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Friday, November 10, 2006

Coming to TV Screens Near You - Project Perfume

I love Project Runway. I miss Project Runway. And I wonder…if we are amused by designers sewing on TV and chefs cooking and models posing, wouldn’t we (and by “we” I probably mean mostly perfume nuts) be enthralled by a show, in which contestants are young-ish aspiring perfumers who in each episode have to live up to a new challenge? Just imagine…The permanent judges would include Laurice Rahme (because I just know that she’d be capable of delivering the kinds of snarky remarks that make great TV), Maurice Roucel (because he is one of the greatest noses of our time), and yours truly who would humbly volunteer to be the “Nina Garcia” of the group ("Whatever you do, don’t bore Colombina!"). Since Heidi Klum is otherwise engaged, we’d get Nadia Auermann who is even more gorgeous and has the same kind of cute accent. Now, the Tim-Gunnesque mentor position is harder to fill, what with the charisma, the vast experience and the “nurturing” side that this person would have to posses… I think that Sophia Grojsman would fit the bill perfectly.

The challenges would include:

Episode 1. Creating a perfume only from the ingredients found in the perfumers’ new NYC digs. The winner cleverly mixes cognac, cayenne pepper, sandalwood air freshener and a fellow contestant’s Kiehl’s Musk. Judges are optimistic and proclaim that the show is off to a great start.

Episode 2. Updating a perfume “icon”. The perfume of the winner smells like Diorissimo with a touch of Cacao, on a base of nail polish and tar. The loser takes a short cut by watering down Bandit and making it “sparkle” by adding grapefruit and pink pepper. Despite the protests of the guest judge, the President of Lanvin, the contestant is eliminated for boring judge Colombina to tears.

Episode 3. Coming up with a perfume wardrobe for a fellow contestant. Jo Malone guest-judges, talks about layering, understatement in perfumery and the difficulty of making scents last. The loser is eliminated, because even when worn all at the same time, his scents disappear within seconds. "Your perfumes make Pierre de Lune seem almost Loukhoumesque in comparison”, sneers judge Colombina.

Episode 4. Making an iris scent on a budget of $100 (Good luck, make it work!). Maurice Roucel scoffs at the insipid offerings. “Bah! You call that iris? There is more tuberose in Le Labo’s Tubereuse 40 than there is iris in your so-called iris perfume! Have you even sniffed Iris Silver Mist? Bah!”

Episode 5. Creating an anti-perfume. Guest judges, Christopher Brosius and Rei Kawakubo, help choosing the winning scent. It smells of nothing in particular with a vague hint of gasoline and baby heads.

Episode 6. Creating an “exotic” scent. The contestants are whisked to Morocco to meet Serge Lutens. The winner’s scent, a dark brew of leather, roses, honey, balsam and patchouli, joins Lutens’s export line for a period of one month. (Aedes and Barney's are immediately sold out; the price of decants on ebay goes through the roof; overnight, the scent becomes more cult than Matthew Williamson Incense). The loser is eliminated for overloading a perfectly nice blend of oakmoss, labdanum and immortelle with some strange caramelized nuts and licorice.

Episode 7. Making a supremely chic scent. The guest judge, Frederic Malle, teaches the contestants the basics of chic perfumery. “When creating a perfume, ask yourself, would my friends' maids wear this?”, advises Malle. “If yes, your perfume is not chic”. The loser, a slightly hippie girl from a farm in Ohio, struggles to grasp the concept of one’s friends having a maid and is eliminated for creating a perfume that is judged to be "too busy” and “cheap”. “It’s as if your perfume is full of…of…oh, I don’t know…fleurchons or something”, declares Malle. “C’est ne pas chic”. The winner’s blend, L’Eau de L’Eau, is praised by Malle for being sublimely subtle and joins his line of perfumes for a period of one month, amidst the protestations from judge Colombina, who thinks “it's too similar to that scentless scent by Ellena, only more aquatic”.

Episode 8. Learning about Inspiration from Laurice Rahme and creating a homage to one of the landmarks of New York. The loser is eliminated for making a scent inspired by The Statue of Liberty smell “too floral, too obviously feminine, too much like Fleurissimo”. Letting her Gallic temperament show, Laurice Rahme reproaches the contestant for not thinking outside the box and not having the X factor. “And besides, did you not know that the prize for this challenge is for a winning scent to join my fabulous collection of scents for a period of one month?! I cannot allow some Creed smellalike in my award-winning line! Tsk!” The winning contestant creates a tea-caviar-vodka-blinis blend inspired by the defunct Russian Tea Room. “It’s like she read my mind”, enthuses judge Colombina, shedding nostalgic tears.

