POP: not fearing social norms or losing sophistication

So I lapsed a few days. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been using up perfume samples every which way but loose. I just haven’t been able to get it all down on wordpress because I’ve been held captive by life’s bullshit and also there was the weekend and shopping for discount paper products…  Anyway, on to my report!

I liked the last scent I tried so much that I didn’t want to be disappointed so I thought I’d go with someone I could rely on: Stella McCartney.  Or so I thought.

One of the few perfumes I have and wear that isn’t in a sample spritzer is Stella, the rosey fragrance in the purple bottle. Yeah, you can tell how well things are going by my excellent choice of descriptors.

This sample is of Stella McCartney POP.   I like the metallic hot pink thing going on with the packaging:

StellaPOP

When I first smell it I think Bath & Body Works, unwanted Christmas presents. But it seems to brighten up.

Inside the sample card – in ALL CAPS in two languages:

THE NEW FRAGRANCE BY

STELLA McCARTNEY.

BRIGHT TUBEROSE BALANCED

WITH SANDALWOOD NOTES.

BOLD.

AUTHENTIC.

IRREVERENT.

#POPNOW

I’ll spare you the reposting of the all the text in French, but I had to share the last three descriptors because they are such great words in any language: 

AUDACIEUX

AUTHENTIQUE

INNATENDU

IMG_9074

INNATENDU!!   Unfortunately, even after letting it set for a few minutes it’s not jiving with me.  The name doesn’t really fit the scent, this smells a little old. Like a gift shop full of seashells (or maybe I just went to one of those). It might be the sandalwood.

Because the last scent I tried was all indie and natural I’ve started to miss all the corporate perfume marketing jargon of the past samples. My Adjectivefication of Femininity project will never get traction at this rate. So was hoping to find something about the bouquet of femininity in POP.

I should have known better.

Notes on POP from Sephora:

Stella McCartney POP is a bold, authentic, and irreverent fragrance. It creates an authentic circle where women can inspire, create, and be themselves while not fearing social norms or losing sophistication. It is the perfect scent for empowered young women.

Notes: Tomato Leaves, Violet Leaves, And Green Mandarin, Violet, Tuberose, Plumeria, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Musks.

Style:  Bright. Contemporary. Positive.

One more time: It creates an authentic circle where women can inspire, create, and be themselves while not fearing social norms or losing sophistication. It is the perfect scent for empowered young women. 

Don’t F with us Sephora.  I can imagine an aunt coming in to the fancy makeup store for a nice gift for her niece and asking someone “Is there something that can make her smell empowered?” 

And the helpful beauty rep will say, “Of course, right this way. You want to know what #banbossy smells like?  We have something that stinks just enough that people won’t want to stand next to her and she can pretend that it’s because her thoughts and opinions are too powerful, or maybe that everyone is just jealous of her. The secret? You just mash tuberose with sandalwood.”

There’s something so suspect about the marketing of female empowerment. Reminds me of the latest episode of Call Your Girlfriend where they talk about SHE-EO’s.

From Stella’s Site:

POP is a bright, modern and irreverent scent combining the vibrant floralcy of tuberose with sandalwood.

POP reinterprets tuberose, chosen for its iconic bold scent, by emphasizing its brighter, crisper, more solar floralcy. This newfound vibrancy is balanced with sandalwood; the unexpected combination of the floral and woody notes results in an undeniably feminine scent that makes a statement.

NOTE: My spellchecker flagged the word floralcy but I’m going to start integrating it into daily life.

With all the insane political bs going on right now, there are so many things I have been wondering about. Like how bizzlllionares convinced millions of working people to vote themselves into an oligarchy and why so many people still watch college basketball in March, and now here is something I’ve been wondering for awhile: WHAT IS TUBEROSE? How can you reinterpret it?

I’m not the only one wondering such things. I found an article titled “Things That Smell Like Things: What Exactly Does Tuberose Smell Like, Anyway?

Other fragrance sites confirm that tuberose is a really waxy and strong smelling flower. Stella McCartney thinks you can wearing it and not fear social norms.  I think not stinking like a dollar store candle is something to fear.

Sixth Sample Breakdown

Terms (or fun facts) learned:

Tuberose: it’s waxy, it’s strong, some people love it.

Floralcy:  from Now Smell This Floralcy is ad-copy-speak for “smells of flowers”, as in “a burst of floralcy“, and it is a useful term as many fragrances do, in fact, smell of flowers without smelling like any flower in particular.”      Ad-copy-speak!

