Boomtown Boudoir

Dior Addict
January 21, 2008, 8:44 pm
Filed under: Drugs, Perfume | Tags: , , ,

The carpet undulated in little ripples of apricot and ivory. Andee and I were slave girls of the great pharaoh languidly reclining on the royal barge. The pharaoh was fondling James. (It was going to be a very tactile trip.)

We trailed our feet over the edge of the bed into the madder red ruby rosettes of the carpet. Indigo petals floated by like lily pads randomly bearing tiny detached heads of people I had known. I could now read our Persian-Kurdish rug in a way I had never been able to before. It was a mythological map of Samarkand with interlacing arabesques of mechanical peacocks, saffron pavilions, orchards and gardens and cypress trees.

We lived these lives a thousand years ago as courtesans, as opium-eaters at the court of the Kubla Khan. We had drunk of the milk of Paradise and its transforming liquidity made us all quite porous. There were no boundaries where Alph the sacred river ran. No genders, no time and space. We simply sparkled and vibrated. We were all pulsating little Bodhisattvas. I was in love with everybody. Actually, I was everybody.

–From “Faithfull: An Autobiography” by Marianne Faithfull with David Dalton

The thing I’ve always liked about drugs, hallucinogens in particular, is that you don’t actually have to be Marianne Faithfull to experience this sort of imaginative bliss when you take them. The fauxriental rug you got on sale at Marshall’s will work just as well as the real thing as far as undulation is concerned. Your friends will still feel like fellow slave girls and pharaohs regardless of the fact that they are not in or connected to any famous rock bands. The porous sensation resulting from a long draught of the milk of Paradise is the same whether you’re a college student or a sheik’s wayward nephew. Drugs are cheap, democratic, and work just as well on just about anyone who wishes to take them. Spending your whole life on them and having things turn out more or less okay is another story: that’s pretty much reserved for rock royalty only.

The same could be said about Christian Dior’s Addict, a narcotic potion available at almost any department store and priced at an equal-opportunity $42 for 20 ml. Addict sets the stage well for its particular amazing journey: it opens on a wonderfully weird green note that somehow carries all the mysterious dry tang of hash as well as the sensation of being in some dark primeval forest. This green note is not necessarily nice, in fact, on the wrong day it can be downright disturbing. It has elements of bitterness and dust that hold true throughout most of the perfume’s progression, never allowing the wearer to forget that what they are experiencing is not something everyone will want to experience. Then a deep, dark, syrupy vanilla thick enough to drown a woolly mammoth burbles up from the depths, enveloping the green notes and pulling them down into a deadly quicksand of amber and sandalwood. The effect is rich with all the acute fascination and heightened sensual impulses of an afternoon spent in front of an Oriental carpet with your mind blown and your body alternately strong and weak against its will.

It is difficult, when wearing Addict, not to be transported–I would like to meet the woman who wears this to work. It’s strength is such that even one spray leaves it clinging to a sweater until a visit to the local dry-cleaner is made, and its dense sillage makes it practically impossible to wear without drawing comments. Like drugs, once you get down with Addict, you have crossed definitively to the other side–the fun side, where all the bad kids hang out. The problem with this side is the chance that you could actually become an addict–a slave to your senses, existing only to experience an artificial thrill that has somehow become more important to you than actually living. Here’s the difference, though: this state is far more safely experienced with a perfume than an actual drug. I would venture that this something upon which Dior’s advertising executives, if not Marianne Faithfull, would probably agree.


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