Episode 9. Coming up with a modern scent for the House of Guerlain. The guest judge, the Guerlain CEO, explains to the remaining contestants that the house needs for a new scent to be young and edgy. “We want hip, we want cool, we want something that is not formidable”. The episode is full of drama. Judges Roucel and Colombina squabble about Insolence. Judge Colombina threatens to leave the show as the contestant whose scent she liked the most is eliminated for, in the words of Guerlain CEO, making his entry smell “too dark, too complex, too much like a Guerlain”. “We don’t want that kind of brooding, heavy, sensual base", tells the CEO to the poor contestant. “We want to attract young audience, not scare them off! Haven’t you read the marketing reports that clearly show that customers are incapable of appreciating fragrances that are not pink and fruity?!” The winning scent, with notes of peony, freesia, red currants, magnolia, white musk and vanilla, makes the CEO well up with tears of joy and optimism for the future of perfumery. The perfume joins the Guerlain line for a period of one month and is eventually made part of the permanent collection.

The Reunion Episode, apart from much spritzing, hugging, air-kissing and bickering, makes it known that the losing contestant from the Guerlain challenge has started his own perfume line. Perfume blogs and forums are raving about his scents and Barney’s is already out of stock on his collection. The losing contestant of the Update the Icon challenge is hired by Lanvin to work on the re-release of the legendary Scandal.

Episode 10, The Finale. For the final challenge, the two remaining contestants, the one with the pink Guerlain scent and the one with the exotic Lutenesque scent, must create 10 perfumes each. They are urged to think outside the box, to make their scents smell fierce, to show a different side of themselves and to generally make it work. After sniffing the 20 final entries, the judges deliberate. Well, actually they fight trying to choose between the Highly Marketable & Mainstream and the Obviously Niche & Kind of Weird. Judge Colombina loses temper and attacks the guest judge, the President of Lancôme. “You and your so-called Magie re-issue! [bleep] [bleep] Sikkim my [bleep]!” "Only you and your pretentious blogger friends who think that perfume is some kind of Art would want to buy this guy's stuff", lashes back the President. “It’s a catfight!”, excitedly observes Roucel as Laurice Rahme sardonically looks on. Finally the two contestants are called back. After a pause pregnant with tension, Nadia Auermann proclaims the Niche Weird Lutenesque guy America’s Next Top Perfumer. The winner gets $100000 to start his own line, an internship with Bond No 9, a red Ferrari and a spread in Perfumer & Flavorist magazine shot by the renowned fashion photographer Gilles Bensimon. (The loser is hired by Guerlain as an assistant in-house perfumer.)

The end.


Blogger tmp00 said...

Truly brilliant- as funny as something from Mr. Columbina. The only thing I could add is that the Ohio contestant should be voted off after a quick trip to Grasse, and not even allowed to hit the duty-free before going home.

12:42 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds like a great idea! But what about using that hot Russian model, Kristina Semenovskaya, who was once a face of Dior, including its perfume Dune?


1:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, really amusing and attention-grabbing, I was captured from the very start. And the battle between the good and the evil almost reached epic proportions of The Lord of the Rings...;-) I'm sure that kind of show would have been a great success :-)

4:21 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg - brilliant. you better patent this (or whatever one does with tv pitches) asap - or is that Aesop? So, what's the catch phrase, the Auf Wiedersehen? I'm sorry, you stink? You have no sillage? You've evaporated? You're a new Coty?

6:14 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you!...Poor Angela...I mean the contestant from Ohio :-)
And I hope Mr. C doesn't see your kind comment. It would be cruel to take from him the certainty that he is the funny one in the family :-D

7:18 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

She is gorgeous, and what a great idea! Why must we cope PR and have a German model? We'll have a Russian one. Nadia, you are fired. :-)

7:19 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would totally watch this! What a fun way to start my day and end my week! Thanks, Columbina! Have a great weekend!

7:20 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! Oh the battle...fighting with those CEOs, it's a hard job, I tell you...and they say the judges have it easy :-)

7:20 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anosymous,
Great question! I am thinking..."You are the weakest nose. Goodbuy!"

7:21 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Flor, thank you! I hope you have a great weekend!

