Perfumes of the 1980s

The 1980s were not a subtle era in any sense. Certainly this is true for the perfumes and colognes which were popular.

This brash perfume could probably be most kindly described as "vivid." I have to admit some fondness for Poison, because my best friend wore Poison for Men cologne for several years. I can't think of Poison without thinking of him, and the brown leather bomber jacket he wore throughout our entire high school experience.

This is the kind of perfume (or cologne) that clears a path for you. For better or worse. Its oriental scents were shocking at the time, and are still a little, shall we say, gauche. But if I were attending a 1980s party, Poison is definitely the perfume that I would wear! Along with bright red lipstick, stiletto heel ankle boots, big damn hair, and shoulder pads.

This perfume smelled like a more lighthearted, cheerful version of Poison. Which is to say, pretty damn strong. Obsession quickly became many people's "trademark scents." I'm sure every school and every office had one person who wore Obsession all day, every day.

Obsession was also notable for its ad campaign. It featured situations and visuals which were as weird as possible, which hardly ever mentioned perfume, and which were desaturated to the point of being essentially shot in black and white. David Lynch did a series of ads for Obsession. Wrap your head around THAT.

This was my personal favorite. I started wearing it at the same time I bought a black suede jacket with my hard-earned summer job money. As such whenever I think of suede I smell Halston, and vice versa. Sometimes in the years since, I have picked up something made of suede and given it a sniff, and been surprised that it didn't smell like Halston.

That being said, I recently re-sniffed a sample at a department store and was surprised at how cloyingly sweet it is. Which I suppose only made it all the more appropriate for a sixteen year-old girl. But still - yuck.

A lot of guys have a secret history as Brut wearers. Even though they would never admit it. Brut was the Axe Body Spray of its time. If smells were colors, Brut would be a fluorescent turquoise. (Actually, if memory serves, that is the color that it was dyed - so I guess that's accurate.) It cost about fifty cents a bottle, and Brut guys always wore far too much of it.

I know a former Brut guy who grew into a perfectly normal adult male of the species. Proof enough that early cologne overuse doesn't lead to brain damage. I still think of him whenever I smell it.

Yes, that exclamation point is [sic]. The bottle was even shaped like an exclamation point. The jingle was, "Ex! Cla! Ma! Tion!" And the perfume itself  - you may as well have been trailing a cloud of exclamation points in your wake. This was a sharp, somewhat expensive perfume which smelled ever so cheap.

Drakkar Noir
This was a manly man scent, with an ad campaign that involved - if memory serves - manly themes like archery, and polished onyx. Which made it all the more intriguing that a girl at our school chose it as her signature scent. I actually still think it's a pretty neat smell, especially for women. (It's maybe a little trite for men.)