(Zizi Jeanmaire, Yves Saint Laurent and models. 1962. Image source unknown.)
Perfumer Richard Herpin
My being besotted by Badgley Mishcka is like the person who hates all white florals falling for Robert Piguet Fracas. I don’t have anything against the notion of the fruity floral per se, but I’d never smelled one that I wholeheartedly liked until Badgley Mischka. It proves that if a thing’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. The fruits are fermented, the florals are debauched, the patchouli is degenerate. It’s the scent of corruption. The sloppy drunk feel of the beginning is a perfect lead-in to the depravity of the heart-notes. But you know when it’s really great? Spray some on and move around a bit. A little sweat activates the booziness of the patch and you’re instantly a dypso hippy. People think this stuff is ‘old-Hollywood’ soigné? Really? It can give a passing impersonation of the mock-normalcy that I associate with old-Hollywood, but for the most part Badgely Mischka is just an exquisitely queer perfume. Camp, glamor and fuck-you rolled into one.
I think the key is the part with the fewest spoken lines: the florals. The jasmine is hugely indolic and the peony has that ammonia-smelling angle of a vase of peonies just starting to turn. If these floral bits were any stronger, Badgeley Mischka’s first words to you would be bad breath. As it stands, they’re more the, “Hello! Darling!” kiss-kiss greeting of a fabulous friend meeting you at the door as you arrive just late to his cocktail party.