Tuesday 19 May 2015

The SPECTACULAR Joan Collins

With Dynasty about to finish its nine series reign over prime-time television, Joan Collins decided the time was right to launch her first fragrance. No stranger to perfume promotion, Joan had been the face of Revlon's Scoundrel from 1983-1986, but this time she was very firmly in charge. Under the name of "The Design House of Joan Collins", but actually produced by Parlux Fragrances Ltd, the first perfume in a planned line was Spectacular. At the time of the launch Joan was very open about the fact that she wanted an independent income and, alongside other "Design House" ventures, Spectacular came with very high expectations.

The glass bottle was designed to look like the clothed shoulders of her famous character Alexis and it was used for all three strengths, Parfum, Espirit de Parfum and Eau de Toilette. Unfortunately, whilst it dominated newspaper columns, Bloomingdales and subsequently Selfridges, it didn't give the financial return that everyone was expecting. Other items were released within the Spectacular range, but it proved to be the only perfume from "The Design House of Joan Collins", and it would be twenty-five years before she would release her second fragrance. One of the problems with reviewing vintage perfumes is finding the "published" notes. When it comes to Spectacular, Basenotes has a neat selection whilst Fragrantica appears to duplicate and also add to the list, with no reference as to what was officially released. So a word of warning, take vintage descriptions with a pinch of salt and let your nose guide you; one persons Chypre is another persons Oriental, as you will see.

The first impression of Spectacular is very bright and fresh with an obvious aldehyde providing a wonderful sparkle at the top. A smooth gardenia and a large dose of peach help to settle the brightness but straight away we know that we're heading towards a lush floral. Ylang ylang and jasmine are the next flowers to show themselves, but they are supported by a very juice-like orange blossom which attempts to calm these dominant scents. Interestingly Fragrantica mentions muguet as being present, but I think that the sharp floral accent in the blend is actually a spill from the aldehyde at the top.

The root of this fragrance is clearly a powdery amber accord, but it also has the addition of tuberose. I don't smell any of the animalic notes that have been listed in the past, but I do get a distant vetiver which gives a dryness to the scent. This could be why some reviewers classified it as a Chypre Floral, but for me it is screaming out Fruity Floral Oriental! The floral notes dominate throughout, in that very typical eighties style, with the vanillary base contrasting the opening freshness. Looking back on it from a distance of twenty five years it is still a powerful fragrance, and very similar to the current trend for summer orientals. Alexis Morell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan, that was her name by the time the series finished, never gave a damn what anyone thought of her, and wearing this fragrance today would definitely send out the same message ... "I'm wearing it for me, not for you".

Spectacular is now discontinued but is still available on American websites or eBay, and it's well worth trying.

No comments:

Post a Comment