Ahhh, oh how I love a gorgeous green perfume. Not the traditionally “pretty” perfumes of today that might have a touch of leaves or grassy greenery. Not a gentle herbal cologne, either. I mean a mossy, rich Green Chypre. The kind of green that mixes the gorgeous elegant grown up lady perfumes of the late sixties and early seventies, and then tosses in something naughty, something that smells almost dirty. It’s funny – a couple weeks ago I was chatting with my daughter about my parents, and their awesome generation, and how they belonged to a social group that has been called the Bohemian Bourgeois. The caftans, the parties, the European cars, the holidays, and the luxury, but still somehow anti-establishment. I love it.
Right now, I’m getting my fix from Estée Lauder Private Collection – the original one released in 1973. I decided I had to have it after reading this awesome post on XOVAIN (did you know Private Collection was Tammy Wynette’s signature scent?). The best part of that post? Showing it to shocked sales associates at the Estée Lauder counter who were clearly surprised to see anyone under sixty five asking for Private Collection. No really, I said. It’s written up on a cool beauty blog – by a YOUNG PERSON. Some of them didn’t believe me until I pulled up the review on my phone. Their reactions were beautiful.
I get a similar vibe from my beloved Ivoire de Balmain (vintage, although I do want the current one too!), that sexy skin vibe that the perfumes of the seventies do so well. Maybe Estée Lauder Private Collection is closer to the original Vent Vert, but it is warmer and more casual than sharp edged VV. There is an effortless elegance to this kind of perfume. It’s the kind of perfume that takes you from dressed to dressed up without changing your clothes. Actually I’d say casually dressed is my favourite way to wear Private Collection, it needs very little embellishment and makes me feel calm, cool and collected…
Despite the WASPy leanings of the Estée Lauder line, and perhaps even Mme Lauder herself, this perfume is part of era that had the vibe of revolution. Women wearing men’s suits, modern design in fashion, homes and furniture, menthol cigarettes, European cars and Studio 54. I feel strong, feminine and sexy in this scent.
The origins of the perfume are kind of cool:
“Private Collection belongs in the private collection of every woman who believes she deserves the very best life has to offer.”—Estée Lauder, Founder
In her private office, Mrs. Lauder kept a collection of rare fragrance essences. She created a perfume from these precious ingredients that was deeply personal and for herself alone.
Women who admired this mysterious scent were told it was from her “private collection.” Not to be denied, they began calling department stores to request Estée Lauder’s “Private Collection.” In 1973, Mrs. Lauder bowed to popular demand and introduced her signature perfume to the world.
The notes in Private Collection, from the Estée Lauder website:
Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Citrus
Orange Flower, Ylang-Ylang, Coriander
What a lovely floral mix – soapy for sure, and elegant, elegant, elegant. But, what is that I see lurking in the base notes – patchouli! It’s subtle, don’t get me wrong. This is no hippy head shop patchouli. But, it adds an unexpected bit of modernity, and even a slightly masculine note.
It reminds me of Bianca Jagger in her white suit – gorgeous, sexy and feminine and wearing what she wants because she can. And Rihanna in that amazing suit at the Grammys. Gorgeous, sexy and feminine – and strong. Notwithstanding Rihanna’s drugstore sugar drenched perfume offerings, I like to think she actually wears something as womanly as Estée Lauder Private Collection. Because she would rock it.
Estee Lauder Private Collection is available online and at most Estée Lauder counters for $64 USD for a 50ml bottle. Smart money goes to Canada where, with today’s exchange, it costs the equivalent of around $52 USD. I have tried the vintage and the current, and I frankly love the current version just as much, if not more. I try to make it a point to not fall in love with impossible to find perfumes….I try….