Mount Rushmore in twill on a beach

– a review of Tiger Powers’ ‘Starfucker’

Once upon a time, it took merit to become famous. To become famous, you needed either the merit of a happy genetic accident, the merit of talent and accomplishment, or else just the undeniable merits of a perfectly matched pair of 34DDs.

These days of course, it takes nothing at all. These days really is the infamous age Andy Warhol (pretty celebrity-obsessed himself) foretold, of fifteen famous minutes for everyone for absolutely nothing at all, although it usually helps to be good-looking, whether or not you’re able to back that up with some other…talent.

Don’t believe me? Two words: reality and TV. Feel free to insert your own horror stories here. I rest my case.

And yet. And then. And then again, there’s Tiger Powers, Hollywood fetish model, musician and face of Opus Oils, and who is one of only two exemplars of the masculine gender whose mere image is enough to completely distract me from whatever it is I happen to be doing at the time, despite being neither short, balding, over the hill or from New Jersey.

I first encountered the chameleon charms of Tiger during a fit of serious indigestion indecision of a kind unique to fumeheads and perfume bloggers – when I browsed Opus Oils’ website looking for samples to order. Mind you, this was well before I even sniffed Kedra Hart’s marvelous creations, and as if indigestion indecision weren’t enough, suddenly I had to open my windows, because either my geriatric PowerBook was overheating or I was.

Certainly I was by the time I reviewed ‘Dirty Sexy Wilde’ and as if the perfume weren’t quite indecent incandescent enough, Tiger channeling a devilishly delicious version of Oscar Wilde was no help. At all.

So I next really put my laptop in it when I concocted the idea of a perfume story for the lovelies known as ‘Les Bohemes’ and made Tiger the star attraction and instigator of a time-travelling night and Hollywood party to remember. In not one, but two installments!

Some time later, I received a garish envelope from Tiger containing his new, signature release…and lo and behold, it’s named…Starfucker. Not only does this new scent have about the coolest name ever (because I’m that kind of post-punk arrested development imp), it brings with it absolutely no associations of any kind of night that starts with free champagne, access with a VIP and a limo ride and ends with a brutal early morning reality check in the far reaches of condo hell in Marina Del Rey.

Tiger Powers, let’s not forget, is so much classier than that and would surely never do such a thing. Call me a dreamer, but I know I’m right!

This little sample vial is instead Essence de Tiger, down to and including – so the press release states – samples of Tiger’s DNA…blood, sweat and tears. Fancy that – a Tiger you can clone!

So how is it? Is it rock’n’roll and sin and perdition? Deviously devastating? Is it outrageously good-looking, packed with illegal quantities of feline charm and urban jungle camouflage stripes under the Klieg lights? A weapon of mass seduction?

The short version: no, yes, yes and absoeffinglutely! Arrange them as you please!

The long version is a long, drawn-out sigh of…oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! If you have fond memories of the former glories of such immortal classics as Dior’s Eau Sauvage, which was a summer staple for me (too) long ago, or Acqua di Parma, which my late beloved stepfather wore and I will forever associate with class, wit, and all arts manly, then Starfucker is so easy to love, it’s ridiculous, precisely for not being what you might expect from an icon like Tiger Powers.

Instead, it sashays out of the bottle on a California sunbeam of effervescent fragrant fireworks, the kind that smiles a mile wide and shines down upon you as you bask in that summery glow…well hello how are you, it seems to say, and suddenly, your heart skips a beat and you really, truly do believe – in spite of all your lifelong cynicism has taught you otherwise –that anything at all can happen, and whatever happens, it will always, but always be good, even if you have other ideas.

Should you have other ideas, they’re not too far behind, either, when that swellegant lavender, jasmine and sandalwood make their star appearance and turn in the spotlight, and by the time some long hours later when life’s a beach and that’s all you need, that’s precisely where you’ll be, dipping your toes in the sunset Pacific wrapped in the beachiest, sexiest kind of happy drydown. You, yes, you too can devastate the diehards and slay the unsuspecting with Starfucker and they’ll never have a chance to do anything at all but surrender to your charm.

C’mon Tiger, ‘fess up. You did that on purpose, right? 😉

Meanwhile, as I frantically reassemble my neurons into something resembling a brain and a readable review, I’m, well, sold. Sold on the idea of wearing this with a vengeance, like so many other of Kedra Hart’s fragrant fabulosities, sold on the teenaged thrill of telling people what I’m wearing since I haven’t evolved that much past the age of tongue-in-cheek, and utterly sold on the vicarious thrill – truth? Fiction? – of wearing someone else’s DNA…so long as it’s DNA worth wearing. I won’t do that for just any ol’ Joe Schmo…

So long as I try not to think of that PR photo that makes me think…

Mount Rushmore in twill on a California beach.

