Saturday, February 6, 2010

The real me is crying to come out...

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue for Women EdT

Oi. Today is not a good day in my house. My mister overslept a work thing that is VERY IMPORTANT TO HIM, and he is really upset about it. I'm supposed to be studying, but -- and in some ways this is a really ironic thing to post right after my little feminist diatribe -- I am taking some of the day to clean up around the house because David finds it calming and comforting when the house is clean. Yes. I'm cleaning for my man. Because truthfully my man does quite a lit of the cleaning, generally, and certainly the lion's share of the crap-Diana-can't-be-bothered-to-do, and I feel like this is something I can do for him to make him feel better.

Though, honestly, I'd give my right pinkie for a decent and cheap bulk laundry service in this town right now. So whilst I an hi-ho-ing around my house this AM, I thought I'd spritz on a little som'em-som'em to talk to you about.

According to Neiman Marcus, one of the MANY places you can buy Light Blue, the scent is described as follows:
This stunning perfume captures the joy of living with:
• Lively Sicilian citron.
• Cheery Granny Smith apples.
• The spontaneity of bluebells.
• Feminine jasmine.
• Fresh bamboo.
• Charming white rose.
• Deep and true cedar wood.
• The fullness of amber.
• Embracing musk.
Light Blue starts out as a mixture of oranges and lemons, but quickly turns to a strangely sour cantaloupe. This lasts less than a minute; then it just fizzles. It goes strangely flat. I saw a review recently that referred to a scent as "linear" because it didn't really change on the wearer over time, and while that doesn't quite match this experience, i8t's similar. Light Blue has a clean smell to it, which isn't bad. It just doesn't have a lot to recommend it in my mind. When it comes to scents, I tend to either like big scents or unique experimental scents, and I tend to stray away from the straight forward, which may explain my difficulty in developing an appreciation for most of your mass market, department store fare. After about twenty minutes Light Blue does change some, and on me it turns to a non-descript fruity smell in the way smarties taste fruity -- very candied. They recently reformulated the taste of the Valentine's Day candy hearts, which are David's absolutely favorite candy year round and bar none, and when I was handed a pink one, I chewed a moment and then said, "It tastes...PINK. And pink is not a flavor." That's the way this smells fruity in this middle section to me. It's fruit, but don't ask me to specify what kind. Just fruity. By the forty minute mark the non-descipt fruit turns into a light, but obviously synthetic apple scent at the fore. In this stage, where Light Blue ultimately lingers, it becomes a light and pleasant, if not very distinctive, scent. It's not a bad scent; I just don't find an overwhelming amount to recommend it, and in a world as full of scent as mine, my dance card feels just a little too full for this one to make the cut.

Also, and I am all about the inner beauty of the juice and not the exterior appearance of the packaging when it comes to good perfume, this bottle? Not attractive. It's not necessarily ugly; certainly it would never make the ugly perfume bottle hall of fame. But the bottle, like the scent, seems to be designed to be inoffensive and not really worthy of comment, which seems like the opposite of the way I want to smell. That description to me is a good one for a household cleaner, not good juice. But then, that's probably my bias again. I suspect the girl I shared an office with last year probably wished I had been a little less in love with Dzing! and Songes and a little more in love with something mild and inoffensive like Light Blue.

This gets at a larger issue for me, though. I tend to think of good perfume as falling largely into two camps. It needs to be art, in and of itself, or it needs to enhance the natural beauty and uniqueness of the wearer, helping them to express themselves or a mood or a feeling in a more complete way.

When I say it needs to be "art," I mean it needs to contribute to the world of scent in a unique way that makes it stand out as something -- and again, here, I think of your classics (Patou Joy, Guerlain Shalimar, Guerlain Mitsouko, Guerlain Jicky, Chanel No. 5, etc.) or some of the work done by Christopher Brosius (Black March, Fire from Heaven) or Andy Tauer (Lonestar Memories, L'air du désert marocain) or something like Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory -- or it should be one of the scents that comes along and so captures the scent imagination it launches a thousand imitations (CKOne, Thierry Mugler Angel, CK Obsession, etc.). It can be a meditation on a moment or a theme or it can simply try, in its best possible way, to be unique to the world of scent, but it should be approached, both by the creator and the some significant portion of the receiving community, as something unique or special or difficult to get right. It needs not to feel like the newest thing to roll off the factory line; it needs to feel worthy of a turn on the catwalk at Spring Fashion Week in Paris.

