Chanel Coco

“The Bombshell Manual of Style” describes Coco as “made for brunette bombshells with big personalities.” As an example of such a bombshell it gives Jane Russell, who is one-half of my second favorite movie of all time (the first being “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier”), “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” (The third is “Blazing Saddles,” which is a different post entirely.) Can we talk about how that movie is so interesting, because even though Jane Russell’s character tries to get with the entire Olympic relay team and generally behaves like a total Clara Bow (1920’s actress Clara Bow used to have orgies with the entire USC football team, which is really kind of impressive if you think about it), everyone acts like Marilyn Monroe’s character is a hussy and a half. Folks, blondism is an ugly, ugly thing.

Don’t be a Clara Bow, Jane Russell!

Their dynamic actually reminds me a lot of Gossip Girl’s Serena and Blair, if Blair would be more honest about who she really is and if Serena cared at all about money. It also brings to mind the relationship between Kirk and Spock in Star Trek V, which… okay, that part’s not true, but if it was, Kirk would definitely be Serena and Spock would be Blair. “To boldly go where no [wo]man has gone before” is 100% Serena; I just wish she’d stop boldly going in the direction of MARRIED PEOPLE. William Shatner (the actor who plays Kirk) directed Star Trek V and it’s incredible, Shatner hadn’t yet reached the level of tubbiness that makes his “Priceline Negotiator” ads so damn depressing for me to watch. I actually have a William Shatner CD, “Has Been,” where instead of singing he just talks his way through every song. It’s really, really weird, but extremely soothing to fall asleep to.

Why, Kirk?? Whyyyyyyy????

Anyway, the point is that as a blonde, I find the blondism in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes very hurtful, and I try to counter it whenever I can by telling as many brunette jokes as possible. For example, what do you call a brunette in a room full of blondes? Invisible! Now that I’ve alienated all of my (future) (hopefully) brunette readers (you know I love you!), let’s talk about Coco. The Bombshell Manual of Style was right, as it inevitably always is. Coco, created in 1984 by Jacques Polge, is definitely not for wallflowers.

My notes on Coco start with the words “Jasmine freakin’ city,” a note which is often the hallmark of big, bombshell-style fragrances. Coco is a very rich and very strong jasmine-rose concoction (the richness probably comes from the labdanum) which is highly enjoyable until the slightly unfortunate, overly sweet and syrupy drydown. Oh, and if you were wondering, there is absolutely no similarity to Coco Mademoiselle, which is supposed to be an interpretation of Coco for the younger crowd. Coco is known to be the signature scent of actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, and this is nothing short of a perfect match: with the possible exception of Penelope Cruz, no modern actress embodies the brunette bombshell role as well as Zeta-Jones.


To be honest, I was slightly terrified of Coco before this Chanel project (I had tried it twice before with very ugly results), but now I am quite fond of it. It’s perfect for the brunette who wouldn’t be invisible in a room full of blondes. By the way, what’s the difference between a brunette and the trash? At least the trash gets taken out once a week!

Disclaimer: I tried Coco at Bloomingdales. Also, I am a self-hating natural brunette.

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