When I first encountered Frida Kahlo’s paintings I must have been in my early teens. The intention of showing her own carnal suffering as if through a magnifying glass combined with Mexican symbolism, I could admire her for, but only at a distance, to me it was, and to a great extent still is, just too much. Something about those surrealistic folklore self portraits which seemed to want to eat you alive repulsed me, which I am sure, was at least partly intentional and very effective for my part.
All the more reason for me to actually admire people who are able to embrace all that is Frida Kahlo, and even more so, actually pay tribute to her through their own work.
Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes has done just that. With Frida Kahlo as her muse and inspiration, she has created a perfume which does that amazing thing of paying tribute to ALL things Frida, not sugar-coating her into a Mexican souvenir. As with Frida’s paintings, let’s say, I wasn’t quite prepared…
For the most, whenever perfumers name their perfumes for famous people or fictional characters, it becomes a bit glossed over take Misia (and Kafkaesque view on that) or my own issue with Carmen, I’m quite sure there are many more to name and shame. But not ‘Frida’ the perfume.
My first impression of the perfume was to flinch exactly as I would have done with a Frida Kahlo painting; too much info in a slightly obscene way. But please don’t let that deter you because this perfume is a true tribute and absolutely worth the full exploration.
Something has a weird smell like decaying fruits and flowers, sweet and sour a bit camphor like. It’s such a powerful image which I have rarely sniffed before, extremely vivid and massively brave in a perfume world trying to sell everything through pleasant unobtrusive top notes. To me it is jaw-dropping how exact the opening of ‘Frida’ mimics my feelings for her work, and I’m pretty sure whether you love or dislike Frida Kahlo’s work, you’ll feel that way too.
The top notes relax after a short while and a fruity-hibiscus blend paves the way for a rather gorgeous non-rubbery tuberose. From this stage on the perfume becomes much softer in projection and even tuberoseophobes need not worry, as this is a creamy and sensual tuberose, which warms and blooms on the skin and makes me think of tropical holidays.
The dry down stays even closer to the skin and feels incredibly intimate, musks, tobacco and amber notes blend to a feel of warm bodies and hair, animalic cosy without being dirty.
All in all, I can see how this sounds; decaying fruit, tuberose and animalic, but truly that is only a ‘word’ problem. Frida the perfume is masterfully made; it’s strong-willed and fiery and after the first blast, a gorgeous soft tuberose centered perfume. The overall feel is that of a fruity, creamy tuberose with a warm skin dry down, and yes with a start that makes you sit up and take notice, but with a muse like that I wouldn’t want it any different.
Sample was send to me from En Voyage, feat pic is mine.