Ah, yes – I do love it when my wife goes looking for Ralph Lauren dresses at one of our nearby Macy’s stores. When she does, it puts me right smack dab next to the counter with all the “young” and “celebrity” feminines. A bunch of stuff that I would not normally bother sniffing, but which I still have to respect, if only for their astounding popularity. I’m the first to admit that not everybody is a stick-in-the-mud, clinging to outdated and totally out-of-style frags from years gone by. Sure, we can call them “classics”, but we’re not fooling anybody under the age of 20. The kids do NOT be wantin’ any of them old “jijibaba” frags from OUR youth. They have their own era to be cool in, and their own fragrances to accompany their coolness.
SO – let’s check ’em out. I decided to go for “edgy” this time. All three of these scents try to offer up a different kind of provocative twist. Let’s see how well they did it!
Ed Hardy Skulls and Roses ** plastic-skull pez
I had completely forgotten that this fragrance was coming. I remember being dumbfounded when somebody on Basenotes posted that this was, in fact, an upcoming bottle. It would be a long time before we would be laughing as hard as when this picture hit the fragrance boards.
So – what do people get for their money when they buy a perfume in a white plastic skull? Quoting the likely retort of my dearly departed mother, “What do you EXPECT you’re going to get? IT’S A SKULL.” Ah, yes, she had such a delicate but apropos way of putting these things. To think that she raised such an optimist as myself – the mind boggles.
Still, let’s be honest here. It’s not that bad. To quote my dearly not departed wife, “Nice. But ordinary.” Indeed, it’s a fresh fruity floral, surprisingly non-edgy, with an emphasis on FRUITY in all caps. It’s young, and innocent, and only out there in a loud and attention-getting way on notes that make you want to give it a hug. You might say that the blackcurrant is in an acting-out phase. It’s the kind of fragrance that, when mom sneaks into goth daughter’s bedroom, and secretly spritzes the skull-frag, peering ominously from its black lace shrine on the dresser, she will feel a sense of relief, knowing that she probably will NOT be changing diapers anytime soon. Ya know what I’m sayin’?
If you want a “_____ and Roses” fragrance that will have mama worried, try Kerosene’s excruciatingly edgy and artistic Whips and Roses. Now there‘s a fragrance that deserves a kick-ass bottle treatment.
So – as for Skulls and Roses – buy it for the bottle only. Nothing to smell here. Move along, people……
Nicki Minaj Pink Friday ** action-figure floral
I can thank Nicki Minaj for wetting my pants and drooling over my keyboard with laughter, when I first saw the bottle for her debut fragrance. Even the O_O smiley fails to capture the beautiful horror that is the bottle for Pink Friday.
You know that broken action figure that somehow self-resurrects for most of your child’s life? The one that survived hideous maltreatment by the child, and the dog, and the neighbor kids, and the lawnmower, plus a few long winters behind the plywood in the garage, where wild animals secretly did diabolical things to it, and maybe even incorporated it into a nest or two. And then you marvel that it still retains most of the paint and the head. The arms and lower half are gone, but somehow, instead of signifying serial killer death, it’s like a Power Ranger Nefertiti – some kind of cheap but wondrous ode to eternal life.
That is the power of the Pink Friday bottle. So you see, I KNOW that I simply must own it, someday. Some day, when nobody else is perusing the fragrances at Marshall’s, and I can pretend like I’m buying it for my “daughter”. Who is really the dog, who will surely grab it and carry it out to her “power place” in the front lawn.
But enough about the bottle, marvelous though it may be. Let’s talk about the fragrance.
Again – not bad. I would even go so far as to call the opening both “good” and very “Nicki”. By that I mean, it DOES open just a bit edgy. It was a bit too fresh, and had some jarring but well-played peppery notes popping up through the usual girly goop. Somebody got that right. Some spicy bits that do, sadly, fade back into a soft, hazy melange. It’s pleasant. No great shakes, but not a bad fragrance at all.
Again, if you’re going to buy Pink Friday, then buy it for the bottle, or buy it because you’re a fan. Buy it if YOU, personally, like the fragrance. But that’s all the recommendation you’ll get from me. Personally, I think that Lady Gaga’s fragrance Fame is far edgier than this one, and frankly more interesting.
Bottom line: Girls just want to have fun. This is an OK fragrance in a fun bottle.
Givenchy Ange ou Démon le Secret Elixir *** fresh dominatrix
To quote a friend’s blog title, eau my gawd. Cannot believe that I worked up three stars for a crafty use of the fresh facet of a woody amber, but hear me out.
There is something really good about this fragrance, and it took me a while to get my head around it. If I had to describe it in a single sound byte, it would be that somebody found the sexy side of mothballs. The associated marketing imagery of Uma Thurman getting dressed is quite shrewd, because this fragrance does seem to evoke a strange tension between a woody chemical freshness and more traditional feminine notes.
Even my wife liked this immediately. WTH. Granted, she likes Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons for some unexplained reason, but she didn’t even know the name of this fragrance when she smelled it, so that can’t be more than a coincidence.
I think I like it, because I like Bleu de Chanel. There are some of us with a weakness for mainstream freshness contrasted with “darker” notes, and I guess that’s the secret here.
As with the others above, this is a fresh fruity floral, but this time it’s FRESH that’s in all caps. Hardly distinctive or groundbreaking, I could not BEAR to give this more than 3 stars. And yet, if you like the opening of this fragrance, then I say jump on it, because what you smell in the store is pretty much what you get when it dries down.
And Uma Thurman is hot hot hot. But never buy a fragrance because it’s being pimped by a hottie. Rule number one. Because otherwise, you’ll end up with a bunch of fragrances that really don’t deserve to be in your wardrobe.
Not that I would know ANYTHING about THAT.
So – what’s the point of it all? Great question.
The fact is, very few fragrances these days actually ARE edgy, in any sort of truly significant way. What they do is push very gently on a very small envelope of mainstream acceptability. They’re mainstream enough to guarantee cash flow, but edgy enough to be distinguishable from other scents on the same counter, that smell roughly the same. This one is fresher than that one. That one is fruitier than this one.
“But THIS one comes in a bitchin’ bottle!”
KA-CHING! Nicki Minaj Pink Friday is SOLD!
Fools! If only they looked down the counter, they could get the fragrance that Uma Thurman wears!