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domingo, 27 de março de 2016

Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe: Montana Parfum de Peau

by: Miguel Matos

Welcome to another chapter of the series "Shop Your Fragrance Wardrobe", in which our writers explore fragrances they've owned for some time but seldom wear. Join us for the journey!
When I was a teenager, the Montana bottles were a fascination to me. I was always mesmerized to see them in the perfume shops. However, I think I never smelled them at that time and nobody near me wore them. So, when I blindly swapped for Parfum de Peau a couple years ago, I didn't have a memory to associate with it. The bottle may represent a visual reference from my youth, but not the scent. I was seduced by so may articles, reviews and comments on this perfume landmark at Fragrantica and other websites and blogs that I had to try it. My friend Barbara Herman also reccomended it, so I decided to get some real fast and catch up on lost time.
“Claude Montana's fashion shows excelled in styling as well as presentation. Because of their vibrations, modeling for Montana became prestigious and invitations to his shows the hottest tickets in town. With fashion's return to harder lines in 2007, Montana has become an inspiration for many designers. Alexander McQueen praised and honored Claude Montana many times in his collections. Both designers shared a love for construction and high quality. Montana is a genius admired for the precision of cut and purity of design, in his aesthetical contribution to the 80's fashion silhouette revolution.“ - Parfums Montana
When I received the bottle in the mail, an almost full 100ml bottle, heavy and visually impressive, I was first hypnotized by the curves and architectural shapes. When I sprayed it on my skin I was overwhelmed and not really sure if I would wear it. Inside that bottle I had everything I love: leather, civet, castoreum, tuberose, oak moss... But there was a strange note to go with it that gave it a great deal of originality and also a strangeness. I now know it was the marigold and narcissus combination. Or at least I think so. It imparts a green spicy flower element that makes it explode a bit in the top notes.
The first time I properly wore it outside I was going to an art gallery cocktail party and I think I may have oversprayed. It was a warm spring afternoon. I remember having the experience of smelling something very heavy but also very seductive. It felt like real shoulder pads due to the opulent, sexy and baroque composition. But with time it started to bug me. It was too imposing, too loud, even though I liked it. But I should have had more caution. This was more than two years ago and the bottle sat unused in my perfume wardrobe since then, next to other civet and leather delicacies. I started to collect other Montana fragrances and from time to time opened this bottle just to get another whiff of Parfum de Peau. My afterthought was always: “why don't I wear this?”
This winter, without thinking too much about it, I suddenly grabbed this gorgeous bottle and sprayed it once. Twice. No more. And magic happened. This is one of those scents that needs an instruction leaflet. Two sprays. No more. And on the neck. Not on the back of the hands, not on clothes. You need to have your nose away from direct contact, to get constant whiffs with of it. And for the next week I saw myself wearing Parfum de Peau 2 or 3 days in a row, something that is very rare to me. The scent didn't go unnoticed, some compliments here and there and an occasional “smells like an old woman”. I had never thought of getting rid of Parfum de Peau, but after this experience of correctly dosing the Montana masterpiece, I am sure I will give it a lot more attention.
Lately I have been more and more interested in florals, mainly jasmine, tuberose and narcissus. This composition has all of these three components. My hatefulness regarding rose is also fading, so it seems to be the perfect time for experimenting with strongly floral fragrances. Parfum de Peau manages to mix the flowers with a very dense, very heavy and unabashed animalic base. The leather in Pafum de Peau is a perfect balance between harsh and sweet tones, and when paired with the warmth of civet and the sweaty, hairy, leathery facets of castoreum, it complements the flowers perfectly. The oakmoss is present from top to bottom, giving it the earthy tone that later on connects with the patchouli. To envelop all these notes, there is a sweet, animalic, syrupy honey. Everything is too much, just as I like it. I always prefer excess!
“Parfum de Peau represents everything the 80’s stands for in the popular imagination: it’s loud, daring, and cacophanous. Parfum de Peau comes in a breathtaking, award-winning helix-shaped bottle designed by Serge Mansau, inspired by the rounded and sensual forms of the female body in motion,” says the brand.
Adding more fame and hype to this fragrant work of art, the enigmatic bottle got a chance for a cameo in a movie most of us watched in the 1990's called Basic Instinct, starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. The sexy killer Catherine Tramell had a bottle of Parfum de Peau sitting in front of the mirror inside her bathroom.
A dangerous woman always needs a dangerous perfume to match her personality, don't you agree?
I think that this would be a great niche fragrance if it was launched today. For me it has no past associations, so it bears no reference to someone or some place. I am glad to have given it a second chance and plan to have a long time relationship with it for the next winters to come. I just have to remind myself not to wear more than 2 sprays...
Top notes: blackcurrant, pepper, cardamom, marigold, ginger
Middle notes: rose, tuberose, narcissus, carnation
Base notes: patchouli, musk, castoreum, amber
Parfum de Peau was originally composed in 1986 by Jean Guichard and was reformulated later by Edouard Fléchier who removed some of the animalic notes and retouched other accords. In my opinion, the difference between vintage and modern versions is not significant. Go for vintage or modern and apply sparingly. Don't be greedy with Parfum de Peau. Give it space and it will grow on you.

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