I am writing this post in the midst of my sixth day of an unfeasibly aggressive skin rash. This is odd as I’m not an allergic type, in fact I could probably shower in Swarfega and powder myself with Vim scourer without so much of a pimple arising. I can only assume that it’s viral. My chest and back have gained the prestigious status of ‘rash worthy of a photo on Google’. I won’t be posting one, but I’ve seen some corkers in the last few days that defy believability.
An outcome of the rash has been a self-imposed perfume ban. Although it’s been interesting, from the point of view that I didn’t miss it after the first few days (eh?), I found myself today craving something obscenely ‘perfumey’.
And so I reached for the floral Armageddon that is Byredo’s latest creation - Flowerhead.
Curiously, the only part of my body that isn’t peppered with scarlet anger is my left wrist. Perhaps it’s developed a feisty blockade against any form of soppy skin type behaviour from the many years of being soaked in aroma chemicals at least 3 times a day. I figured it could cope.
After the tender watercolour fragility of Byredo’s 2013 release – Inflorescence, this years floral – Flowerhead, is the absolute opposite. It’s an enormous tuberose and jasmine madam that makes Robert Piguet’s notorious Fracas seem like a wuss. Which is quite an achievement.
The words ‘tuberose and jasmine’ are rarely uttered on Odiferess. I dislike this pairing as much as I dislike smoked salmon. It’s possible that my hatred of the slippery fishy dreadfulness stems from my sisters wedding banquet, where as a child bridesmaid I ran to my mum in terror at the fact that the waiters appeared to be delivering plates of dead goldfish to our tables. It doesn’t smell very pleasant either, which is exactly how I feel about a gargantuan dose of tuberose and jasmine.
So why am I writing about it? Because I think it’s brilliant.
Byredo’s website describes it thus:
“IN THE TRADITIONAL INDIAN WEDDING FLOWER HEADS ARE STRUNG TOGETHER ON GIANT LEIS, INCLUDING JAIMALA GARLANDS WHICH ARE EXCHANGED BETWEEN BRIDE AND GROOM AS A TOKEN OF MUTUAL RESPECT. COUPLES ARE OFTEN SHOWERED WITH PETALS BY THE GROOM'S BROTHER FOR SPIRITUAL PROTECTION. FLOWERS ARE ABUNDANT; FROM THE MANDAP WEDDING CANOPY, WHICH IS ENTIRELY COVERED IN EXOTIC BLOOMS, TO THE SPIRITUAL POOJA ROOMS AND VERANDAHS, THE EXPLOSION OF COLOUR IS WILDLY CELEBRATORY AND THE SCENT IS OVERWHELMING.”
Overwhelming indeed. It echoes it’s name in it’s atmosphere. The suffix of ‘head’ emphasizes whatever it follows. E.g. in expletives, we refer to someone who is a complete shit as a ‘shithead’, someone who lives primarily for the pursuit of wealth is a ‘breadhead’. In ‘Flowerhead’ we find a sense of extremism, an excessive slap in the face of white floral hedonism. Flowerhead does not have a complex structure, it’s simply a whopping great unapologetic dose of tuberose, jasmine and spikey wood. I can’t describe it’s precise scent any further than that, it is what it is.
There’s been a trend in recent months for barely perceptible fragrances where subtlety is favoured over character. It’s affected both the niche and mainstream market and has resulted in many perfume lovers being dissatisfied with poor longevity and the fact that they actually have to put nose to wrist to smell their own perfume. As the main point of perfume is it’s ability to scent the air around us, this is a bit rubbish. Flowerhead is capable of bombasting all noses within a 10 foot radius, for that reason, it will be received with great pleasure by those bored of fragrant will-o'-the-wisps.
Beth Ditto - lead singer of The Gossip
Flowerhead will be greatly loved by those seeking a perfume that has the mettle and noisiness of a pre-reform Estee Lauder. In personality, it reminds me of the indie scene darling - Beth Ditto. She’s brash, strident, enormous and boisterous, loved and loathed in equal measures, and she’s in possession of an army of enchanted fans. I imagine that Flowerhead, alike Beth, will become a cult classic.
It was the ideal choice with which to break my fast, abstinence must be followed with excess.