Now my villa-mates may have been slim, but they punched above their weight when it came to 'relationships' - I use the word loosely, because they were. Yes, the year was punctuated by a steady procession of hot-tempered, arm windmilling Frenchmen coming and going at our villa, while I stood meekly by, occasionally emptying waste paper baskets full of apple cores. In short, the Mediterranean is a very sensuous part of the world, and our villa arguably its pulsating heart - or pulsating something...
My next visit to the area was in the mid to late 80s around the time of the launch of LouLou, a loud, intoxicating, tropical oriental centred around the sweet note of tiare. I promptly bought it, possibly even at the airport - I don't remember - and it has served as a symbol of pugnacious sensuality ever since. I must have worn it back then, but I cannot abide it now, as it gives me an instant headache, in much the same way that Giorgio does. If you eyeball that note list you just know there is no way your that your forehead is going to escape its darkly heady vice:
Notes: violet, plum black currant, marigold and anis, tiare flower, tuberose, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, orris, Tonka bean, vanilla and balsam.
And as it happens, Fragrantica, from whom I pinched that note list, agrees that LouLou is a polarising scent:
"LouLou is a controversial perfume that people either like, or dislike, the one that provoke different emotions, and indifference for sure is not one of them." For sure not.
Fast forward to 2012, and the release of burlesque artist Dita Von Teese's first eponymous scent, which is also built around the tiare flower, and which I think has some crossover with LouLou, though you might not think so from the notes.
|Dita Von Teese ~ Source: stuffpoint.com|
Notes: bergamot, peony, Bourbon pepper, rose, Tahitian tiare flower, jasmine, incense, patchouli, musk, guaiac wood and sandalwood.
For starters, both scents have raunchy connotations. As Elena explains in her review on Perfumeshrine:
"LouLou was meant to evoke the great film actress Louise Brooks and her Lulu role in the silent 1928 Pabst film Pandora's Box (tamer than its title would hint at, but not by much considering)."
Another similarity is the fact that they are both cheap, and in LouLou's case, the bottle is both cheap and tacky. Dita Von Teese, on the other hand, has a brassy-looking box with a hideous red plastic inner tray, but the bottle itself is pure class! How many ways do I love the bottle? Let me count the ways...! I make that at least three.
- It has a flat facet you can rest it on.
- It is an intriguing cross between Neela Vermeire's classy ribbed flacons and a small incendiary device.
- It has a cute tassle that will amuse your cat for hours. (Note to self to get cat.)
|Bottle resting on its flat facet, though it probably would have done so anyway on that soft surface|
Then as I say, they both feature the tiare flower, which isn't that common a note in perfumery, and which has a distinctive sweetness to it that not even a shedload of other foghorn florals in LouLou can manage to mask. And both scents are sweetly floral - not unduly so in Dita Von Teese's case, mind. Then while LouLou mugs you with a fuggy base of vanilla-esque variants, Dita Von Teese is relatively sheer and inoffensive, with no noticeable base at all. I'd describe it is a watery, faintly tropical floral braced with a shot of pepper that gives it the faintest smidge of raunch. I completely agree with Natalie of anotherperfumeblog's of Dita Von Teese here.
So for the princely sum of £10.80 (for 20ml) delivered from Cheapsmells, I think I have discovered in Dita Von Teese something rather remarkable - a 'louche-lite' aka an 'office-appropriate business scent'. Which isn't meant to be tautology - or oxymoron - though it may look that way.
|Juan-les-Pins ~ Source: Wikimedia Commons via jwieski|