Thursday, February 10, 2011
Frederic Malle - Lipstick Rose
Lipstick Rose is a perfume that grew on me. In 2008, while I was visiting England, I took the opportunity to do some perfume shopping. Being a budding perfumista, I wanted to smell perfumes that I had read about, but didn't have access to in Toronto. The friendly SA at Liberty pulled out the entire Frederic Malle line for me and I spent a long time sniffing through each perfume. I was determined to make a purchase of something that I couldn't get back home, and I wanted it to be an "important" perfume, something that would be remembered. I settled on Lipstick Rose. It was so different that anything else. It was unique and strong-willed and very glamourous.
Later, back in my hotel room, I was already having second thoughts. At the time, my favourite perfume notes were amber, spices and woods, but definitely not flowers like roses and violets. Also, unique and strong-willed I may be, but glamourous? No. I felt somehow unable to live up to Lipstick Rose. Now, years later, I've come back around to loving flowers, especially roses, and Lipstick Rose has moved back to the front of the cabinet.
Lipstick Rose is deceptively simple and linear. It's a combination of rich red roses and fruity purple violets, with a base of vanilla-amber and musk. But it has hidden depths. I find interesting dualities in Lipstick Rose. Roses are luscious, grown-up and romantic flowers, while violets are sweet, girly and demure.
The rose-violet combination in Lipstick Rose smells uncannily like thick, creamy lipstick, maybe something from Chanel and there is a powdery quality to it, like fine face powders. But although makeup is definitely inedible, Lipstick Rose also has an edible, gourmand side to it. The fruity violet ionones are berry-like, and the vanilla in the base makes me think of cookies and marzipan.
Lipstick Rose is also simultaneously old-fashioned and aggressively modern. Roses and violets may be "old-lady" notes, but the perfume is modern in the way it's composed. Spray on Lipstick Rose and you won't picture an old lady. It's a perfume for Dita Von Teese, putting on makeup at her dressing table and lacing up a corset. Maybe I don't have to live up to that. Maybe it's enough that I get to live in it for a while.
Nose: Ralf Schwieger
Notes: rose, violet, vanilla, vetiver, amber, musk
Where to buy in Toronto: at Holt Renfrew