Let's Talk About Perfume

Below is an English translation of the first of 31 essays/short articles in Takemoto Novala's recently published 乙女のトリビア, or Trivia for Maidens, originally published in Zipper magazine.

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Let’s talk about Perfume.
That perfume that suits your style.

Even though I never wear anything but Dior Fahrenheit, I own a lot of perfumes. After all, it’s not just the scent itself that is appealing. If the name is wonderful or the bottle is cute, I find myself wanting to buy it.

Of course I own all the famous ones, like Poizon, Chanel No 5, Shalimar, Les Belles de Ricci, and Babydoll. In Novala Castle, you can find not only Guerlain’s Mitsouko, which nowadays is only worn by stylish older women, but also più cologne, which was once the must-have item for elementary and high school girls.

As an author, someone who writes novels, when I’m creating my characters, not only do I decide what shop they buy their clothing from, but also, I choose a perfume for them to wear. For example, Mishin, the punk rocker in Mishin 2/Casako, wears Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir. After all, it has a saccharine but rocking scent. The aesthetically inclined Aunt Reiko from the horror novel Scale Princess wears Christian Dior’s Poizon. This scent could only suit a woman who chooses an elegant lifestyle of mysticism.

While the note of a perfume (the scent of a perfume is called the “note”) changes slightly from person to person when worn, much like clothing, we don’t want to wear the same thing as everyone else. Because of this, whenever I’m asked to recommend a perfume, I always hesitate. I can only give advice to choose it yourself.

To split perfumes into a few main types, there are refreshing and casual scents, like Gransenbon, and trendy cool scents, such as Dolce & Gabbana. There are elegant perfumes that proclaim that the wearer is quite the lady, like Bulgari Pour Femme, and sexy mysterious types that are noticeable as perfumes such as Poizon and Jean-Paul Gaultier. These are the four main types. By understanding these, you should be able to choose a scent that suits your own personality from the mountain of possibilities.

Even after all this, if I am asked, “Still, tell me one that’s cool right now that you like, even if it’s biased and your own opinion!” well, hmm…I guess in that case, Dior’s Forever and ever. The simple pink bottle is adorable, and it has a rose-based sweetness that is not too heavy, so it can be used for both casual wear and when dressed up. Also, it hasn’t really become exceedingly popular yet, so you won’t overlap with too many other people.

I have worn my own beloved Fahrenheit for many years now, but there are very few men who wear it. However, during the height of the Fuyu no Sonata television drama’s popularity, it became known that Bae Yong Jun liked this scent, and for a while it became very popular with women. It was so troublesome! Bae Yong, how dare you wear the same perfume as Novala!

Anyway, we’ve been talking about perfume, but did you know that there are four ranks for perfume based on concentration of the perfume’s essential oils?

Strictly speaking, “perfume” refers to the highest rank perfume, perfume extract, with which if you apply more than a drop, it will be so strong as to surpass smelling good and be too much. Scents made as perfumes are also very expensive. The next rank is parfum. Most spray perfumes that are commonly used are actually the 3rd rank, eau de toilette. And the last level, with the least scent, is eau de cologne.

Personally, I believe that using perfumes and eau de parfums can wait until adulthood, and yet eau de colognes seem childish, so for teenagers and young women, I recommend eau de toilettes, which are also affordable. However, I’d like you to remember the four ranks of perfumes, perfume extract, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne, as knowledge that every proper maiden should have.

Toilettes will lose their scent after about four hours, so if you put it on in the morning and go to school, but then have a date with your boyfriend in the evening, you should put it on again. There are many different bottle sizes for toilettes, so why not carry a small bottle in your bag? Should you do this, you will be the master of toilette.

A beloved perfume can life your spirits when worn, even if you aren’t going to meet anyone that day. I like to spray my bed’s pillowcase and comforter with my favorite scent to be wrapped in a content feeling as I drift off to sleep. It feels decadent and luxurious. Please try it~!

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This essay by our beloved Takemoto Novala was originally published in Zipper magazine, and was recently included in an essay collection entitled Trivia for Maidens, from which I hope to bring you several essays in the future. They tend to be light-hearted practical essays, as evidenced by the above, and can make for fun light reading. You may even gain some new knowledge! (And we all want that important knowledge that all maidens should have, don’t we?) I personally am somewhat embarrassed to admit that while I was vaguely aware that there are different concentrations of perfumes that determine the name, I could not have named them in the correct order. (And judging by the number of girls who get a giggle out of the name of Angelic Pretty’s Rose Toilette print, I’m guessing I’m not the only one!)

On a personal note, for me, my favorite scent is Vivienne Westwood’s Boudoir. I was probably at least partially influenced by the above-mentioned Mishin when I first read Novala’s first novel, Mishin, which came out exactly 10 years ago (Happy Anniversary Novala!). I was so taken with that novel in general, and fell in love with the character. But how could anyone not love Boudoir?

I only own three perfumes…excuse me, two eau de parfums and one eau de toilette. I wear Boudoir when I am going out or when I just want a pick-me-up. To me, it has a very sexy romantic feel, so I definitely love wearing it. Vivienne Westwood’s Let it Rock is a very strong fun scent for daytime or if I’m feeling a bit punky. It’s very bold and I don’t feel that it fits me personally as well as Boudoir, but it is very fun and puts me in a daring mood! The third scent I wear sometimes is Anna Sui’s self-named Anna Sui. I like this scent, but not nearly as much as the other two. It’s sweet but with a very vintage feel to me. I like to give myself a light spray with this one on for work – it’s fun and keeps my spirits up through the morning, but is not overpowering, and I feel somehow that it is very appropriate for an office setting.

How about you? What perfume is your favorite? Do you think it fits your personality? What led you to choose it?


Caro-chan said...
February 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Great translation! I am always interested in these very lifestyly ramblings of famous Japanese Lolitas, it's nice to see someone translating. I am just very curious what they have to say!

My most worn perfume is a Paris Hilton's Can Can. I came across it by accident. I was at a perfume store and I sprayed it because I thought "Ew, what does Paris Hilton smell like?" And apparently the answer is delicious, delicious candy. I have a lot of perfumes and I try to switch them around a lot, but that's the one I take with me if I'm going away for the weekend.

The Osaka Koneko said...
March 2, 2010 at 11:34 AM

I think I may have to smell that the next time I go to a department store. XD I don't know if I could buy it, but then again, I have more respect for her after Repo! XD

Novala is...an interesting interesting character. He definitely holds part of the key to my heart. ♥

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