One Thousand Scents

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Alexander McQueen: A Belated Appreciation

Whatever I said about Lady Gaga before, I take it all back.

Well, not all of it. She is a flesh-baring neo-disco chantoozy, but she isn't "modestly talented". She's got a gift for promotion and for wearing clothes, she has an interesting mezzo voice to go along with her interesting looks, and she made this video.

"Bad Romance", indeed: the heartwarming story of a couture-clad innocent who is captured, stripped, drugged, bathed, and taught French by a battalion of latex-clad pod people, then sold into sexual slavery to the highest bidder, whom she kills with her tits. Genius. Dazzling.

Pretty much every stitch of clothing she's wearing in that video (I don't know about the underpants) is by Alexander McQueen, a designer who, you may have heard, killed himself a couple of weeks ago, and what a tremendous loss that is. I don't pay much attention to clothing, but I after I saw the Gaga video, I wanted to know more about his work, and here is what I found: the spring 2010 show, visionary and mad and breathtaking.

In 1997, McQueen launched a scent called Kingdom that was just as forward as those clothes. I am wearing it right now, and it's all I have, literally; I just used my very last drop, and pumped the sprayer until it was gasping for breath. That's it. There isn't any more. You can't really get it online (although I know a private seller who might have a bottle for sale, and I am sorely tempted). Ebay has a few bottles for, of course, insane prices if you must have some. But there isn't much left out there, and when it's gone, it's really gone, because all the interesting things get discontinued while companies just keep on turning out more and more crap.

Let's look at that bottle, shall we?

First off, it looks like no bottle you've ever seen. From some angles, it looks like the ice-cold heart of a robot, beating with some inhuman ichor

or a biomechanical sea creature tucked away in its gleaming chrome shell

It also frankly looks like a stylized vulva, especially the limited-edition armour-plated bottle

which closed up like the Batmobile. (I'm not really sure how that works: I never held it in my hand.)

But mostly it is a heart
which is true to the essentially romantic nature of the scent within. Not pretty-romantic. Not dreamy and lovely. This is sweaty, naked skin-on-skin romance.

The top is a big shot of citrus: bergamot and orange, and lots of it. Hard on its heels is something deliciously filthy; dark, almost decaying rose and jasmine laden with the musky, spicy-sweaty smell of cumin. So much cumin! It's a courtesan's boudoir full of flowers from admirers. It's a carpet of petals you've just had sex on.

Later on: dirty-earthy myrrh, softened with a bit of vanilla.

Kingdom suggests a few other scents; it immediately calls to mind Nu and Black Orchid a little (bedroomy lush floral plus dirty), and the smuttier elements make me think of Muscs Khoublai Khan. But there's no replacement for it. It's one of a kind, I'm all out of it, and if you don't mind, I'd like to be alone with it for a while.



  • I think the design of the bottle is pure genius and it is very unfortunate that it will become one of those long lost gems, considering they will most likely stop production on it due to the untimely death of Alexander McQueen.

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    By Blogger 99Perfume, at 5:38 PM  

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