InekeFest, the rest: Gilded Lily.

In classic cinema, there are two types of blondes: the ice queens (Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak) and the sex goddesses (Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield). I doubt it's a coincidence that the latter are more suited to comedy. Comedic acting requires a willingness to let oneself go -- to be seen with one's pants down, so to speak -- without fear of appearing foolish. The ice queen holds herself aloof; the sex goddess lets it all hang out.

Arguably the greatest sex goddess of all time (mostly because she taught 'em all how it's done), Mae West turned the bawdy-broad-with-a-heart-of-gold into a cultural phenomenon. Whether named Diamond Lil, Lady Lou, the Frisco Doll, or Flower Belle Lee, her zaftig dames smoke, joke, drink, wink, and wisecrack their way across America, rolling their eyes at any uptight stick-in-the-mud out to spoil a gal's good time. In West's universe, a woman could be both 'easy' and easygoing without being a pushover. And with those hips, who could knock her down? Majestic, swaying, as fluid as a river but as immovable as a mountain, Mae West's impressive center of gravity inspired at least two perfume bottles (Schiaparelli Shocking; Rochas Femme) and schooled Marilyn Monroe in the art of the walking wiggle.

Hips and heart: what better description for Gilded Lily? The sensuality it broadcasts is unmistakable; one can't help but imagine it adorning the next heir to the sex-goddess throne. Yet there's such a lovely sense of yield to this perfume, a feeling of openness and generosity, that one feels welcomed into its arms. Its soft, embracing nature demonstrates that there's nothing to fear-- no shame or hangups here.

The first notes out of the sprayer are sweet with a decided touch of acid. Pineapple, grapefruit, and rhubarb all share a mouth-stinging tart quality, yet otherwise have distinct flavors which perfumer Ineke Rühland has balanced so precisely that none hijack the accord as a whole. She saves the spotlight for the goldband lily, a flower with which I admit I'm unfamiliar, but which -- if it's that shimmering-sparkling-honey-dusting-powder accord that I suspect it to be -- is my new best friend. With each spray, I felt a powerful urge to keep spraying, more and more and more, on body parts well outside my usual wrist-nape-throat perfume itinerary. Mae West once said, "Too much of a good thing is wonderful," and truer words were never spoken. (Also, are you sure there's no ambergris in here? Because Gilded Lily amplifies the smell of skin to something that demands to be unleashed on the nearest nude beach. Thank goodness I have some restraint... though, really, goodness has nothing to do with it.)

Wearing Gilded Lily, I am not so much aware of its separate scent elements as of the physical feeling it produces. It seems to hug my body tight like one of Mae West's figure-skimming costumes in She Done Him Wrong, all satin and sequins and beads. I'm convinced my figure becomes more of an hourglass while those sweet notes hold sway. Hips rounder, bosom fuller, movements slower and slinkier...

Some days, I may love another fragrance more than this one. There will be moments when Evening Edged in Gold captures the lion's share of my affection, simply because for that instant, I shall want my beauty backed up by silence rather than a jazz band going full tilt. But the clock will tick, and my mood will change, and I'll swing and sway again... and then, Gilded Lily will be the only girl for me.

Scent Elements: Pineapple, rhubarb, grapefruit, elemi, goldband lily, patchouli, oakmoss, labdanum