I can dream. Oh, can I…

Notes for ‘Starfucker’: Lime, green mandarin, lemon essence, Italian bergamot, orange flower water absolute, Seville lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, Iso-E Super, Amber, Vetiver, Black agarwood and oakmoss.

Tiger Powers’ ‘Starfucker’ is available as Eau de cologne, bath and body oil, body lotion, body butter and bath salts from the Tiger Powers website. At mind-blowing reasonable prices for something so good!

Image courtesy of Tiger Powers, used with permission.

A Swell Party

– Part One of a story of Opus Oils’ ‘Les Bohemes’, starring Tiger Powers and a certain bottle of champagne..

It was late at the Jitterbug Perfume Parlor on Hollywood Boulevard after yet another roaring launch, and the only ones left at this hour were Tiger Powers and yours truly, parked upon a chaise with our feet up on the table.

“We should do something,” said Tiger. “You’ll be going home soon, and we do want to make sure you don’t forget us in a hurry.”

“I could never do that,” I answered. “Haven’t had such a blast in years.” True story. Whatever occurred could never be too bad. I was in Hollywood. Where anything could happen and all too often did.

“Fun! How could I forget?” he exclaimed. “It so happens I have just the thing…” He walked off toward the back and returned a few minutes later brandishing a very distinctive champagne bottle by the neck as jauntily as any Stratocaster.

“Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque!” I was floored he remembered. “My favorite champagne! How sweet.”

“Not at all!” His grin was as wide as Sunset Boulevard. “This was sold to me by a gypsy on Sunset who claimed it was magic and should be saved for something really special. Or someone. You. Let’s open it, I say.”

“Such a flatterer you are,” I sighed happily. Did I tell you the man was devastating?

He was certainly devastating the foil on that champagne bottle. “Flattery gets you everywhere in this town, sweet!” The cork popped off with a small, expensive sigh. Out of nowhere, two champagne flutes materialized. He poured. “Now.” He pulled me to my feet and turned me around to face the mirror. I saw the Parlor with its velvet, fringe and flocked wallpaper, and right in front of me, the reflections of our Friday night Hollywood selves. “Before you drink, I want you to make a wish. Think of what you would like to happen – anything at all.”

“Should I click my heels together three times first?”

“Wrong movie, sweetheart. You’re not in Kansas any more.” He bent down and whispered in my ear. “Close your eyes. Make a wish.”

“Bottoms up?” I winked at his reflection in the mirror.

“Absoeffinglutely!” He laughed back at me.

I could think of a lot of things to wish for, but finally, I made a wish, drank down that glass of delicious bubbles and closed my eyes. When I opened them again, I was utterly amazed to see that Tiger was now wearing a tux, and I was wearing a 20s dress of rose devoré silk with a tulle neckline and sleeves, cut on the bias so I felt about eight inches taller and at least sixteen times more fabulous than before. My hair, usually loose over my shoulders, was now elegantly twisted into a marcelled, loose chignon accented with roses at the nape in the same sunrise shade as the dress. Even my makeup had that same 1920s look, with a shade of dark red lipstick I hadn’t worn since my Gothadelic glory days.

“Fess up, Tiger. What did you put in that champagne?” He winked at me in the mirror. That man could wear anything and make it his own.

“Bubbles, sweetheart! Nothing but bubbles and all my most dishonorable intentions!”

“My kind of guy!” I breathed into the mirror. A shimmer of light near the floor made me look down, and I saw the distinctive flash of sunrise pink Mary Janes and, ohmygawd, silk stockings! This could not be happening, but it was. Roll with it, I thought, just for one night. Roll with it!

Perfume! How could I forget! I had been wearing Absinthia all night. I reached for another spray with the words “Et in Absinthia ego.”

“Et in absentia ego,” he quipped back. “Come on, Cinderella. Your pumpkin awaits outside!” And he whirled me around and away, through the room and out the door.

On the street, nothing was the same. It wasn’t even night any longer, but a long, slow burn of a sunset over the Pacific in the distance. I saw orange groves towards Santa Monica, and I saw…a dark green Duesenberg parked right outside, a uniformed driver standing to attention by the back door. A Duesenberg. I turned to Tiger, but he was already whispering something in the driver’s ear.