Wearer enhancing scents, on the other hand, maybe aren't the iconic expression of an entire movement in the form -- like da Vinci's Mona Lisa or Van Gogh's Starry, Starry Night or Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can -- but they are good enough to make a collection or show when you thought of putting all the great "vanillas" or "violets" in a room, in the same way a museum collects works that, as a collection, demonstrate a movement in scent, like impressionism or the Hudson River School. They seem to evoke a specific mood (Annick Goutal Songes, S-Perfumes 100% Love) or are just really beautiful examples in their own right, which might also put them in the "art" category, like some effort to create a platonic ideal of a certain note or aspect of a note (L'Artisan Iris Pallida, Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille). They might collections that reflect attempts at a movement in scent (ultra-realism) or the right scents for critical life moments (weddings, births, funerals) or a collection that attempts to express an emotion, like sadness, through perfume or all the aspects of a single note (like collecting the very best roses -- the patchouli rose, the real rose, the leather rose, etc.). These are scents that might not be the next "CLASSIC" we know and love for a century, but in their beauty or their mood-setting make the wearer a more complete expression of self in the moment.

So when I run across a scent that seems intent on being light and inoffensive and not saying a lot for itself or about the wearer, I admit that I tend to feel slightly irritated because it just seems like such a waste of money and time when it comes to the creation and marketing of scents that don't intend to make any kind of statement. Like good music of any kind, if the juice doesn't move you at some level, what is it for? And perhaps that judgment, try as I might to avoid it, influences my nose a bit. I recognize that all that juice creation in general is what gives us the space to create the scents that endure the ages, but I can't help feeling like they represent a missed opportunity both for the creator and the wearer, and that makes me a little sad. At the same time, I suppose there are a whole lot of people out there who don't love Uta Barth or Renoir or Mark Rothko or James Turrell and genuinely perfer Anne Geddes and Thomas Kinkade, and who am I to deny them the right to hang something on their walls that appeals to them? And who am I, therefore, to deny them their right to smell inoffensive and unremarkable? I guess I just look around at the wonder and beauty around me and it makes me hope that everyone wants a little more of that in their world, their life, so I am disappointed when they choose otherwise. But then, I've always been demanding.

Wow. Did not think I had that much to say about Light Blue. Back to cleaning.

You can buy Light Blue basically anywhere, from Amazon and Overstock.com to Sephora and Saks 5th Avenue. This obviously means it comes at a number of price points. If you try it and like it, you can probably get a bottle for 1/3 to 1/2-off high end retail, so for those of you who love this one, it's your lucky day.

"Oh the scupltor Michaelangelo
was asked how he got in the flow
and made the lovely David
from a giant block of stone.
He said, "He was in there waiting.
My job was simply excavating.
I just took away what did not belong...
Let me be the way I was created.
Let me find a pure and simple heart.
I'll chip away all jealousy and hatred..."

- "Perfect Work of Art," Karen Taylor-Good (you can hear the song here)

Want more reviews? Try...
~ A review from Bois de Jasmin
~ Also, the Make-Up Alley gang gave this an overall 3.7 of 5, with most of the 5 star reviews coming from women who are eight to ten years young than me or more. Maybe I'm just not in the target audience here? <starts making notes for post about age, marketing, and scent...>


Images are from Dolce & Gabbana, Renoir's Dance at Bougival, which hangs at the Boston Museum of Fine Art, Mark Rothko's work in the Rothko Chapel , and Uta Barth).

1 comment:

Mals86 said...

A coworker of mine wears Light Blue (she's 50, by the way, and her "other" scent is Bill Blass Nude). Some days she wafts a faint, pleasant citrus-musk. Some days she smells like a chemical spill. I have yet to ascertain what the difference is.