Hiya Fashion & Fume Heads,
Opium by YSL 1977
It’s 1977 and the reigning king of Parisian Haute Couture is 41 year old Yves Saint Laurent. He has brought the Peasant Shirt and Gypsy Look and is about to do a sensational Oriental Brocade themed Autumn/Winter that will also usher in his most extraordinary success, Opium. So much legend and myth surrounds the launch of this fragrance, so many of our friends mothers were Opium Only girls and my BFF Kath’s Mum still wears only Opium to this day. She is the catalyst for this post because I have been lucky enough to procure a 36ml Vintage EdT for her and I also found a 7.5ml Parfum that I will share with her. Don’t tell her though, it’s her Xmas present. SHHHH
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Coriander, plum, citruses, mandarin orange, pepper, jasmine, cloves, west indian bay, bergamot
Heart: Carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, cinnamon, orris root, peach, lily-of-the-valley, rose
Base: Labdanum, tolu balsam, sandalwood, amber, opoponax, musk, coconut, vanilla, benzoin, vetiver, incense, cedar, myrrh
The Parfum opens sweeter than I remember, very fruity, nearly over ripe fruit fermenting on a hot humid day, and then the bay and spices wander in, its big but restrained and the skank is hidden beneath layers. The EdT is similar but much more feral, fecal, bed headish with a skanky jasmine lurking around the edges, there is hardly any citrus at all. The EdT is everything I remember of hugging my mates Mums. This is what they smelled like! Fully fragrant, sensual, wealthy Mums that quite often ran their own businesses, ferried kids, looked a million dollars and made sure all the housework was done. How did they do it? Gods know?! We’d jump in the back of their gleaming cars and this is what we’d smell. 30 minutes in and the EdT is starting to warm into itself and become that lovely buttered sandalwood and spicy, floral bouquet; the Parfum hasn’t really moved much but I am getting the beginnings of the skank attack that I knew was coming. The Parfum is definitely taking its time to show all the loveliness that it has to offer.
When I put my nose up to them they are far more similar that if I get a surprise whiff as a hand goes by my face, the EdT is memories, the Parfum not so much and I get a minty/carnation and cool orris during the heart that I had never noticed before. Maybe they are from different eras and they have tweaked the Parfum a little, or maybe some of the notes have become heat damaged or oxidised. It’s Opium but slightly different, the colour, packaging etc all point to it being the real deal though. Ha Ha Ha!! OK Here it is. Parfum has hit skanky town at just over the 1 hour mark there is a very dirty bitch growl coming from my left hand that matches the EdT’s slightly lived in opening but not so outrageous.
I wonder if there is a major difference between the amount of fragrance you put on in a spritz and a dab? The EdT is bigger and more voluptuous all the way through its 5-6 hour span but the Parfum, while remaining softer all along, is more nuanced, sweeter and less animalic throughout and I can smell a coconut twang towards the 6 hour mark that never occurred in the EdT and I can still smell some sweet woods next morning, just barely.
Guo Pei, The Queen of China”s Haute Couture
I stole these lavish pictures and the video from Fashion&StyleGuru, the most fashion forward blog I’ve found so far. Never in my years in the fashion industry, the theatre or drag have I seen such work. FLAWLESS!
I hope you enjoy a new to me beyond incredible Haute Couture designer from China. Guo Pei is a name that you will be hearing a lot of.
Whatever you do today, give it your best shot. Sloppy work is habit forming, and being less than your best is a quick way to the guilt spiral that heralds depression. The difference between a mediocre job and a brilliant one can be as little as 5% extra effort. It’s worth it for your own peace of mind.
Till tomorrow ,