I've given collective thanks, done my small bit with a good cause charity, plan to donate stuff at my local shelter too and you might feel I'm all spic & span and feeling sanctimonious, don't you. Well, I have had a huge rant rising up in me, crazy-bitchy stuff that you like, and waited just till the season of thanks was semi-over to spill it over these pages for your collective head-nodding (or not; read on to find out and feel free to agree or disagree in the comments).
I was aimlessly browsing at Sephora the other day. A precarious walk amidst beauty bombs, it seems. From left to right and top to bottom there were tantalizing promises of a "younger, thinner, prettier you" in the form of spunky beauty tricksters, sparkling baubles and mascaras that promise to vibrate from here to eternity. Even a beauty editor can be taunted into submission, there's so much stuff out there. The perfume aisles at Sephora are of course decked with all the newest, the plastic wrappers almost warm to the touch off the conveyor belt at some far away factory in some exotic locale. And the best-sellers, naturally. I wasn't expecting to find niche stuff. But -in my country at least- they used to carry plenty of the dependable "mainstays"; indeed they continue to carry Chanel No.19 in Eau de Parfum (a brisk seller locally by all accounts), Aliage and White Linen by Lauder and Miss Dior and the rest of the classic Diors. Right?
Well, no. Strike that latter part out (thank you LVMH).
Dune to Diorissimo effortlessly, alongside bestselling J'Adore and Hypnotic Poison), they displayed prominently a bow-style bottle with salmon juice bearing the name Miss Dior! A double take (you can see the eyesore by yourself at left) and a percursory sniff later, I'm convinced my worst instincts weren't wrong: This is Miss Dior Chérie re-incarnated as simply....Miss Dior. Forget about the classic that kickstarted the Dior fragrance line at 1947. Forget all the history, the accolades, the dedicated following, the definition of gardenia-chypre with animalic tendencies. Young ones are condemned to read about Miss Dior in the future and think of this vile, character-less conconction (because yes, even Miss Dior Chérie has been reformulated to blandness!). What the heck, LVMH? You don't take your originator and bury it six feet under. The confusion to the consumer who was lured by the myth of Miss Dior and then hooked on the slutty girliness of the sweet strawberry-patchouli scent of Miss Dior Chérie was a low trick enough (Exploiting the past to sell the present). Talk about pinkification...
Supposedly this weird bottle is a limited edition, as if the Miss Dior Chérie line isn't confusing enough. (The Ukrainian-sounding sales assistant told me that Sephora has dropped the classic MD perfume, of which she was fully aware, off their catalogue, but other stores still carry it). Supposedly the original is going to be sold as Miss Dior L'Original in several stores. But colour me sceptical: This is pretty much the summation of everything that's wrong with Parfums Dior: not an incompetence of the perfumers team, but bad marketing and positioning decisions that in their lust for more profit, more exposure, more easy sales, lose their core values; intergrity, originality, sticking to one's guns.
I know for a fact that the classic Miss Dior sells adequatelly. I also know for a fact that although teenagers are not the demographic aimed at (much as it was the debutante scent of yore), they are not averse to it when given a chance to blind test it; I have personally sprayed the scarf of an unknown teenager girl when asked what I'm using at the ladies' room and though she found the initial blast "heavy" (notice the vocabulary confusion when trying to describe scent; she meant bitter mossy) she very much liked the effect left on her scarf and carefully noted down the name. But in the end it doesn't matter. Even if the classic Miss Dior didn't sell more than 5 bottles a year at each respective store, a specimen should always be on display because it represents HISTORY. How many of the upstarts can claim that?
To add insult to injury, I have Snooki releasing her own fragrance and on top of that pondificating on perfume for our sakes via quotes and interviews. Snooki, yes, the one from Jersey Shore (if you're European like me, you probably need to check out what the hell this is), about whom I had been bombarded with in press-releases and informercials (what she's using, what she likes, what's her peeing schedule, as if we give a darn), who's going on record saying she only likes sweet stuff: "I don't like anything strong that smells like old ladies. That's why I'm going for the sweet because old ladies don't smell sweet." [from her interesting interview on Allure, which thankfully reveals the girl doesn't know nil shit about fragrance anyway]
Excuse me while I dribble kiwi suryp & smear cupcakes all over myself (as if!) in order to be presentable to the world as the paragon of youthful and alluring. Not.
I mean: kiwi & cupcakes; can you think of a grosser combination of fragrances?
No offence to the girl and you've got to admire perseverance into "making it" in show business, especially when your talons are long enough to make accomplish all those required "moves" rather problematic (if you catch my drift), but how can anyone take style advice from this paragon of elegance and graceful style?
So, in order to have one's say in such matters you have to put down on older women; that always works. No one questions the sagacity of wanting to appear/feel younger, because, well, everybody wants to. Right?
There in a nutshell: two totally unrelated incidents, one gigantic cultural zit turning to a painful boil. Someone needs to lance it, once and for all.
Photo on top by Marilyn Minter. Pic of snooki via hollywoodlife.com