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Who among us can forget Violet Beauregarde, the chubby American girl in the twentieth-century film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Whenever Violet was not in the process of eating something, she satisfied her oral fixation by chomping loudly on gum, not at all unlike a cow with its cud. She acquired a winning ticket in the Willy Wonka contest and so was admitted to the chocolate factory, along with Charlie, the nemesis of all of the other contestants. Violet was accompanied to the factory by her loud, aggressive father, Sam Beauregarde, who was apparently either a politician or (vel) a used car salesman. Charlie, in this nouveau-Dickensian little tale, just happened to be situated at the extreme tip of the other side of the poverty line, far away from all of the other winners, and it was nothing short of miraculous that he happened by chance upon one of the winning tickets.
In the end, karma dictated that all of the naughty and/or vicious little children should be punished, including Violet, whose tragic Fall was occasioned by her brazen disobedience of a direct order not to chew a piece of experimental gum. Violet blew up like a gigantic blueberry not only for her aesthetic crime of chomping constantly on gum but also for her cut-throat competitiveness, which really did her in, in precisely the manner in which one might expect karma to work: like a knife (or a bolt, see below...) in the back. She came dangerously close to exploding before being rolled down the hall to the juicing room by the oompa loompas for triage. Although Violet was spared the death penalty, she was summarily stripped of the right to romp about the grounds of the chocolate factory as a direct result of this self-induced medical emergency.
Perhaps you, dear reader, did not remember Violet Beauregarde, but I am fairly confident that the makers of Van Cleef & Arpels FEERIE did, for it is clear that she provided the deep inspiration for this creation. From the über-cloying black currant syrup sprinkled with violet leaves to the trucker tire-flap icon reproduced in miniature statuette form and applied to the ice-pick-like cap, FEERIE embodies the essence of Violet Beauregarde aesthetic.
I can state without hyperbole that this is the sweetest ostensibly serious perfume I've ever sniffed. Although I've been known to bitch and moan about dilution, this composition has basically the opposite problem, being so thick and glucose-rich that it could easily be mistaken for one of those fruit syrups that come in bulbous bottles with sliding pour mechanisms—the ones arrayed in a lazy susan of sorts in booth tables at fine eateries such as the International House of Pancakes, no doubt frequented by the Beauregarde family. Rather than a fruity floral, I'd say FEERIE is a true fruity-fruity perfume, because the syrupy black currant note is so dominant and so persistent and so thick and so, well, black curranty, that it is precisely like Violet Beauregarde in its extreme egotism, excluding all else as it screams out “Me! Me! Me! ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Although FEERIE might mix well with a rose soliflore, as a stand-alone perfume, it pretty much deserves the karmic fate eventually suffered by Violet Beauregarde, fittingly enough. Even the bottle is bright blueberry blue, and although the edges are faceted, from a distance, it evokes in this viewer's mind memories of one and one thing alone: Violet Beauregarde as her girth continues to expand to its ultimate bursting point while her face turns progressively more blue.
Now for the intricate embellishments, the carefully thought-out "finishing touches" upon the vessel in which this fruit syrup is housed. Once again, as with ORIENS, Van Cleef & Arpels has come up with a beautiful bottle totally degraded by its over-the-top cap! I'm beginning to suspect, actually, that those working in the art department of this house have a secret wager going: who can get away with the kitschiest cap on a perfume successfully launched before being served their walking papers? To my amazement, FEERIE actually manages to defeat (and that is no mean feat, by any means!) ORIENS, indisputably winning the top honors in the “most ridiculous cap ever” category! How in the world did the artist get away with this? Every American inhabiting the broad underbelly of this land—including the Beauregarde family—knows the naked lady on the tire flaps of semi-trucks: this image is virtually ubiquitous to anyone who drives cross country on freeways. There she sits amidst only her curves, beckoning YOU, her leg suggestively bent, a bust thrust directed your way.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, you must be a city dweller—or else a for'ner. The next time that you embark on a road trip in this not-so-fair land, I exhort you to take a few moments, pull into a truck stop, and examine the tire flaps on the semis parked there. Yes, *that very image*, the Platonic Form of the “Curvy Naked Lady Looking to Sleep with You” has been fashioned into a tiny silver three-dimensional facsimile which has been nailed (literally—there's a visible bolt in her back!)—as to a crucifix—to the ice pick atop the FEERIE bottle! (The ice pick itself is perfect, by the way, for pricking swollen blueberries...) Amazing! Truly an accomplishment of sorts. I stand humbled before the person who pulled this job off. Bravo!
08 September, 2011 (Last Edited: 09 September, 2011)