How excited was I about Christian Dior La Collection Particuliere Passage No. 8? Let's put it this way: When Gail very generously sent me a sample, she labeled it "The Precious." Iris! Violet! Even though I knew I'd never be able to afford a bottle, I was itching to try it.
"The Precious" proved to be not unlike the item for which it was named, that shiny gold band that drove Gollum (and almost Frodo) to madness in The Lord of the Rings. As soon as I applied it, it started working its own sort of dark magic. After just a few minutes, I felt slightly less than human. My skin took on an opaque, peachy cast, smoothing out and hardening. My hair coarsened and turned an unnatural shade of red before tightening up into an artificially curled bob. My eyes felt sort of hard and glassy, and I couldn't blink. At my joints, hinges and gaps appeared. I found I could remove my hands and feet and then put them back on. Having a little fun, I attached my feet to my arms and my hands to my legs, but I was afraid a co-worker might happen by my desk and catch me so I put them back. I felt compelled to stand behind my chair in awkward poses: my left hand in the air, almost as if waving at someone, my right hip jutting out as though I'd started to doing the bump and stopped halfway through, my head turned to look back over my right shoulder in a fashion that suggested I'd just heard someone call my name and whipped my head around in response. I stood that way for half an hour before the phone rang and startled me back into motion.
At lunch, my fingers were so stiff I could barely grip my fork. When I finally managed to get a hold of it, I found my mouth wouldn't open so I could get the food in. I'm pretty sure I stabbed myself a few times, but I felt nothing. My co-workers were starting to notice something was off. More than one person in the cafeteria asked me what was up with the Mona Lisa smile, but when I tried to answer (to ask them, "What Mona Lisa smile?"), no words came. My boss accused me of being secretive and looking for another job. "Why won't you tell anyone what's going on?" he asked me. "And why are you wearing that suit?" Until that moment I hadn't realized that the jeans and sweater I'd worn to work that morning had been replaced by an ill-fitting olive green Jones of New York suit, and my matching olive green shoes (high heels? on me?) wouldn't stay on my feet, most likely due to the little metal rods that had emerged through my soles.
But the worst part was the smell, like dusty plastic. It reminded me of certain department stores, the ones that use those really cheap mannequins--wait a minute! It was all coming together: the hardening, smooth skin; the synthetic looking hair; the weird joints; the freakish urge to pose unnaturally. I had turned into a mannequin!
And then I heard a voice. I'm pretty sure it was Cate Blanchett. I was bummed that it was only her voice and not a vision, because I always like to see what she's wearing. "Do not be afraid, Greeneyes," she said, her voice lilting and calm. "For a bathroom is just down the hall. In there you will find great relief."
At first I was a little confused, because it occurred to me that if I couldn't get food into my mouth, I probably wasn't getting anything out the other end, either. Also it seemed an odd for Cate Blanchett to contact me through the ether and tell me to use the restroom when I've been managing this task on my own for years. I was about to say something sarcastic in reply (telepathically, as my mouth was still frozen in that mysterious smirk) when it occurred to me what she actually meant: soap! Soap! All I had to do was wash away The Precious, and I would once again be human!
It took me about two hours to get down the hall to the bathroom. If you think it's easy to walk in ill-fitting shoes and with little metal rods sticking out of your feet, you're wrong. The other problem I had was that I felt compelled to stop every few feet and strike a pose. The only thing that seemed to release me was a co-worker happening by, and after lunch people are generally either in meetings or working (read: snoozing or surfing the net) at their desks, so there's not much hallway action. By the time I got to the sink I was ready to weep with relief, but what with the glass eyes and all, no dice. Thank goodness the faucets are automatic, so I didn't have to work any twisty knobs to get the water on. I pounded on the soap dispenser with the edge of my rigid hand. The cleaning folk aren't always regular about keeping the dispensers filled, but after whacking away at it for a minute or so, I was able to get a few drops out. I rubbed my wrists together so vigorously that if I'd been made of wood, I might have started a fire. I got the feeling back in my fingers first, and as my hands became more nimble I was better able to remove The Precious. My freckles returned, my eyes wept real, wet tears. My hair loosened back into its usual disheveled mess. When I looked down, there were my jeans and black sweater. Oh, to be human again!
And now here I am, back at the computer, typing away. No more urges to stand behind my chair and point at some imaginary bird flying through the sky. The truth is, I have this same problem with Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, although it's not quite as drastic. Whatever it is that they've done with the iris and violet, it absolutely does not work on my skin. It gives off the most horribly sweet chemical smell that really does make me smell plastic. If you love Iris Silver Mist (and many people do--it's a great disappointment to me that I cannot wear it), then you absolutely should try this. As for me, I need my hit of iris to have some green or some sparkle, like Prada Infusion d'Iris or Hermes Hiris.
Too bad for me, but lucky for you, because I'm going to pass this baby on to a lucky winner. Let me know in the comments whether you'd like to try The Precious (also known as Christian Dior's La Collection Particuliere Passage No. 8), and I'll draw a winner at 7:00 PM EDT on Thursday, March 6. Only one thing--if you should turn into a mannequin, you're on your own! Unless, of course, Cate Blanchett shows up to help you.
*image of Passage No. 4 from instyle.com