Something so small and insignificant yet something that makes me feel like, well, me. When I read that Marilyn Monroe wore only Chanel Number 5 to bed I totally empathised; I never leave the house without a scent on. If I do, I run back and put some on.
Like a hat, perfume completes the identity.
For a long time I got stuck on Kingdom by Alexander McQueen, not because of the brand, but because of the strangely balanced animalistic mix of rose and sweaty cumin. Sugar and spice and all things confident. I went through bottle after bottle of it until one day, I received something else and gave it a little rest.
To be fair, it is a winter scent, better suited to thick cashmere shawls and cossetting rather than floaty chiffon and carefree days.
Realising my dwindling bottle of Miss Dior Cherie was entirely inappropriate for winter I went looking for another bottle of Kingdom to ask my husband for, for Christmas. Cue my shock and slightly sick feeling to learn that shortly before McQueen’s death both Kingdom and MyQueen had been discontinued.
My most hated word within the perfume world. Somehow I take it personally, like they discontinued a little part of me, and to be honest, they did. Perfume is the signature you leave behind, a trace memory of specific times and feelings. A friend of mine still goes weak at the knees when he smells a little waft of Coco Chanel. McQueen is my confidence, and arouses in me a belief that I can, well, do anything.
Damn and blast.
The coda to this story is that my dearest husband did find a bottle of MyQueen, not the same as Kingdom but a powerful burst of violets and ceder. I better buy a few more for storage. The saddest thing was I found a small vial of Kingdom in pure parfum form. It taunts me from my vanity case, a memory of things past.