Friday, June 17, 2011
My stepmom informed me that the investment thingy my father bullied me into getting was three months past due. She seemed rather gleeful about it, and of course I couldn't figure out why a.) the statements were coming to her, not me, and b.) why she wouldn't have let me known earlier, so I wouldn't be remiss. For whatever reason, a friend of mine was sleeping in the bedroom. Actually, I'd put him in there with another friend, and I was really worried they were going to start having sex, and that it would be noisy, because they were both good looking guys, and they were nude, and they were in a bed together. So I kept checking on them, hoping for the best. Later, my step mom was cleaning the place, and she seemed really tall, and after studying her for a while, trying to figure out why suddenly she towered over me when usually she was so short, I looked where her feet should be and I said, "Are you wearing...?"
Yes, Brian, she said, annoyed, I'm wearing stilts.
I woke from the dream relieved not to owe money, though a little sad I haven't in fact been bullied into investing into any such savings schemes.
And I did what I always do when I first wake up. I went straight to the perfume. I sprayed on some Balenciaga Paris. Has anyone smelled that?
The thing about Balenciaga is that it's one of those full-of-well-being fragrances. I only really got that this morning. It resolved all the lingering tension from the dream almost instantly. For weeks I've tried to put my finger on what I like about the fragrance, because, for the most part, the reviews have been, at most, lukewarm. The biggest surprise, according to the makeupalley customer reviews, seems to be that for something so...faint?...it lasts forever. Others aren't so friendly, calling it grandmotherly, old fashioned, altogether foul, or just plain unexceptional. I thought it must just be the bottle, which is incredible - one of the nicest I've seen in a long time. Maybe because I liked the bottle so much, I carried that enthusiasm over into the fragrance itself, I thought, because, really, it's true what they say, Balenciaga isn't exactly groundbreaking. So why did I keep coming back to it?
Now I know. It's essentially a comfort thing. Balenciaga, with its overloaded creams and slightly sugared violets, is something close to a cashmere blanket. As others have mentioned, there are a thousand other fragrances like it in circulation. And a big problem with the thing, for me at least, was the schizoid discrepancy between what it smelled like and how it was advertised. Charlotte Gainsbourg isn't exactly the soft, candied, creamy sort, and she sticks out like a sore thumb in the ads, like Jennifer Anniston posing as Sophia Loren. You expect a little more something - a little more edge, a little more oomph - not just because of who Gainsbourg seems to be but because of what Balenciaga fragrances themselves have been in the past. You want Balenciaga Paris to be something spectacular, and it really isn't. Neither is a cashmere blanket, most of the time, until it's cold and you wrap yourself up in it.
Later, while shopping at a counter full of things I'd already smelled or bought, I saw Balenciaga again, and in that context it seemed a lot more interesting to me. I felt like I was better prepared to appreciate it properly. The thing is, I'm not sure I like this fragrance any less than Balenciaga Le Dix, Prelude, or Quadrille. And I'm not sure I would like any of those were they to be released right now. The safety of the past protects them from a certain kind of scrutiny I apply to something when it hits the shelves. Truthfully, Balenciaga Paris holds its own amongst them, and while in the field of contemporary releases it seems uninspired, held up against the line's classic fragrances it seems perfectly at home.
Balenciaga Paris was created by Olivier Polge, the nose behind Dior Homme, a similar fragrance in many ways. Like Homme, Paris has a fresh powdery aspect I like. Both share that distinct creaminess. Polge also did Kenzo Power, which feels a lot like Balenciaga Paris as well. Balenciaga's projection is moderate, the longevity decent enough, though with a fragrance this subtle (it's subtle to me) longevity is sort of beside the point. The violets are somewhat green and peppery, and though people mention carnation, I can't say I detect any.
I woudn't say Balenciaga is a dream, but it certainly seems like a good way to wake from one.