I love scents with hidden facets; secret folds; a sense of nether, and this obscure scent from Balenciaga’s disco-age is one such creation.

A boudoir: The Hunger: Susan Sarandon tumbling in vampiric ecstacy with her girl-lover in wind-blown drapes; billowing filigrée, tulle; soft-focused, kohl-eyed, endless trails of honey-white curls…..













Apparently inspired by Cristobal Balenciaga’s favourite model of the 70’s, Michelle is suggestive, soft, with filthy underbelly, all concealed beautifully in a masquerade of big-eyed, girlish innocence. The main accord – peach/aldehydic, leafy floral of tuberose, orchid and gardenia, is similar in some ways to Paco Rabanne’s Métal (which also debuted in 1979), but in Michelle there are no harsh edges; all is willowing, dreamy; whispers of illicit, powdered musks and dusky coconut hollows. It is alluring, disturbing, and one of my very favourite tuberoses.


Filed under Flowers

18 responses to “THE HUNGER: : : MICHELLE by BALENCIAGA (1979)

  1. brie

    I am not familiar with this one at all but as soon as I saw “similar to Metal” without the harsh edges I lost it!!! Today is a Metal day for me, ironic, eh? “Dusky coconut hollows”…divine……

    • It is gorgeous, this one…(.I might have a tintsy bit enough for a sample…..lovely, actually: VERY dreamy and sapphic)

      • brie

        no no…that little bit of juice must remain with you….I am truly experiencing it through your exquisite writing..sometimes for me this is absolutely enough….xx

    • How is the Metal working? Do you still enjoy it?

      • brie

        OH YES!!!! Funny but when I first applied it I thought that it was not as bracing as I had remembered it to be…but then I remembered reading somewhere that when a perfume ages the top notes are altered or often disappear so one needs to wait until the drydown to really judge….Metal this time seemed a bit more subdued and soapier at the onset…but then the gorgeous drydown…EXACTLY as I remembered….and I kept sniffing my alabaster wrists all day yesterday (students as well as colleagues looking on as if I had lost my mind! but I could not help myself!!!) It brought up a whole slew of memories!

        today I will be resplendent in First!!! Will let you know how I get on with that one…xx

  2. Lilybelle

    Same here: I don’t remember this one but Metal got my attention. I love PR Metal.

  3. Hello! I’m new to following this blog, and I was delighted to read your beautifully written and aptly illustrated post about one of my favourite Balenciagas!
    How I was introduced to Michelle… I bought a vintage coffret of Balenciaga minis and unfortunately one of the bottles -Michelle- had leaked throughout the box. The wonderful (yes, soft!) smell of Michelle was so enveloping and mesmerising, I quickly sought out several more bottles. Which I haven’t even worn (my odd behaviour regarding perfume acquisition is another story best left for therapy).
    If anyone wants to try a sample of the dreamy Michelle from one of my bottles, feel free to drop me a line!
    XXMsV (Christine)

    • Wow, you have stockpiles of this treasure?!!!

      Strangely enough, your ‘odd behaviour’ isn’t that different from mine. My own Michelle has either been siphoned off for other people, or has just been sampled by me once every so often on the back of my hand. I have never worn it out of the house.

      But isn’t it a gorgeous scent? There is nothing else like it. I’m not even sure if my Metal comparison is correct in truth…

      Thanks for appearing on here!

  4. Martha

    Don’t know Michelle, but I thought that The Hunger was a beautifully stylized film when I first saw it. To be honest, I don’t know ANY Balenciaga perfumes. I have so much sniffing to do…

    • The Hunger is ridiculous and sublime in my view: I adore it, because a film could hardly be MORE stylized…so gauzy and dreamy, and that’s why this perfume feels so perfect for it…

  5. Dearest Ginza
    You’re quite right… this sounds both alluring and disturbing at once. Rather like Catherine Deneuve in The Hunger…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

  6. I used to love Michele…haven’t smelled it in years; however, I have three vintage bottles of Metal (2 still unopened) and still love it.

    • Ah, Metal, Michelle, Mystere……..I am on a real seventies tip this week. Mystere smelled divine when I wore it on Saturday night. Perfect. Metal is a perfect spring scent for me, while Michelle is too feminine. I just love sniffing the bottle though; so plush, rounded, that tuberose coconut……..

    • And I envy your vintage bottles, unopened. There is something so delicious knowing they are there waiting, just in case, and you know how precious they are because they are no longer made, but that at some point in the future the moment will just be right and it will be like opening up boxes of art.

      • Exactly. I have had the two unopened ones for quite a while and the cellophane is still on the boxes. The opened one still has a little bit of juice in it and the fragrance has not turned. All three are around the same age which was not long after Metal came out. I was so afraid it would disappear that I bought the other two not long within a short time after the first one.

      • A very wise prescience. I always find it impossible to rip them open just to check the smell.

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