Stylist and Perfume

I was mocked by some of my colleagues today (not in itself an unusual occurrence) for something I had written on my blog. It was about the time I drunkenly read magazines on the train and decided to act as if you were sat next to me and I could point at stuff. No. I’m not linking it. If you want it you can go through my archives.

I’ve been reading a lot of glosswatch recently, which was apparently originally intended to be rants about glossy magazines, so I thought I might revisit the genre. The woman next to me on this train appears to have a copy of Heat. I’m sure she would lend it to me if I explained why I needed it, but I think it might make me angry, so I’m going to stick with my copy of Stylist.

Stylist is a free magazine that they give you at tube stations. I approve of it because it does not accept advertising from plastic surgery places, and does not feature diets. They are, however, happy to put articles about “why are we (women) scared of ageing?” very close to adverts for anti-ageing skin cream. But nobody’s perfect.

Given the mockery I’ve received for going through a whole magazine I will try to find one thing to be ranty about. Back shortly.
An easy one is perfume advertising. I can understand how it must be hard to advertise perfume, when all we really want to know is “what does it smell like?”, but perfume adverts are ridiculous. Aren’t they?

Miss Dior smells like naked Keira Knightley holding roses and looking mildly dismayed with her mouth open.


FloraBotanica has a name that means flowers and plants and stuff and is worn by Kristen Stewart while she is attacked by some Monty Python graffiti. She has been turned into a zombie so she doesn’t notice.


Not an advert but a personal recommendation, La vie est belle by Lancome is actually described. “Sweet fruity scent with iris and orange blossom”  – not really my thing but at least I have an idea what it smells like. Better than irritated Keira and zombie Kristen (yes I know she’s a vampire in a film but the vacant expression looks more zombie like to me).


Why do women in perfume adverts have to have such strange expressions? Neither looks like they are having fun. I don’t aspire to have that expression. It doesn’t make me think “I want to be like them, and on the very slim chance that being like them can be achieved by buying the right perfume I will go out and buy that perfume right now”.

I’d like a description of the smell. You know, that major feature of perfume. The smell? The thing that comes out of the bottle and rests on your skin? Is it sharp or spicy or citurusy or floral (and if so what kind of floral) or musky or vanilla or what? Steal some of the metaphors from the wine writers if you like, they have plenty. But don’t try to sell me something without giving me any information about its essential essence.

Essential essence was a stupid phrase, sorry.

And Stylist is technically not a glossy because it’s printed on matt paper.

UPDATE: Apparently, according to someone who knows more about this kind of thing that I do, that’s not Keria Knightley, it’s Natalie Portman. While I can kind of understand the concept of “this perfume makes you more like Natalie Portman” (you won’t catch me with that one – she was Natalie Portman already!) I really cannot understand a perfume that would take Natalie and have her pose like Keira. It is a very Keria-ish pose. “This perfume will make you less like Natalie Portman and more like Keria Knightley”. No thanks.

(I have nothing against Keria, but I’d rather the magical perfume made me more like Natalie if that’s OK. She went to Harvard.)

(For anyone telling me off for confusing them, bear in mind that the one time they’ve been in a film together, one was acting as a body-double for the other)


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