7:21 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

Genius! I was completely caught up in the drama and find myself profoundly disappointed that that Lutens does *not* exist. :-( And still vaguely anxious about the loser of the Icon contest messing w/ my beloved Scandal. However, I was pleased to see that good triumphed in the end...well...sort of, since the runner up is going to Guerlain - clearly, I am having trouble separating fantasy from reality. But it's just that this truly is my ideal reality show. Sigh. You must shop this idea around, so that someone can pick it up.

8:33 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! :-)
You now, I live in fear that Lanvin will decide to re-release Scandal. I'd rather have it gone forever as it is now than to be heartbroken over a reissue that has nothing to do with the original. :-(

8:43 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

OMG!!! Wonderful! No question you and Mr. C. are meant for each other! Thank you both for the laughter--and for giving me a much needed Project R. fix! Like Elle, I got caught up in the reality of it all--I want all of the winner's (and the Guerlain loser's) scents! And I also want to make a guest appearance on the show (pleeeeease:)

9:06 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

But of course! In Season 2 we'll be asking the contestants to make a Perfect Leather scent. You of course will be a guest judge. They really will have to make it work this time :-)

9:10 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

absolutely brilliant. love this almost as much as I love watching PR.


10:07 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Sara! ;-)

10:09 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I would even get cable to watch this. This is the most entertaining post and a great way to poke a little fun at the battle between commercial vs interesting etc. So funny! I would love to see a guest judge like Celine Dion or Shania (or a Coty executive) get in a scrap with Columbina.

10:31 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Sariah!
I probably can take on Celine Dion, but Shania is one tough cookie :-D

10:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Sorry about that! I think it is most compatible with IE. Some Firefox users have no prpblems too, some do :-(

10:39 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is easy to see what attracted you two witty and imaginative people to one another. :)

Tons of fun on a dreary Friday morning! Thanks so much.

11:29 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much!

11:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, truly one of the most creative, funny and ROTFL blog entries, ever! Loved it, loved it, Loved it.

11:56 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! I am so glad you liked it :-)

11:58 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Never saw Project Runway, but I'll watch your version, LOL..

12:09 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, R! :-D

12:22 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Well ... I was too busy laughing to think about how sadly true much of this is.

2:33 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, of course it's tru. It's reality TV LOL

2:35 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've only seen a total of a few PR episodes but enough to get an idea. This is simply brilliant! I hereby nominate myself as a judge.

2:48 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

PP (Project Perfume) hereby accepts your candidature for Season 2. How about judging an episode about rose perfumes? :-)

2:51 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay!!!! I'd love to! ;D

3:18 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROTFL - fantastic! And I love the idea of Nadia Auermann - I always thought she was special, for a freak of nature.

Trying to visualize what a a perfume full of "fleurchons" would smell like - priceless!

1:45 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think Nadia is one of the if not The most gorgeous "supermodel" ever. We want only the ebst for our show, of course :-)

7:49 AM EST  
Blogger risa said...

absolutely priceless! it's brilliance! but... but.... you didn't know they re-opened the Russian Tea Room???

(and i just now noticed my word verification is ... aoudx. there's a message in there for me!!)

3:03 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

They have? Hurray! :-)

3:11 PM EST  
Blogger risa said...

they have indeed, and it's prettier than ever before. come visit!

3:16 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

ooh, I cannot wait!

3:18 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO...... sheer brilliance columbina! Like Robin, I have not watched PR but I would definitely watch this!

9:10 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

:-) Thank yous so much!

10:09 PM EST  
Blogger kuri* said...

That was brilliant! I was thinking you ought to have Luca Turin on to argue with all the judges :D

12:37 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh, that is a great idea. The man would be so great on TV! Next season! :-)

8:22 AM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

I have the feeling this could actually materialize. Do I overestimate your pull on the industry? Mais, non!

3:01 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I think you do, very kindly, overestimate it :-)

3:04 PM EST  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Apart from not knowing who any of the judges are - though I THINK I actually mentioned one of them in a guest post? You know - the one who sounds like a Canadian ice hockey player.

Well apart from that, I enjoyed this. Why not? It makes as much sense as any of the other tripe / filler in the "reality" realm of television.

As you know, I am far more the advocate of virtuous reality than 'virtual' reality.

In all seriousness though ...the post is extremely funny! I must be rubbing off on you!


10:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Mr. C,
Well, thank you. I guess. :-)
I love the new avatar picture- the one with big balls :-))))

11:06 AM EDT  

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