It is no longer a secret that nothing sells perfume better than a good scandal. Perfumers know it and would often employ it in their designs and marketing strategies. Let’s take a look at some of the most shocking and contemptuous of them.
Opium by Yves Saint Laurent (left), The launch of this highly controversial perfume in 1977 opened up to protests against drug use. The American Coalition Against Opium and Drug Abuse even demanded for YSL’s public apology. It was no less scandalous when it was relaunched in 2000, with Sophie Dahl contorting into ecstasy while donning just heels and jewellery. The advert gained a lot of flak for supposedly idealising “weak yielding women”. Every flak would soon be worth it as Opium is now so popular, holding on the Top 2 bestseller spot in the UK.
Shocking by Elsa Schiaparelli (right), True to its name, Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli created encapsulated sex in a bottle with Shocking in 1937. It capitalised on the image of prostitutes dabbing their… erm… personal oils on themselves like perfume. Shocking was presented in a Baccarat crystal shaped like a woman’s body.
Chypre by Francois Coty (left), This 1917 perfume shocked everyone when it was released during the war era when people were looking for some easy on the nose scents instead of heavy moss and musk. Marketed for women, Chypre shocked the public by veering away from the more feminine scents of floral. The world later forgave this daring issue as other perfumes followed.
Angel by Thierry Mugler (right), A love or hate perfume, Thierry Mugler’s Angel is considered the Marmite of Fragrances. A test in Barneys, New York has proven that 4 out of 5 sniffers hated it with every fibre of being while the remaining one loved it will all her heart. Talk about spectrum!
Poison by Christian Dior (left), This strong-smelling perfume caused a stir when American restaurants decided to declare war against it. A “No Poison Here” movement started as the scent was driving customers away. Needless to say, the scandal immortalised Poison as one of the most iconic perfumes ever created.
Vulva Original by Vivaeros (right), Why anyone would want to bottle the natural vaginal scent eludes the best of us. Designers described it as the “precious vaginal odour filled into a small glass vial. Not a perfume but a beguiling scent for your own smelling pleasure.” If you want to go walking around smelling like a woman’s private part, then this is your best bet.
Funeral Home by Demeter (left), Demeter has produced an array of weird scents like Birthday Cake, Salt Air and Play Doh but Funeral Home remains to be the most known. The blend of classic white flowers such as lilies, carnations, gladiolus, chrysanthemums, mahogany and oriental carpet is exactly how a funeral home smells like. It is like death in a bottle. What can be more controversial than that?
Pizza Hut Perfume by Pizza Hut (right), This perfume is as controversial as it is weird. We all know how a freshly baked pizza smells like, the aromatic dough topped with spices and cheese, all too perfect if it comes from a box. But from a bottle? The Pizza Hut Perfume weirdly appealed to more than a hundred thousand of its Facebook fans but unfortunately ended up with only 110 fans. Part of the hype is contributed by its availability in very limited quantities, only 24 bottles in a day for a short period of time. Considering the millions of pizza-eating monsters who are most likely intrigued by this scent, no one would ever get enough.
Cannabis Santal Eau de Parfum by Fresh (left), Similar to Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, Cannabis Santal plays around the more accessible prohibited substance Cannabis. The sensual woodsy notes are just how potheads smell like. Some find it interesting enough to make it controversial.
Sécrétions Magnifiques by Etat Libre D'Orange (right), Finally, once dubbed as the most controversial scent ever put on the market, this French perfume would have any wearer smelling like a whole myriad of human excretions – sweat, blood, saliva and semen. While these excretions can naturally be found in the body, the concept that it must be flaunted shocked the whole world on a different level.