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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Viva La Diva!

Ina of Aromascope came up with a very fun idea of compiling a list of Diva Scents (please check Aromascope for her choices). Diva is the term derived from the Latin word “divus”, “a divine one”, and in its original use described a woman of exceptional talent, more specifically a great female opera singer. Nowadays the term is applied to very popular non-operatic performers and is often used with a negative connotation, implying difficult character, arrogance, tendency to being very high-maintenance, demanding (tea stirred clockwise) and predisposition to tantrums (phones thrown at assistants). Divas are also said to be prone to stealing spotlight from others. All that applied to perfume means a scent that is heady, forceful, with a killer sillage. In short, a Big Scent. I must add that I like many Big Scents, just like I can’t help but like some real-life Divas. The moderate application is the key here. Over-spraying my beloved Fracas would give me as much of a headache as being stuck in a closed space for a day with, say, Barbra Streisand. Then again, over-applying a big floral scent (expect for Giorgio), will not be nearly as disastrous for me as putting on just a tiny drop of an oriental monster like Obsession or Opium. In the same way, I would be loath to spend any time at all in a close proximity to Mariah Carey or Naomi Campbell.

And now for the list. I give the top spots to the Diva Perfumes that I love, the Big Tuberoses (Is there another flower that is quite so naturally diva-like? I don’t think so!): Fracas, that mother of all big floral scents, the strange, kinky Diva Tubereuse Criminelle, and the lustrously beautiful Carnal Flower. The expansive and regal beauty of Patou’s Joy is certainly Diva-like, in the best possible way. So is the languid, creamy charm of DelRae’s bombshell, Amoureuse. As I said above, Giorgio, that Diva from the 1980s, is the one big floral scent that I cannot abide, but it is most certainly a Diva.

Speaking of the 1980s, I will be forever fond of that decade if only because of Poison, my first perfume love. Spicy, sweet, so very sensual, utterly breathtaking, unapologetically heady it is certainly a Diva. Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, which to me seems to be a little bit of a throwback to the 80s and done somewhat in spirit of Poison, is another Diva I adore. The scent for which I will forever hate the 80s is Obsession. The cloying, ambery leviathan is the Diva of which I am not fond, to put it mildly.

Chanel’s recent exclusive release, Coromandel, is the Diva about which I simply cannot make up my mind. On a good day it is exquisitely ornate, deep and gorgeous. On a bad day…it is a dead-ringer for Obsession. So capricious, a true Diva! Opium, the spicy, dark and very, very Big perfume-masterpiece, is a Diva too, and the one that I theoretically admire, but cannot bear, in the same way that I can appreciate the vocal range of Mariah but the sound of her voice tends to hurt my head. (By the way, Carey is said to be launching a perfume, let’s see if it will turn out to be a Diva.)

Which perfumes seem to be Divas to you? Please share!

Image sources,,,,,


Blogger Unknown said...

I think Carnal Flower is a tad too unisex to be a pure diva scent.

Any gal wearing Tabac Blond parfum would certainly steal the spotlight.

10:57 PM EDT  
Blogger benvenuta said...

I never thought about diva perfumes before. There is nothing diva on me (more like gray mouse). Yet, I do love some big regal scents - Joy, big white florals.
Some classic chypres have a very diva presence, too.
I`m trying to imagine what would Maria Callas wear.
My diva is mezzosopranist Magdalena Kozena - I would love to see her sing! But I don`t see that larger than life, unapproachable quality in her. She could pull of anything - all the big tuberoses, but I see her in A La Nuit.

BTW, I always love the banners of your joint projects with Ina - always a blonde and brunette, and so glamorous.

1:18 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My definition of a diva scent: "A strong fragrance that Maria B. would not wear." By this very reasonable definition, Fracas cannot be a diva scent. Neither can Carnal Flower nor Tabac Blond. Just run by me any candidate you might think of, and I'll be happy to tell you whether I would it or not. ;-) ;-)

1:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everything's fine - but, is Muriah Carey a diva ?

2:33 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike you, dear Colombina, I'm all for the big orientals. Dab me with Carnal Flower or any big floral and I feel as if Divine in her most obnoxious film persona were having a tantrum. AND were throwing telephones, frying pans, and ginormous bouquets.
My candidate for the title of Diva Perfume would be the much underestimated Tabu. And Habanita, Carmen if there ever was one. Fracas. Paco Rabanne's La Nuit. And these are just the first that come to mind!

