The main thrust of contemporary high street perfumery is vulgarity. A pushed up cleavage; cling-wrapped derrière; the rubber-lipped Kim Karshadian of a ‘celebrity’ magazine culture that is peached up, pouted and packaged in a fruity, pink, vanilla’d explicitness; a fruitchouli ‘sensuality’ (you will never know how much I hate Coco Mademoiselle); or else virginalized, and rigidly chastity-belted, as the pure-as-the-driven-snow ‘roses’ that are often, in their holier-than-thou, quite angrily overt ‘get your eyes off my derriere’ passive-aggression, strangely, somehow, even more crass.
Despite this rather rum state of affairs out there in the world of popular perfumery, there is definitely, nevertheless, still a market for more nuanced and intelligent scents that don’t place themselves as definitively at whichever position they have chosen on the culturally prescribed sexometer, that go for a more subtle, distanced approach, melding sensuality, and the mysterious promise of what may be, with fragranced veils of a more demure (some might say prim) floral architecture: in essence, producing scents that are much less cynical, Pitbulled, Tanquerayed-up f***s in a night club toilet, than more gentle, and soulful, scents that draw on a more subdued, pristine quality to instil intrigue and interest, to not state her intentions quite so directly.
In a sense, both Paradis Paradis and Opardu, soapful, green-and-white floaty summer dress creations, are nostalgic, throwback scents, immediately familiar in their savonesque, ladylike, almost motherly, purity. Puredistance’s much lauded Opardu – whose very name is meant to hint at what has been lost, in some sensitive, semi- Proustian manner, is certainly quite redolent of something comforting and feminine (Duncan said it reminded him of the smell of his mother’s make-up bag): for me it approaches more the Platonic ideal of White Soap, particularly of the Japanese variety: Shiseido’s Savon D’Or, for example, with its raised-on-a-pedestal, irreproachable, soapen hardness, as human and fleshed as a Grecian statue; and as removed from all hints of coarseness as it is possible to be.
Though described by some as a beautiful, old school, glamorous scent, I would have to say that despite its undoubted lushness (a glimmering, luminous floral abstraction of tuberose, lilac, Bulgarian rose, gardenia, jasmine and heliotrope) Opardu strikes me more as a slightly cold, if undeniably romantic, scent with some of the ‘respectable’ aura of Estée Lauder’s White Linen, but without that perfume’s aldehydic traditionalism. It smells more modern, perfumer Annie Buzantian (creator of Lauder’s groundbreaking Pleasures and Tommy Girl, among others) successfully combining these plush, green florals with more sensual, powdery cedar musks in the base, to produce, for once, a proper contemporary ‘perfume’ that will appeal to anyone who likes to wear scent as a conduit to escape; to walk about, dreamily, haughtily perhaps, and ‘rise above’. I find, also, though, that there is something almost salty down there in the depths of this scent, an aspect that makes the perfume less pliant and doe-eyed that it initially might appear to be, and hints, possibly at a potential sexual table-turning when these two attractive and well-dressed people leave the exclusive restaurant they have just successfully met at for their fourth date; and, with a slight glint in her eye, head, for the first time, to her room at the hotel on the opposite side of the street.
Paradis Paradis is a far simpler affair than Opardu, clearer-eyed and lighter; uncomplicated. It is also less original. In fact, this perfume is so familiar on first sniff your smell brain immediately goes off searching into its compartmentalized pockets of perfume memory wondering where you know it from. A few seconds later you have it: it is a perfect hybrid of Hermès Hiris and Gucci Envy, with the identical, airy, melancholic iris of the former welded to the taut, chic, slightly bitchy green of the latter (quite successfully, I might add), and creating a full-blossomed, feminine scent that is quite appealing. While similar to the Hermès, a scent I wear myself on days that I want to close myself off from everything, slow down within myself, and enter its aqueous, introverted, almost perverse ill-humour (has a scent ever been more melancholic?), Paradis Paradis is a more optimistic scent: lighter, creamier, with the Envy-ish green note holding it all in place and giving it a slight touch of sass and flirtatiousness. This perfume would be perfect for a garden party in summer, the hostess flitting about in a brand new, carefully fitted cotton dress bought for the occasion, in control; giving out smiles, drinks, and tidbits of food and gossip to her guests, an almost coy, girlish aroma following her pleasantly wherever she goes on the breeze; but, crucially, and intentionally, never giving too much away.
23 responses to “SHE’S SO DEMURE………..PARADIS PARADIS by ATELIER FLOU (2010) + OPARDU by PUREDISTANCE (2012)”
I like the sound of Opardu.
