Anne Klein Parfum (Anne Klein)

I came across it in one of the many locked vitrines at the Grist Mill. Shaped like a flat oval and surmounted by a T-shaped plastic stopper, this tiny glass bottle looked timeless; it might have been produced forty years ago-- or yesterday. Delicate black print declared its name-- a name which instantly filled me with reassurance. "I'll take it," I said.

Hesitation is for runners-up... and that day, I felt like a winner. But I might not have been so confident if I'd seen this 1984 advertisement for Anne Klein Perfume. Good lord! It resembles nothing other than Part Deux of this 1979 Aviance ad-- only Ms. Business has added a Stock Jockey paramour to her portfolio!

Set the scene: a night ripe for upwardly mobile romance. There's a chrome-framed limited-edition Nagel on the wall... catalogs (Hammacher Schlemmer, The Sharper Image, J. Crew, Pottery Barn) strewn over a plate-glass coffee table... the glossy sound of synth-pop piped through huge, high-end stereo speakers. As our couple makes love via a sequence of highly photogenic poses, extra-strength salon-grade mousse keeps their hair cemented in place. Everything -- the mood, the scene, the people, the shoulder pads, the sex -- is Perfect.

Gag me with a spoon.

Anne Klein Parfum (AKA "Anne Klein I") is not, thank god, as spiritless and two-dimensional as the decade that spawned it. Nor is it as overbearing and strident as the big Eighties fragrances that surrounded it. I like it as I like few other 'fumes of its vintage-- largely because it owes a great deal of its charm to the dry, sophisticated perfumes of the previous decade. In its galbanum and gardenia, it's possible to divine the twin influences of Estee Lauder Private Collection and Halston by Halston... and there are definite hints of both Calandre and Raffinée in that wonderful, skin-musk-and-sandalwood base.

Yes, Anne Klein Parfum is Eighties-era Seventies nostalgia. I for one don't blame it for gazing backward to the past...seeing as how its present was nothing much to cherish.

Scent Elements: Aldehydes, galbanum, bergamot, hyacinth, neroli, cassis, jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, lily-of-the-valley, ylang-ylang, orchid, sandalwood, vetiver, musk, civet, benzoin, amber, vanilla