By now, the Parisian niche perfume house founded by Etienne de Swardt, Etat Libre D'Orange, have become infamous for their love of dubious plays on words (very French!, the playful part, not the dubious part necessarily) and their carabin* type of humor. In fact, the most provocative aspect of all this enterprise does not lie in the unbridled, slightly feverish - in appearance at least - imagination displayed in the stories around the perfumes, but rather in the discrepancies (except for Sécrétions Magnifiques) between the story lines, the names, and the scents themselves. If the copy of Don't Get Me Wrong Baby, I Don't Swallow is a feat in Kitsch writing and assemblage of cheesy lines that is voluntarily cultivated, the fragrance itself is one of the loveliest muguet scents one could hope for in this "world of brutes" as we say jokingly in French to emphasize the welcome appeal of something soft and gentle.......
One can wonder whether Etat Libre D'Orange has invented a new way to maintain the relative prestige of selective perfumery by creating a barrier of representations both attention-catching and repellent. If you can step further into the concentric circles of hell that they have prepared for you, walk past a penis in erection that vaguely looks like a bald public fountain or a leaking fountain pen, a gallery of sexual organs (Vraie Blonde, Messe Rose, Entrecuisse), even the suggestion of a decomposing cadaver (Charogne), you will reach a place that is pretty, lovely, and even seems to whisper "politesse française oblige", not one word uttered louder than the others.
Etat Libre D'Orange likes to play with our expectations. They have inserted several insiders' jokes in the line, one of them being that, for example, Rien (Nothing) is the name given to the strongest-smelling perfume in their line or so it was in the beginnings of the house. Perfume historian Octavian Sever left a comment earlier today to say that Charogne (Carrion) is in fact one of their most delicious-smelling scents.
Don't Get Me Wrong etc.... takes on a new meaning as one finally sniffs the fragrance. Indeed, they literally said it, don't get her wrong. You thought she would be a bit osée, even vulgar perhaps, but she is nothing of the sort. She is as charming, feminine, and lovely as the muguet soliflore hidden underneath the description and the notes is.
The perfume for me evokes the luminous presence of Grace Kelly in the movie To Catch a Thief by Hitchcock often dubbed "Hitchcock Champagne" for its sparkling, light quality just like Don't Get Me Wrong. I especially think of the scene in which the heroine courts the international burglar played by Cary Grant and literally pulls him by his bow to kiss him in a hotel corridor (did this scene really take place or something close?). It is an innocent-looking, yet potentially smoldering dewy lily of the valley scent, as it oozes femininity, directly reminiscent of its great predecessor Diorissimo but with a younger feel. The aldehydes in the fragrance and the juicy jasminey nuances make it appear forever young and fresh over the course of its development. It does not become more animalic like Diorissimo. It does not play on the theme offered by Diorissimo and add different green grass nuances to it like in Del Rae Debut. Don't get Me Wrong is like a re-colorized still image of Grace Kelly's beautiful classic yet modern face in that hotel in Monaco. The discreet solar amberey accord further pulls us back in memory along the roads by the sea of the Mediterranean and reminds us of Grace Kelly's cabriolet and of her course in life arrested much later on in that same area while driving. Between these two moments, there is a little bit of muguet-scented eternity and just plain Kellyan loveliness.
The perfume was created by Antoine Maisondieu and has notes of jasmine, aldehydes, lily of the valley, orange blossom, solar amberey accord, patchouli, cacao, musk, and guimauve.
The scent is available at Barneys in the US.
*A "carabin" is a medical school student.
Images from Etat Libre D'Orange and answers.com