OK, Jimmy John’s bananas-nutzo “Free Smells” sign in the window always triggers a snarky guffaw from my heavily glossed kisser. Smells are always free, like it or not. Scent is up there with style and class and all the things that make us shake our shiny tail feathers in society to fit in, show off and be noticed. And sometimes it can backfire.
Think of a gorgeous, stylish young lad dressed in some of the raddest finery. Like, woah, did this dude just get off a plane from Copenhagen? I mean, he's all wicked super freshy-fresh with an outfit that makes my eyes get googly. You nudge your pal, and in hushed tones say, "See? Santa Fe has such eclectic boho peeps, even if they are just popping in as a tourist ... How fab are we to attract such incredible hella unique fashion folks?!" I mean how—wait. What? He saunters by you and you gag up a li'l mini puke cuz baby love, he smells. And I mean he really smells bad.
He is Mr. Stinky. It could be that he just didn't wash his glossy, pistachio flowing locks and has an overripe bouquet of rancid hippy hair. Or that he took a quickie dip in a fetid pool of icky yuck-yuck men's cologne. Or that he just plain STINKS. This, my friends, as you are well aware, is not uncommon. People can indeed reek; tacky perfume is like bad breath for the soul.
Better just to wash and go rather than grab that dime store slop and splash it on. You will ruin yourself. Your perfectly worked-out tush and your flouncy bouncy hair and your pedicure will go unnoticed if you smell like a magazine ad. My motto is: When in doubt, don't. And do not drunk-scent-shop.
A white sage mist from La Montañita Co-op (913 W Alameda St., 984-2582) and some smack-yo-face lemongrass oil will do quite well in the Fanta Se. Plus it repels nasty skeeters.
I met the most dreamily scented fellow on a hot Santa Fe night on the patio at Rio Chama (414 Old Santa Fe Trail, 955-0765). I was sipping in the sights and delighting to deep house when BOOM BING BAM, DJ Yon Hudson appeared. But I didn't see him, I smelled him. Immediately I grabbed my hubby and said, "Smell that dude!" He complied without batting an eye, and we both "oohed!" and "ahhed!"
Yon just smiled and said, "Yes. I have a thing for vintage men's cologne. This one is Pour Homme, Tom Ford's FIRST scent for Gucci circa 2003 mixed with Kilian's Smoke For The Soul."
Well, he had me with Kilian (lucky us, it's at the Cos Bar, 128 W Water St., 984-2676)! I adore Kilian and my scent is Sweet Redemption, aka The End. Try to find it, I dare you. Kilian is created by the heir to the Hennessy Cognac empire, and the cellars redolent of cedar and the ephemeral angels' share surely inspired him in his youth. I pressed Yon hard and got him to give me a tour of his glowing and temperature-controlled cabinet of magical aromatic elixirs. I mean, some of these are just impossible to find. He gave me 3 spritzes of the Pour Homme, and I don't think I will ever wash my shirt again. Think pencil shavings and Paris in the rain. It's woodsy-crisp and smells perfectly rich!
Mmhmm, I said it. Scent can make you seem insanely wealthy. It can trick people. Make 'em think you are and you become the fantasy. Just ask Ralph Lifshitz—oops, I mean Ralph Lauren.
In Santa Fe we have crackly electric monsoons with sweet piñon smoke swirling around, mixed with it the heady roasting of green chile and ancient sage. We are beyond blessed and, let's face it, we know as much. We revel in the sumptuous, unctuous overload of olfactory delights, well aware that these scents will always bring us back to that moment when we first breathed in Santa Fe.
Great java can delight and enchant us as well. Since June of 1992, Bill and Helen Deutsch of Holy Spirit Espresso (225 W San Francisco St., 920-3664) have served stunning espressos and the most delicious piñon sap cream. No, not for your joe, buddy, it's for your hands and tootsies. Bill rocks the style ticket with ever-changing double bandanas in a kaleidoscope of hues and Helen concocts the cream. She wild-forages the piñon sap pine and fir EO and mixes it with pure shea butter, olive oil and a whole lotta care. And baby, I am addicted. Order through e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org or just pop into their shop. It also comes in lavender and herby varieties, the latter of which features rosemary, tea tree, marjoram and bergamot.
For my style fiends this week we have a sweatshirt by up-and-coming, newly minted darling of the fashion world, Nicola Brognano! He just won the Who Is On Next 2016 fashion scouting project created by Altaroma in collaboration with Vogue Italia, and his collection is jaw-dropping genius. For PINKO Uniqueness, a huge European brand known for supporting young creative talent and re-infusing money and opportunity into the fashion scene, he created a whimsy-dipped sportswear collection emblazoned with slogans. Brognano took cues from Barbara Kruger with inspired sayings like "When I'm with u it's paradise." But what got my snout twitching was his hilarious take on the Paris luxe brand of scents and candles by Diptyque (whose fragrances range from Orange Tree to Old Montauk Highway, I kid you not). He replaced the classic Diptyque logo with "Love Me Tender" splashed out all over rad-as-heck sweatshirts (see drawing).
Brognano's genius is quite unique, and it sparks us with desire and humor and teases our nostrils as to know what tender love must smell like. I say pure musk and innocent Love's Baby Soft with a drop of Coppertone … I can dream.
So take that extra moment to put that aromatic cherry on top of your look. It's a big deal. It is. And when you give out your 15th hug of the day (you do know the happiness quota is 20 hugs a day!), you will get a huge "Ahhhhh" from your huggie. They'll gasp. "OMG! You smell sooooo good!" And you will nod knowingly and coo, "Thank you darling, thank you."