Frida Kahlo, the iconic Mexican artist and feminist painted brightly coloured works and many self portraits that make for challenging yet rewarding viewing. Kahlo’s paintings were symbolic renditions of her life, which was filled with pain both physical and metaphysical. As a child she suffered from polio and at eighteen was hideously injured in a street car accident. Kahlo married the artist Diego Rivera twice and was devoted to him, although both took other lovers. Her life was fascinating on so many levels and she met many influential people in her time, including the surrealist Salvador Dali. Kahlo also sheltered and bedded Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary.
Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes has used Kahlo as inspiration for her most recent perfume, and in doing so has created one of my favourites of the year thus far with Frida. This is a visceral perfume that inspires strong reactions just like Kahlo’s art.
Frida EDP : Nose : Shelley Waddington : Year : 2015 : Notes : Top : The fruits of Frida’s Garden including Apricots, Watermelon, Peaches, Lemons, and Lush Greenery : Middle : Tuberose, Hibiscus, Cactus Flower, Champaca, Ylang Ylang, Gardenia, and Jasmine : Base : Light Woods, Sugar, Oak Moss, Aldehydes; Myrrh, Frankincense, and Copal; Tobacco, Green Pepper, Sexual Animalic Notes, Musk, Amber
The Bride Frightened At Seeing Life Opened, Frida Kahlo, 1943
Frida is one of those fragrances that I find difficult to describe as everything comes in a glorious rush. It’s a bold, tempestuous fragrance that had me from first sniff. Imagine a tropical Mexican garden. It’s overflowing with exotic fruits and lush, juicy watermelons that are sitting in the sun. These are not cool and refreshing fruits. They’re warm and pleasingly narcotic. You want to revel in the exuberance and kaleidoscope of colours. The fruits are grounded by a slight metallic, blood like sheen, perhaps alluding to Kahlo’s pain.
Extravagant florals bring a sense of joyousness to Frida. They’re strong, sensual and ravishing. At times this feels like a sexual fragrance to me. The garden flowers are beguiling with their come hither glances. Although there are many florals in this perfume including champaca, ylang ylang, gardenia and jasmine, it’s tuberose that steals the show. The tuberose here feels natural and tinted with a hint of green. The flowers add colour and texture to the scent. It feels alive with energy and vivid, brightly coloured brush strokes.
From here for me it winds down and an ambered base appears with tendrils of smoke. I can imagine Kahlo in front of an easel, cigarette in hand. Perhaps she’s painting Self Portrait With Thorn Necklace And Hummingbird.
This is a perfume with a pulsating heart. Frida feels big bold and beautiful. It’s a thrilling roller coaster ride.
The Low Down : Frida blooms with life. It’s fruity, floral and completely captivating. A compelling work from En Voyage and the talented Shelley Waddington.
For where to purchase : Please see the En Voyage website for further details.
Other perfumes to try by En Voyage : Fiore di Bellagio (one of my favourites from 2014) and Zelda
Notes : Images : Featured picture is from En Voyage