind of like your grandfather’s lavender – very androgynous, but wears beautifully. It’s feminine, it’s masculine, it’s sweet, it’s musty – it’s Sukie Ridgemont, waxing poetic on gender roles in a huge swimming pool with the Devil.
The scent is vintage, but modern. It’s thoughtful, classic, and wintery. A distinctly quiet fragrance – innocent but not virginal, and earthy in an herbal way. There’s even some tea mixed in, and when coupled with cedar, it’s very homey. It reminds me a bit of talcum powder. After a few hours, it smells of faded cotton and skin. It’s really rather elegant without even trying.
CAPUCINE – Cher’s Alex (The Artist)
The logical, perspective-driven sculptress Alex comes on like a creative powerhouse. She’s the first to bed Daryl, even after she utters the most amazing quote ever:
I think… no, I am positive… that you are the most unattractive man I have ever met in my entire life. You know, in the short time we’ve been together, you have demonstrated EVERY loathsome characteristic of the male personality and even discovered a few new ones. You are physically repulsive, intellectually retarded, you’re morally reprehensible, vulgar, insensitive, selfish, stupid, you have no taste, a lousy sense of humor and you smell. You’re not even interesting enough to make me sick.
Capucine does not fail to disappoint – it is actually a blood-red orange flower, more properly called nasturtium in English. The scent is smart, biting, much like peppered grass. It feels edgy but free-spirited, avant garde, green, organic. While the other fragrances are a bit cooler, Capucine is like being in the shade in summer. It unfolds into a crisp unisex scent, perfect for the Alexes of the world.
Whichever witch of Eastwick you are, just remember… marriage is bad for the woman. It ends in the three Ds: death, desertion, or divorce. Hopefully in your favor. Now, have another cherry.
Chloé eau de fleurs Lavande, Capucine, and Néroli; 100 ml – SRP $135.00; Available exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue and Chloé boutiques.