Perfume Review: Fifi Chachnil
Fifi Chachnil is the pseudonym of Delphine Véron, the designer of playful fifties-inspired lingerie and the owner of Parisian boutique Fifi Chachnil. Her first perfume, Fifi, was created by Jean Guichard of Givaudan (Director of the Perfumery School, Senior Perfumer, and the first-ever receipient of 2000 François Coty Award), the nose behind such classics as Deci Dela, Lou Lou and Obssession. Fifi is an oriental scent and has notes of coriander, mandarin, rose, lily of the valley, amber, and tobacco. On her site, Fifi Chachnil describes the main function of lingerie as the ability to put us in a good mood. She notes that it is linked to our imagination and “can be either excessive or sweet. It can express a natural frivolity that deals with insolence and lightness.” Mademoiselle Chachnil’s lingerie is sensual yet blithe and humorous, retro-chic that does not take itself seriously; the same philosophy is evident in Fifi the fragrance. Don’t expect the heavy seductiveness of Vivienne Westwood's Boudoir. Fifi is sexy and a little impudent in a lighthearted kind of way.
Don’t take me wrong, Fifi is all woman, feminine from her glossy head to her pedicured toes clad in high-heeled pink marabou slippers. But this is femininity with a twist, or what Fifi Chachnil calls “insolence”. That twist is coriander. Fifi starts with coriander’s astringent sweetness (or sweet astringency) and the note remains the most prominent on my skin throughout the scent’s development. Coriander adds am oomph, a certain agreeable sharpness (or that frivolity and lightness so dear to Fifi Chachnil’s heart) to what otherwise could have been an undoubtedly pretty and warm but not very remarkable composition. Coriander makes the rose note sparkle and tones down the resinous sweetness of amber. In the drydown, tobacco adds its husky voice to the blend bringing with it a certain “come hither” quality, but again the potentially heavyweight sensuality is kept in check by the dry and sparkling coriander note.
Fifi is a stunning fragrance, sexy and full of character, unconventional femininity done to perfection; it now tops the list of my favorite "pinup scents" (Lipstick Rose, Iris Poudre, and Teint de Neige). It is available at boutique-fifichachnil.com, €96.00 for 85ml.
*The painting is Diary by Gil Elvgren.