Not Couture

It’s a fine line between pleasure and pain, if you’ve [sprayed] it once – don’t [spray] it again…(Chapman and Knight. 1985)
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.…sincere apologies for the scraping sound of my soapbox being dragged across the screen.
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Let’s have a little chat about a particular fragrance phenomena I refer to as ‘Not-Couture’. Firstly, I’ll admit, I’m heinously guilty of committing serial crimes of ‘not couture’ for many, many years. In complete ignorance I went about unchecked, blissfully unaware and self-righteously rude. For what it’s worth, I humbly ask your forgiveness.
OK, so what is ‘not-couture’? It is the savage assault of other people’s nostrils from an over-application of perfume. This phenomena may even be described (by some) as the ghastly deployment of chemical-warfare-by-perfume.
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So… why do perfume manufacturers feel its such a fab idea to dispense more and more of that radioactive juice that’s designed to out-perform, outclass, outlast and overwhelm all of the competition as well as prevent everyone in the ‘sillage-village’ from being able to freely breathe?
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Why make every poor, long-suffering, over-used schnozz in the land experience your spectacular new Eau de Chernobyl? Why are we so eager to lob ourselves into the world as weapons of mass olfaction? It’s quite horrible, and it’s pretty fair justification as to why so many people have come to hate perfume and feel totally trapped in a world that is no longer ambiently safe or aesthetically calibrated for sustaining organic life. Have we just spun completely out of control?
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This socially and environmentally costly form of territorial marking is driven by a marketing strategy that simply wants us to believe that the consumption and projection of ‘product X’ will trumpet an odorific fanfare that signifies wealth and power, luxury, superior class and seductive desirability.
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Usually, though, the actual effect is altogether less desirable. Rather than inspiring admiration, ‘not-couture’ breeds snobbery, inspires resentment, causes irritation, and repels many folk who suffer through the nauseating fog of chemicals involved in concocting, stabilising, boosting and projecting so many of today’s long-range ballistic aromas.
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Ever been shopping for fresh produce at the local fruit shop, and picked up a lime just to smell the culinary possibilities of its hesperidic splendour when Sven, freshly flushed from his recent rendezvous at the gymnasium postures past in a mushroom cloud of his treasured ‘Ja Uberfantastisch? …
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Don’t you realise how much it cost? He had to smuggle it out of Astrakhan by swimming the entire length of the Volga.
1 Blue-Light-Lounge
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The difference between synthetic and natural fragrances may be summarised by saying that the initial application of natural perfume is often quite strong and not particularly representative of the emerging perfume’s true scent profile. This perfume preface evaporates rapidly – typically within 5 minutes. The scent story begins to unfold as the volatile oils heat up in contact with skin. Many layers unfurl; each one lifting off in a fascinating kaleidoscope of beautiful facets that intrigue the wearer (and typically those within hugging distance). Natural perfume doesn’t bombard or fatigue its wearers and beholders because the complexity of botanical essences is intricate, subtle and complex. You don’t need to keep spraying more and more of it just to jog the brain back to life. The wearer’s unconscious mind is totally enthralled with identifying and analysing the scent-plot, connecting the dots, remembering, (re-)imagining and (re)discovering the source.
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Pick up that lime, scratch its rind, just a little and sniff; you’ll smell the many breezes that drifted through the orchard across the seasons, the gentle rains, the hurricanes, the droughts, fires and the floods. The wonder of life that speaks to you from a simple touch with nature yields an infinitely detailed story of survival and life force. Elegant, refined, harmonious and true.
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Perhaps we might all just benefit from gently easing our fingers back and away from the buttons and the triggers of the world.
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