Things to work on:  

  1. My attitude, obviously
  2. Being more AUDACIEUX, AUTHENTIQUE, and INNATENDU!
  3. Smelling empowered

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me: 

I wore this to a job interview. Technically it was a phone interview. It was not great, the woman was 20 minutes late and I don’t like to work for hectic people. Having the power of POP with me enabled me to pretty much take control of the situation without “losing sophistication.”

Websites discovered: Now Smell This

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Attracting Spirits with Stinky White Musk: Prada’s CANDY

I was feeling protective of things and people that can’t protect themselves so I chose the day’s fragrance sample from the few I have that had lost their sample folder homes.

Prada’s CANDY.     I like candy. Who doesn’t?

PradaCandy

Maybe me?  Notes after my first spray:
Yeeeeck and get me to the drydown ASAP.
Smells musky and reminds me of the type of perfume people would be mad at you for wearing to a theater. I can’t wait to learn more about fragrance to be able to communicate what it is I don’t like about this.

Here’s a stab: Is this supposed to smell like a macaroon or a half-used Werther’s left in a coat pocket next to a satchel of potpourri?

I saw my boyfriend around lunch time and after the past two days, I’d grown tired of waiting for people to comment on my scent so I asked him what he thought. He said “I didn’t notice at first, but now that you pointed it out I have to go.”

I bet you that the femininity adjective in this perfume description is something like “disagreeable femininity” or a “confrontational femininity” or maybe a “geriatric femininity”.

Without a fragrance card to confirm how right I am, I had to check the Prada website:

“Bright, sensual and bold, Prada Candy fragrances are delightfully addictive scents inspired by a new facet of Prada’s femininity, where more is more and excess is everything.”

Oooooh I GET it “Prada’s” Femininity. They have been around enough to have their own take on it. I had to research this because I thought that maybe I should be ripping off some Prada femininity. I learned that Prada’s Fall 2017 line “explores feminism, femininity, and femme fatales.In a poster-covered set, the designer explores the idea that the personal is political”  Allure wrote that “Prada makes a powerful statement about feminism and make up”  A quote from the article: “The Prada woman is a very powerful woman. Even if she’s super feminine at times, she has some sort of empowerment to her and her beauty look always reflects that.”  

Yes yes I see, makeup and power and feminism are all opposing forces. Where does fragrance fit in? I took a moment to pause and appreciate that women still manage to live and work and grocery shop and care about others despite the exorbitant amount of contradictory messaging thrown at us every day.

I still needed to know what notes in this scent are buggin me out so I went to Sephora’s CANDY site:

Fragrance Family: Warm and Spicy
Scent Type:
Warm and Sweet Gourmands
Key Notes:
White Musks, Benzoin, Caramel Accord
About:
Prada Candy is a fragrance with a novel olfactory balance combining exceptionally high-quality ingredients in excessive proportions. Magnified by white musks, noble benzoin comes together with a modern caramel accord to give the fragrance a truly unique signature.
Prada Candy is impossible to ignore.

They are right. Something that stinks is hard to ignore. Something that smells good makes you feel good. And looks like I wasn’t wrong about the Werther’s (hello caramel accord…) I decided to spend the day doing something stinky: more taxes.
Third Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:
Olfactory balance
Benzoin: a balsamic resin from the Styrax tree. It has a sweet odor that is sometimes described as smelling like root beer. 
Gourmand: in perfumery, describes fragrances which evoke food smells, such as chocolate, honey, or fruits.
Caramel Accord: Couldn’t find industry definite other than something about burnt sugar. I love caramel cake. It’s big in the south.

Things to work on:

  1. My dislike for musk.
  2. My preconceived notions abut what CANDY should smell like.
  3. Think about how my “some sort of empowerment”  is reflected by my beauty look.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:
Got to see my BF at lunch, got tons of editing done, got two unsolicited job leads, had a friend over for Tarot Tuesday and both of our readings were DEAD ON accurate (obviously). I attribute this more to the ghost of the House of Prada than all that white musk, burnt sugar, and benzodine or Benzoin or whatever. Maybe the ancient tarot spirits like musk. Wouldn’t that just be the case?

 

Trying to Stay Fresh: Moschino

My choice this time was based on 100% packaging. Moschino’s Fresh is in a cut out folder that looks like a tiny bottle of windex. Maybe this is one of those dual-use products. Should I try to clean my cell phone screen or countertop with it too?

