Vraie Blonde (État Libre d'Orange)

As most mothers worth their salt know, the best way to rein in a misbehaving attention-seeker is to yawn and say, "That's nice, dear..." Outrageous behavior (which so desperately craves acknowledgment) cannot cope with an answering attitude of mild, unsurprised boredom.

This leads me to wonder about État Libre d'Orange. Some of their releases, from the packaging straight through to the scent, are a blatant effort to flummox us. (Sécrétions Magnifiques, what-what?) Others seem incredibly quiet by contrast, as if yesterday's tantrum has knocked all the fight out of them. (Josephine Baker! How this icon -- the very embodiment of SNAP! -- could have inspired so humdrum a fragrance quite frankly beats me.) Sometimes these two mindsets -- the subdued and the bold-as-hell -- are even found mixed together in the same bottle (Like This, Tom of Finland).  

What's the matter, kiddo? it makes you want to ask. Shout or sulk in the corner-- which is it going to be?

Juvenile deliquency aside, Team État is at heart a lovable bunch. Regardless of how they might howl and kick their heels from time to time, they always manage to perk up, stop sniffling... and start planning their next act of mischief.

État Libre d'Orange, in other words, is the Clifford of fragrance.

As far as naughtiness goes, 2006's Vraie Blonde is worthy of at least a demerit or two. The product artwork provides ample warning: this is definitely one of ELdO's "bad kids", the type you ought to keep an eye on at all times. It switches from almond milk to Bellini cocktail to pepper grinder in the space of minutes, forcing you to put your hands on your hips and say, "Don't MAKE me come over there..." You can try Mother's method of ignoring it until it settles down, but this is difficult to do. Presently it turns sweet, appealing, and tractable, looking up at you doe-eyed through a fringe of baby eyelashes, and you feel your heart melt like a popsicle in August.

Oh, Vraie Blonde, you find yourself sighing. I can't stay mad at you.

Scent Elements: Aldehydes, champagne, peach, rose, white pepper, myrrh, patchouli