Chanel Boy

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Gabrielle Chanel considered Arthur ‘Boy’ Capel as more than her soul mate; he was her double and her alter-ego. Inspired by their love, BOY CHANEL is a vibrant, perfectly balanced scent that challenges tradition and transcends gender.
chanel.com

Dear Parfums Chanel,

Hi guys! Me again!

Boy is very good. In general, Chanel fragrances are very good. I will continue to buy them, because that money goes right to the Wertheimer family. But I beg you to stop this romanticized, obsessive fetishization of your literal Nazi founder. Your continued insistence on waxing poetic about Gabrielle “Documented Nazi Spy” Chanel and the minutiae of her not-nearly-miserable-enough life makes me so, so twitchy.

Boy is the latest in a long line of fragrances paying swooning tribute to Chanel’s “soul mates”, her “confidantes”, her favorite color, even her goddamn home decor. THE WELL IS DRY, CHANEL. IT WASN’T EVEN A GOOD WELL TO BEGIN WITH. You cannot make me care about Coco, Chanel. You cannot make me care about her lacquered screens or her “soul mates” or her goddamn prom date. I promise that there is more exciting perfume name source material than the woman who reported directly to motherfucking Heinrich Himmler¹.

If you’re having trouble thinking of names that aren’t inspired by the petty, small woman who took advantage of Nazi laws forbidding Jewish ownership of property to petition for the seizure of Parfums Chanel from its legal Jewish owners², may I offer a suggestion? Your current head designer, Karl Lagerfeld, is the owner of the cutest cat in the world. Choupette Lagerfeld is a veritable fount of potential perfume names! How about Francoise or Marjorie, Choupette’s full-time maids? What about all of the models who’ve had photoshoots with Choupette? Gisele! Kendall! Laetitia! Linda! Name one after her favorite iPad app!

Choupette must love Pokemon Go so hard.
Choupette must love Pokemon Go so hard.

And then you put Choupette in the ads, okay? It’ll go more viral than Brad Pitt, promise.

Cats in perfume ads. Inevitable.
Cats in perfume ads. Inevitable.

Don’t worry about my consulting fee; not having to write one of these posts every time you release a fragrance dedicated to good old Gabby is payment enough.

I know it might feel a little silly at first to name your products after a cat, but I promise that it’s no sillier than naming them after the woman who paid for the medical, living, and funeral expenses of Walter Schellenberg, head of SS Foreign Intelligence, until his death in 1952³. (SEVEN YEARS AFTER WORLD WAR II, for all you “she did what she had to do to survive the war” apologist schmucks.)

Good talk, guys! Can’t wait for Eau de Choupette!

P.S. Boy is an intriguing, multifaceted lavender softened by heliotrope. It is both more interesting and less masculine than the “aromatic fougere” it is being advertised as. Nice job, Olivier Polge. (In all seriousness, Olivier, Eau de Choupette is one of my all-time best ideas. Get on this.)

¹ Vaughan, Hal. Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011: p. xix (Prologue).
² Mazzeo, Tilar J. The Secret of Chanel No. 5. HarperCollins, 2010: p. 150.
³ Vaughan, Hal. Sleeping With the Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. Alfred A. Knopf, 2011: p. 205-207.

Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored (could you tell?) and does not contain affiliate links. I sampled Boy at my local Chanel boutique. 

Chanel Beige

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Beige has an (undeserved, I maintain) reputation for being the weakest of the Chanel Les Exclusifs line. Luca Turin called it “a total screwup” and declared that “it smells like a dated, dismal average of Ma Griffe, L’Air du Tempts, and Climat.” (It smells like none of these things. Like, at all.) Beige is also often denigrated as shampoo-like, which, well, if your shampoo smells like this, I want the name. To me, Beige is a luscious tropical white floral, like a smoother version of my beloved Kai or a less aquatic take on the original Marc Jacobs perfume. Beige is probably the most accessible of the Les Exclusifs- no prickly aldehydes or austere iris, just creamy white petals. It is sweet and lovely and wholly unobjectionable. Beige may not be the most unique perfume on the block, but it smells great, and at the end of the day, isn’t that the point of perfume? (Now, would I pay Chanel prices for it? Not while Kai is only $48.)

Chanel Coco Noir

(Scene opens with three Chanel executives sitting around a conference table. Or maybe being all shadowy like the fashion coalition in Zoolander. I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on this part.)

Exec 1: As you both know, Chanel has asked us for a new flanker to Coco. They want a “luminous oriental”. It’s going to be called Coco Noir. They’re giving us this gorgeous black-and-gold bottle. We’ll have access to Chanel’s exclusive supply of Grasse jasmine and rose. We’ll also be working with Jacques Polge, the perfumer who created the original Coco. I think that we can really knock this one out of the park. What have you got for me?

Exec 2: Well, we already have an excellent oriental in our Les Exclusifs line, Coromandel. We could transfer it to the mainstream line. Even though it’s a niche perfume, it’s definitely not too weird or inaccessible for mainstream tastes.

Exec 3: Ooh, we could do one of those rose-oud perfumes. Those are really popular right now.

Exec 2: No, no, we need something innovative! Something original! Something even richer and more luxurious than the original Coco! We need something that will stand the test of time against all of the disposable perfumes on the market today. We need a true fragrance masterpiece!

(The executives stare intently at each other.)

Exec 1: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Execs 2 and 3: HAHAHAHAHAHAAHA

Exec 1: OH MAN YOU ALMOST HAD ME GOING THERE EXEC 2

Exec 3: I’M GONNA HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT JOKE FOR THE OFFICE PARTY BWAHAHAHAHAHA

(The executives slowly regain their composure.)

Exec 1: Eh, let’s just tell Polge to add some more patchouli to Coco Mademoiselle.

(End scene!)