“Whatever you do,” he murmured as I slid across a few acres of glove soft leather in the backseat, “just remember a few things. One, so long as there’s still champagne in this bottle, tonight will never end. Two…you’re not in Kansas any more.” He refilled my glass. “We’ve fallen down a rabbit hole! And three…” he lowered his voice and looked me right in the eyes as the Duesenberg slithered in all its awesome glory up Hollywood Boulevard toward the Hollywood Hills to the east, “whatever else you do, don’t call me dude! Got that?”

“And champagne, even!” I lifted my glass. “So where are we going?” So long as I had champagne, everything could happen. And perfume. Et in Absinthia ego. I drank those bubbles down.

“A party of course. Invitation only. You’ll see.” He winked again, and as I sat back and wondered. What kind of night would it be? What misadventures could happen? With Tiger, who the hell knew?

Twenty minutes later, the Duesenberg rolled though the gates of a long driveway on a steep, wooded street and finally came to a stop just as a valet jumped forward and opened the door. Tiger jumped out first, and took great care not a drop of champagne was spilt in his glass or his bottle, and I hastily grabbed a velvet wrap and beaded evening bag I found on the seat beside me. He kissed my hand and winked again as I got out. “Leave the introductions to me,” he whispered.

What had I got myself into? “Whyever not?” I took a deep, deep breath, a breath full of all my hopes and dreams and all the fun I had yet to have. Might as well start it here.

“Who may I announce has arrived?” asked a very grand, very chilly British butler at the top of the steps of an opulent Mediterranean-style house at least the size of my ambitions.

Tiger rose to his full and very imposing height and stated grandly, “Count Vlad Izmir and Countess Giulietta Moovonova.”

After two glasses of champagne and that build up, it was all I could do to keep a straight face. I glared at the butler. Haughtily, I could hope.

At that precise moment, a Packard convertible roadster came roaring up the graveled driveway and to a screeching halt a few inches behind our Duesenberg. Seven lovelies and two dashing youngbloods with slicked-back hair in white tie and tails poured out of the car like nine sparkling champagne bubbles.

“Darlings!” exclaimed a vivacious, saucy blonde all in white with an orange blossom corsage. “Have you missed us, since the last time?” She ran up the stairs as if she had done it a thousand times before. “Well, come on you slowpokes! The party won’t start without us!” She giggled, an infectious, musical laugh that made everyone laugh with her, even me.

In they went, these bright young things all in a laughing conga line, a dark, devastating beauty in a beaded violet dress, a sultry redhead in gold, another brunette all in white, an exotic beauty in purple velvet, a glorious girl all in green, a blonde in yellow who seemed to redefine the very word, and the two young men, one a prototype California blond who cleaned up very well, the other a dead ringer for Valentino, with those same smoldering eyes.

Inside was a grand, tiled foyer full of potted palms and party people in party clothes, draped over the stairs in conversations, milling in and out of the rooms opening off the foyer with glasses in their hands. There must have been quite a crowd at this party. Off on our left was a ballroom with a dance floor and a tango orchestra, up ahead was another room, and beyond, a glimpse of a garden with a boarded over area and yet another orchestra playing jazz tunes. Already, couples were jitterbugging in the twilight outside, glimpses of silk and satin flashing under the lights strung up in the trees around it. On my right was a library, where a roaring game of poker must have been in progress, because I heard a voice that could only come from Brooklyn exclaiming “Whaddaya mean, the pot has a limit of five hundred dollars? That’s pocket money where I come from!”

“So, mister,” Tiger turned around and saw the girl in green beside him, a breath of jasmine in her wake, “did you bring your big sister with you or what?”

“Certainly not!” I heard myself saying. “He’s with me to ensure I get into the maximum amount of trouble…”

“With the minimum amount of fuss…” Tiger continued. “So I heard you were a count…” She grabbed his arm and hauled him off in a cloud of heady tuberose toward the dance floor in the garden to show off his jitterbug skills. “So what are you counting?” They walked off and away.

“Where’s Flapper?” I heard a voice say behind me as the giggly blonde took her own glass of champagne from a passing waiter. She drank it down, reached for another, and gave a contagious giggle. “Can you believe it?” she exclaimed, “Flapper had a date tonight at the Roosevelt, some producer fella who said she should be in movies…Wonder if he’ll survive the night?”

The admiring throng that surrounded this orange blossom special roared their approval and carried her away.