FreshMoschino

I don’t know how to pronounce Moschino. I can’t get the idea of maraschino cherries out of my head when I see the name, so there’s no way I’m going to get it right unless I got help from Youtube:

My first spritz, on my wrist again, sends me back to a yellow can of Designer Imposters body spray – I think it was called “Primo”.

Turns out you can still buy Designer Imposters and I think they have expanded the line into something called, oh I don’t know – Axe body spray.

Primo

Fragrance tangent: Primo! is formulated with rare and costly essences normally used only in the most expensive perfumes. Primo! is a soft, all-over body fragrance and gentle effective deodorant. For a delightfully clean, fresh and feminine feeling all day, spray over entire body. Made in USA.       

Even though it was a gray and rainy Monday, I felt motivated and got stuff done. One could say that yes, I was feeling Fresh.  I like to sign off emails and text conversations with “Stay Fresh! XO” to let people know that I know how fresh they are. If you didn’t grow up on YO! MTV raps, It means cool, fly, and of great quality.

I’m not going to worry that this fragrance is evoking major association from the 90s because sense memory is a real.   

I was about to leave to meet my Fresh friend for happy hour and I noticed I didn’t smell Fresh at all. It was reminder that Freshness fades. I re-sprayed and sprayed again, this time in my hair and all over my coat.  I was pretty determined to have someone comment on my freshness.

Even though I’d emptied the entire bottle, by the end of the day I had received zero comments or compliments. Learning yet again that we suffer if we seek external validation of our Freshness. 

But why does this scent stink to me? 

The Moschino site shows the full size perfume bottle as an actual windex bottle.   Like the sample folder, the website has no information about freshness OR femininity.

FreshInside

The joke is on you for buying an expensive bottle of perfume that looks like windex and smells the teen that babysat you while you were watching Muppet Babies.

I need more description so I visit Sephora.

“A surprising and ironic perfume, Fresh Couture plays with fresh and joyful accents and a tempting femininity. A sparkling and compelling top note of bright mandarin and bergamot is enriched with the intense and exotic character of ylang ylang. A juicy and inviting touch of raspberry adds colorful and amusing contrast to the floral heart of elegant white peony and velvety osmanthus. The dry down underlines the refined and contemporary character of the perfume with a luminous, sensual trail of clear woods, white patchouli, and ambrox.
The ironic fun of the bottle makes the aspirational accessible to us all. A touch of gold detailing adds a nod to refinement and luxury.
Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Ylang Ylang, Raspberry, White Peony, Osmanthus, Cedarwood, White Patchouli, Ambrox.
Style: Fresh. Joyful. Feminine.”

Fresh. Joyful. Feminine.   Nothing makes you more joyful than a reminder that you have to clean your windows.

And there it is: Tempting femininity.  I’m going to compile a list of the adjectives used alongside femininity in fragrance descriptions.  I will probably write an analyst of it called “The Adjectivefication of Femininity”.

Seeing the list of fragrance notes tells me why I don’t really like this scent.  Too much going on. And they use Bergamot, the scent of two-and-a-half-star hotel body lotion.

Also, the smell doesn’t match the bottle. Everyone knows that a perfume in a windex bottle should smell more like ocean spray or fresh cotton or some other kind of Febreeze flavor.

Second Sample Day Breakdown

Terms learned:

Osmanthus:  a flowering tree native to China, valued for its delicate fruity apricot aroma.

Ambrox: a synthetic compound created as a replacement for natural Ambergris; it has a musky-ambery odor. This definition lead me to an article about Escentric Molecules Molecule 02 that explains: “Real ambroxan is found in ambergris, but the stratospheric cost of its extraction makes it prohibitive for use in fragrances. Ambergris itself is one of the few natural animalic fragrance ingredients that has no connotations of cruelty because it is produced and excreted by the sperm whale. It can float on the ocean for years evolving under the influence of sun and salt water. Then it is collected when it washes up on shore, by which stage its distinctive nutty, warm scent is a symphony of boronal, ambrinol, dihydro ionone gamma – and its best-smelling aromatic part, ambroxan.”

Things to work on: 

  1. Forcing people to notice my perfume. Should I remove the spray mechanism and just dumping it on my head?
  2. Project Adjectivefication of Femininity: My list of perfume adjectives used along with femininity.

Magic, luck, or compliments this fragrance brought me:   Cleaned up a bit, stay mostly fresh, got tons of errands and work done, and met a friend out for happy hour.

Websites discovered:  Now Smell This Perfume Glossary