3:32 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

These are such brilliant posts!
For someone who is extremely sillage phobic (on myself, not necessarily on others), I do adore my diva scents. However, I apply truly microscopic drops. I'd never even dream of spritzing one, no matter how lightly. Amoureuse is my current fave diva scent for summer. Mentioned NK, Micallef's Hiver, CB's CoL and Ungaro's Diva on Ina's blog, but I also think of SIP's Black Rosette as having serious diva attitude (dominatrix diva?). And MPG's Magnolia Pourpre is my idea of a Southern diva - the dominant debutante.

7:31 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, diva scents--what an interesting concept. I agree with your choices (and I love Opium :-)), except Fracas (the parfum) is not at all like a diva on me. I find it to be fairly soft-spoken.

BTW, I tested your beloved Black Orchid yesterday, and I couldn't understand all the animosity towards it. There was nothing rank about it. I didn't love it (it was too...fruity on me) but didn't hate it either.

7:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I would love to borrow your nose just for a second, to smell Carnal Flower the way you smell it :-) It is All Woman on me :-)

8:55 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Magdalena Kozena is sucha beauty! Definitely A La Nuti for her!

Thank you for your kind words about the banners. I love doing them :-) Ina a.k.a Jane Russell is the brunette one by the way :-)

8:57 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Would Maria B wear
Black Orchid,
Tubereuse Criminelle,

8:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Carey is SUCH a diva! :-)

8:59 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I love the image of you wearing Carnal Flower :-) It used to have the same effect on me by the way, now it is extremely wearable.
I completely agree about Habanita, Tabu and especially La Nuit! Divas, all of them.

9:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Many SIPs are Divas, right? Lady Day! (Or whatever it is called now, Untitled?) Heorine! The list goes on.
OMG, Micallef Hiver. Scary, scary stuff one me. One of the scariest. :-) Definitely a Diva.

9:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I don't understand the animosity towards my beloved Black Orchid either. I think the explanation is that it is so complex, so multi-faceted (no, I am not affiliated :-)) that every wearer gets a different facet. Yours is fruity, mine is earthy. Those who hate it get...I don't know...Ina, for example, got watery notes in it...It's one of those great love or hate scents :-)

9:06 AM EDT  
Blogger rosarita said...

I am thoroughly enjoying your post and Ina's. I wish that Fracas and Opium liked me, as I love each on others - ONOH, Obsession is a rediscovered favorite (in very small doses:) dinazad has mentioned some great ones here and on Aromascope, including Rumba, which to me is Carmen Miranda in perfume form. Only a true diva could pull off those fabulous fruity headpieces!

9:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you so much for reminding me about Rumba. Balenciaga scents in general are very Diva-like. Too Diva-like for me :-) The only one I can wear is prelude, the rest wear me :-)

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yes, I'm the Jane Russell one. ;D
Mariah Carey is indeed a diva! I used to adore her in my youth. Not any more!
Believe it or not, I've never smelled Giorgio. Will we find it in NY? ;D
Opium is a total diva, and I agree, most Balenciaga creations are very divaesque, esp. Rumba.
Last time I wore Coromandel, it seemed sort of weak, watered down. I do like it a lot but, like you, it acts weird on me.
Agree on Carnal Flower - it's heady and a bit rebellious but oh so elegant and poised.

9:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Jane, um, Ina,
I have a mini of Giorgio (don't ask!), you can smell it. In fact, you can have it. Please take it! :-)

9:56 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those 80s divas scare me a little... it's a decade I rarely want to relive.

I prefer a decadent diva to a shoulder padded one...

10:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Black Orchid is both- a decadent shoulder-padded Diva. How about that? :-)

10:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

marina, my nose easily picks out the superbly integrated eucalyptus and coconut in Carnal Flower - maybe thats why Carnal Flower is more like 'dressed up in drag' than a full blown 'diva' like Fracas to me :D

10:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can only imagine how wonderful it smells with notes being prominent! Maybe I should try spritzing the DH with it and see how it develops on his skin.

10:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Agree on Opium, that one always seems the quintessential Diva scent.

Now, I always think of Diorling as a Diva scent too, not because it's a big floral, but because it is like a diva, cranky, cantankerous, but so lovely once you smooth its ruffled feathers.

10:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I can see Diorama acting in a Diva manner sometimes, but Diorling is so exceptionally restrained, elegant, austere even on me. It would never allow itself to be a Diva. It has too much class for that :-))))
(OK, now Diorama will think that I think that she has no class. Have to go calm her down :-D)

10:49 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

When I think Diva fragrances I mostly think of fragrances applied way too heavily: a little Fracas is enchanting, a lot is like being smothered by tuberose.

Giorgio was one of the worst offenders- I am not sure that there was a way to apply it sparingly enough. Do you know I have absolutely no memory of what it smells like? I do remember when I was in Los Angeles for the first time when the Giorgio boutique was still open under Fred Hayman that the corner of Dayton and Rodeo pretty much reeked of it.

