To borrow from The Devil Wears Prada, “You’re a fragrance writer reviewing Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel? Groundbreaking.” Coco Mademoiselle is one of the most popular Chanel fragrances on the market, and honestly, there’s not a lot I can say about the fragrance in particular that hasn’t already been said.
I suppose I could go into the history of Chanel, but that’s been discussed in-depth as well, and really, it’s not why I’m writing this. Originally, I had planned to review The Tragedy of Lord George from Penhaligon’s on Friday. Then, one of my best friends died suddenly on Tuesday.
Coco Mademoiselle was her signature scent.
But before I do go into detail on why I’m writing this piece, let’s go ahead and get the technical aspects out of the way. Coco Mademoiselle was launched in 2001 and almost instantly became a hit with the demographic who felt Chanel No.5 was a little too “vintage” for their tastes. The nose behind it, Jacques Polge, is also responsible for many of their other popular fragrances including Bleu de Chanel, Allure, Antaeus, and Coromandel. Let’s take a look at the notes.
Coco Mademoiselle Notes
Top: Orange, Mandarin orange, bergamot, orange blossom
Heart: Turkish rose, jasmine, mimosa, ylang-ylang
Base: Patchouli, white musk, vanilla, vetiver, Tonka bean, opoponax
I freely admit I too own a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle. It’s not my utmost favorite out of my collection, but it’s a nice rose/citrus scent that can be worn for a variety of events if you live in an area that’s warm year round and it has good longevity.
But this was Mayra’s signature scent. On the table/shrine her family made to honor her, mixed in with the blown-up photos, the lit candles, and other items of hers is a big Chanel box. And it’s moments like that I can’t help but be reminded that perfumery is an art as much as it is a science or a hobby.
Sure I have my moments of saying “I don’t understand why some people are this devoted to smelly water”, but that’s not really all perfume is, is it? I’ve discussed on Sartorial Splendor, and it’s been proven, that our sense of smell is extremely enmeshed with our memory recall. In fact, just this year The Harvard Gazette published an article explaining this phenomenon.
Because of this, there are times when perfume becomes more than smelly water with an oft-times inflated price tag. Because of how we’re made, and how vividly memory is intertwined with smell, there are moments where fragrance moves beyond a product, beyond art, and becomes transcendent.
This is especially true for those who have lost a loved one. Whether it be family or friends who always wore specific scents that are now permanently etched into our memory banks. That even when other forms of recall have begun to fade, an olfactive blast causes the smell/memory to be summoned so realistically, that, for a few brief, glorious moments, our loved ones are with us again.
So yes, we can go on and on about thoughtful consumption and there will always be those who don’t understand our fascination with scents. And maybe we do spend a little too much on our hobby. But we can also recognize the art and timelessness of perfumery, and how through our own signature scents, even we can still live on once we’re gone. And in Mayra’s case, a part of her still remains, at least for me, in Coco Mademoiselle.
The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.
Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!