I walked into the ballroom, where a whole florists’ bouquet of couples were tangoing across the tiles. The room was so large and so beautifully appointed, it had the feel of a movie set, with a crowd of dress extras showing off how well they could dance the night away to the latest Buenos Aires Pugliese tunes. There was that devastating girl in violet with a sultry swing in her hips as she followed a beau around the other dancers, I caught glimpses of the redhead and the California blond on the floor, and on my right the blonde in yellow chatted up an older man who seemed quite taken with her charms. Right when I was about to move through the crush to look for Tiger and that third glass of Belle Epoque that would really get me in trouble, I heard a voice behind me.

“Care to dance?” it said.

(To be continued…)

Image: We Know What You Did Last Night

With profound thanks to Kedra Hart and a certain Twitter conversation that planted the seed of this idea…

Fleur Fatale

– a review of Opus Oils’ ‘Flapper’

In a side street behind the Plaza and the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, New Mexico lies the location of one of my biggest fragrant epiphanies – the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Here, in a small courtyard beyond a gallery, something stopped me cold in an instant. It was a faint scent trail of something so haunting, so evocative, so unlike anything I had ever encountered before, all thoughts of art appreciation went right out of my head. I sniffed. It wasn’t the overall ambient scent of New Mexico, with its dusty heated smell of sagebrush and broom, ponderosa, mesquite and cottonwoods or roasting chiles.

I remember that I stood, held up my hand to stop a conversation and sniffed the air like a bloodhound on a scent. Which was when I found the source.

Off in the furthest corner was a small clump of otherwise unremarkable weeds to my untrained Northern European eye, unremarkable if not for rather showy, white, trumpet-shaped flowers I instantly recognized from so many paintings. It was such a galvanizing shock to my senses – that coming together of artistic vision I knew from so many favorite paintings and a living reality blooming unheeded in an adobe courtyard – with the unreal, ghostly perfume of the humble jimsonweed, datura stramonium, quite literally fragrant like nothing at all else on Earth.

For the rest of my years in New Mexico, I would follow that trail when I found it, as I so often did…in overgrown lots and empty arroyos, nestling in the sunlight in hidden canyons in the Jemez Mountains, and always in the twilight hours when it bloomed…that visceral olfactory punch of datura.

Every part of the datura plant is poisonous. Datura brings delirium and madness, bizarre behavior, amnesia and even death. Every year, livestock die and humans too from datura poisoning. Legend has it that breathing the very scent of it will bring visions, dreams, intoxication – and obsession. I’ve been obsessed with datura ever since that first encounter in a Santa Fe museum courtyard, I’ve even met a few perfumes that attempted to recreate that fragrant flowered swoon… and all of them disappointed. Beautiful, yes, complex and heady, yes, but a rendering of Georgia’s beloved jimsonweed? No. So it was…

Until I discovered Opus Oils, Kedra Hart, her soliflore ‘Les Bohemes’ collection…and her ode to datura…’Flapper’.

Flapper, as Kedra says, is the Belle of the Les Bohemes ball…and what a belle she is! Sweetly disturbing, a little fruity, a little wild, her initial innocent aura is dangerously deceiving. I inhale her luscious perfume, and think nothing more edifying than ‘heavenly’, but Flapper hasn’t finished singing just yet.

She Charlestons fully into the room in her flashing satin heels with her flirty dancing eyes, and right when you summon up the courage to look her beauty full in the face, right about when that datura really begins to bloom beneath the moonlight, that heady, seamless bouquet that all equals ‘datura’ winks…rustles those velvety ghostly petals and you are so entranced, so bewitched, it’s all you can do to simply breathe the visions in that follow.

You have now been spancelled, you are under her spell, and now, she will never, ever let you go, and you will never, ever want her to! As she blooms, as the night grows older and the moon ever bolder, as she opens that white, haunting trumpet wider, she grows cooler and lusher, fading to a satin soft whisper of tobacco and tonka bean, white musk and vanilla, as gossamer as the moonbeams that slowly fade away with the dawn, the cool of the air closing up her petals, keeping all her narcotic, alluring secrets until night descends again.

She is called Flapper, but I would give her another name that suits her equally well, a name that for me encapsulates all she is and all she does…

Fleur Fatale.

So fatale, she and I suit each other very, very well. You see, we have a history, she and I…from a Santa Fe courtyard and into a memory of carefree, of happy, of dancing though the moonbeams together to entrance and ensnare all who catch a haunting trail they will never forget!

Opus Oils ‘Flapper’ is in the ‘Les Bohemes’ collection, available as an alcohol-based perfume and as a perfume oil in a fractionated coconut oil base from the Opus Oils website.

Notes: Sweet lemon blossom, clementine, tangerine, pink peppercorn, perillla leaf, mango absolute, ginger lily, datura, gardenia, jasmine, vanilla, white musk, blond tobacco, tonka bean.