Having written that, Fred Hayman pretty much made Rodeo Drive what it is today

11:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Marina, please remind me to do that! I'm afraid it'll be easy to forget amongst all the fragrances awaiting us... diva or not. ;D

12:07 PM EDT  
Blogger IrisLA said...

My friend wears Opium, and she does indeed have a Large Personality. It suits her wonderfully.

I wear Tubereuse Criminelle for my own amusement. I hadn't considered it a diva scent. I am far from a "strange, kinky diva," but a girl can pretend!

12:11 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big girl (5'11" in stocking feet) and I LOVED the '80s. Big hair, big shoulder pads and high heels were perfect for me. I must have been a veritable dreadnought, striding down the city sidewalk on my way to work, leaving a trail of 'big' sillage with my Giorgio Red (original Giorgio's chypre cousin). The Amazon warrior women had nuttin' on me back then. lol

My mother was as much a sillage nut as I was ("Opium" for her), and I can still remember it being a bit uncomfortable riding in the car with her unless the top could be down (I had a 2-seater MGB), due to our dueling sillages.

Long live the diva perfumes. Sometimes you just want the whole world to know exactly how lovely you smell. :)

12:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

Ya know, I read this post last night and couldn't really think of anything you hadn't listed. Que-sais je? is tempermental, but not really Wagnerian enough. As you point out, you need something BIG. Amoureuse is an excellent, excellent call. Ina's Rumba, too. And D's La Nuit.

12:57 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree about application. There scents, however, which overwhelm me even in the minutest doses. Opium is one of them. Obsession is another one. Oh, Mecheri's Loukhoum is like that too. *shudders*

1:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

That's what I like to imagine I am like when I wear TC :-)

1:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You and your mother are tow glamazons! Bravo to you too! And I agree. Long live Diva scents. If every perfume out there will be a tasteful, understated little thing, the world will be a boring place.

1:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh! Que Sais-Je! I wish I remembered about it, because if something like Opium is a Diva, then QSJ is too. So is Chaldee.

1:16 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I have to write a list of what I intend to force you to smell. :-) I some real stinkers. I mean it in a literal sense. Indoline awaits you. :-)

1:19 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, no, no! Habanita, Diorling, and Que Sais-je are not diva scents! They're among my favorites. Please, do not make me come face to face with my very hidden diva. I am not a diva. I am not a diva. :-) :-) :-) I may need therapy after this.

2:23 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Great list of choices, although have to agree with Faizan on the Carnal Flower.

There are so few diva releases recently! Black Orchid, yes, but not many more in mainstream release that I can think of.

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, I don't see Diorling as a Diva, but the other two... Maria, I think you have to face the fact that you are in fact a Diva :-P

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

OK, I have to somehow smell CF the way you and F. smell it. Hmm. Hmm.
Trying to think of the Diva-ish new releases. Can't think of any except Bl.Or.

2:27 PM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Marina, I've been racking my brain trying to think up other divas, but they're pretty much covered by your thread and all the responses. The big white florals, definitely. Breathtakingly beautiful, but unbearably screechy and demanding if handled badly, or approached on the wrong day. The classics, Joy and Fracas, are particularly tricky for me: they have an old-fashioned type of breeding whose rules are almost lost, so it's easy to get them miffed.

2:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

"they have an old-fashioned type of breeding whose rules are almost lost, so it's easy to get them miffed.
" - love the way you put it!!

2:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Sabina said...

great post. I used to love those big Diva scents as well - Opium, Poison, and, might I add another one, Coco (the original).
And I know without a doubt that I have some diva in me, even though I'm not wearing those scents anymore.
As for Habanita, I love this scent, but it doesn't smell diva on me.
And Maria Carey - definitely Diva!

Btw - nice to know there's another Obsession hater out there - I used to think I'm the only one! (The fact that my ex husband used to wear this doesn't help either).

2:42 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Coco- oh great addition!!

2:55 PM EDT  
Blogger benvenuta said...

Marina, yes, she`s beautiful! And her voice is, well, divine!

I didn`t kow the name of the brunette actress, but I figured it`s Ina, as I know she`s brunette and you are blond.

4:58 PM EDT  
Blogger Sali said...

Every perfume I fall in love with is a Diva, so naturally, this is my favorite thread full of all the divas in blogosphere...Speaking of which, I rather like the parfum version of Obsession which I only have in miniature size but adore--it's quite the sumptuous little diva with an attitude. PS: I think Habanita is among the greatest divas of all time. To me, it has a Creole kinda vibe.

7:17 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I will have to find a CD!

8:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Habanita is totally a Diva. Oh yes! :-)

8:36 AM EDT  

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