I think you might quite like it, actually. Full, silky….cool.
Not 100% sure about the dry down though.
Both sound lovely, yet Opardu sounds delicious also.
As contemporary fresh summer perfumes I imagine you would quite enjoy them. I don’t love either unequivocally though.
I like the sound of Opardu also -I liked it so much I was convinced it would be for me (that is, if I could afford it.) I was lucky enough to get a tester and surprised to find that – it just isn’t for me. It reminds me of En Passant: on paper, it should be exactly perfect for me, and everyone raves about them both. In practice, I go for Antonia from Puredistance and Carnal Flower and Therese from Malle, (on the planet where I could afford FBs).
There is no way that this scent is worth what they charge for it, and I can imagine that it might smell wrong on a lot of people. What is Antonia like?
Antonia is fabulous – and I can’t really describe it except that for years I wore Eau de Camille by Goutal, and they have some things in common. I’m sure many will disagree – Camille has a very strong honeysuckle topnote, which Antonia doesn’t. But they both have a strong green consciousness, although Camille is fresh and light while Antonia is lush and warm. I can only describe my reaction by anecdote: I wanted to try Opardu or Puredistance I, and the perfumerie had samples only of Antonia. I was disappointed, but I took one. As a big-white-floral lover (Un Lys, Carnal Flower, and Olene) Antonia is different. Rich, long-lasting (I understand it has galbanum, which I am not sure what it is but I must like it) – it’s as if I’m wearing, not the person I am, but the person I dream of being. Antonia makes a better, stronger, more confident self seem possible, though I’m not sure I look like it. When I wear it I am constantly sniffing my own wrist because I love it so much and will never be able to buy a full bottle – must enjoy the sample while it lasts!.
Well I adore Eau de Camille and Olene so I am pretty sure it would be up my street. I mean my title ‘She’s so demure….’ was meant to be semi-ironic to begin with. Demureness is actually quite irritating to me.
I love your reviews…they take me to another place just as perfumes do,..at least perfumes that I really like. I realized I had a sample box of Puredistance I, Black and Antonia but not Opardu. I also remember how expensive their perfumes were and was glad I wasn’t in love with any of them. But I just got out my sample of Antonia and now find I like it a lot–at least the top notes so far. There was a time I really like Eau de Camille and Eau de Ciel from Annick Goutal, but now don’t go crazy over any of the Goutal perfumes although I did enjoy Ninfea during a very hot summer a few years ago.
I thought Ninfea (Ninfeo?) was quite nice initially but a touch half-baked. Puredistance Black struck me as a fine quality masculine but nothing to get excited about, somehow.
I tend to avoid florals in general, except iris. Opardu is my desert island non-iris floral. In fact, if I can only have one non-iris floral in my collection, this would be it and I would not miss any other floral (well, maybe Parfums DelRae Wit). I was lucky enough to get an obscene amount of Opardu at an obscene discount such that if I wanted to bathe in it, I could 🙂
Wow. How on earth did you manage that?
I think it’s great to have huge supplies of a scent you are so welded to. Do you get compliments on it?
Hmmmm, no compliments that I recall. It actually stays close to skin and is a great office scent. I’m tempted to wear it tomorrow even in the heat. It is normally a spring scent for me.
My great deal was through a splitter on Basenotes. I was a greedy little pig and got the lion’s share of what he offered up for split.
Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus.
Going off to Venice And passing The taxfree zone. Any recommendations for both? Am taking Hermes mandarine ambree for Day And comme des garçons 2 for eventing. Would like new paths to try out. In The Oceanic, Tea And Wood mood, maybe Chypre. Will definitely try any of your recently blogged scents.
I wonder. You mention the Hermes. I actually rather like the Narcisse Bleu from that range. Have you read my (very serious) review of that one? It is quite refreshing, yet cerebral.
Fortitude And Strength, both physical And psychological And Psychic ?? Maybe as Well in these final weeks of Term!!
Love the idea of scents such as these, but know deep down they are not me.
Exactly. Ladylike soap can only take us so far.
You describe Opardu beautifully and accurately, and I think that’s a challenge. You are SO good. I’m always in awe.
I’m in love with it. The drydown is superior to the usual well-behaved floral that wimps out at the end. There’s so much detail; it retains its legibility and even seems to become more complex for several hours. It’s really well done and feels like a great, comfortable fit. And ladylike I am not, so go figure!
Does it RENDER one more ladylike ?
Hell, I hope not.