Of all the senses, smell is arguably the one which can take us back to times we'd otherwise never remember, or perhaps would rather forget. A sample of nineties cult fragrance Ex'cla.ma'tion landed on the Body Confidential desk and somehow found its way onto my unsuspecting wrist.
Ex'cla.ma'tion – that unmistakable glossy black and white bottle which should be renamed Pu'nct.ua'tion for its horrendous misuse of apostrophes and fullstops. Or maybe Do'min.at'ion in homage to its pungent, lingering aroma. No, come to think of it, Ex'cla.ma'tion is fitting. As the Confidential editor says of his editorial bugbear, the exclamation mark: "They're so over-used that people don’t trust them any more." Hmm, the similarities don't just end at the name then.
Interestingly these types of perfumes, despite being so cheap, last an incredible amount of time and that bottle will keep going for a lifetime, let me tell you. I found myself flung back to the early nineties when my sister and I would leave the house in our lace-trimmed leggings and L.A. Gear thinking we were Bananarama's missing link. Ex'cla.ma'tion, So, Impulse, every type of Body Shop musk and three shades of Charlie (Red, White and Blue of course) were liberally sprayed not only on our necks, but all over our Global Hypercolour T shirts (yes, the ones which change colour when you sweat).
It was a frantic yet necessary spraying action known to all teenage girls because, let's face it, these scents were about as high quality as the handmade perfumes we created from rose petals and food colouring in that same era. (Eau de Moyo never quite made it, in case you were wondering.)
This time around I didn't feel quite so confident wearing Ex'cla.ma'tion. In fact I felt sick to my stomach as the sugary scent sat stewing on my skin, all day long. A decade ago we'd be topping it up hourly, layering it on like lacquer and loving it more with each application. We must've stank.
The magic formula for those classic eighties and nineties fragrances wasn't great smelling perfume of course, but great selling skills. The marketing was spot on. Modern day top-end perfumes somehow lack the PR pizazz of these little bottles of empowerment.
Back in 1993, a new perfume was launched every week. This has led up to today's market which sees a new one every single day. In the seventies florals and oriental smelling scents were most popular. The perfume revolution was most notably kick-started by Revlon with their cult brand Charlie in 1973. The UK quickly followed with Mary Quant's Havoc in 1974. Both of these fragrances were geared to the younger generation who didn’t have as much disposable income and wanted to douse themselves with scent in the same way they would douse their hair in Silvikrin hairspray (and years later, Wella Colour Mousse).
The eighties were all about the sprays and it was the power fragrances that took a dominant stance. Anais Anais was next up followed by Giorgio, Poison and Calvin Klein’s oriental-scented Obsession in 1985. Keeping with the oriental theme, the popular Lou Lou by Cacharel followed. The nineties saw fresh, sweet, eco-aware scents as the smell of choice.
Today, the perfume industry has returned to its eighties glory days with the celebrity inspired market taking us full circle back to those sickly sweet squirtathon times of Charlie and Ex'cla.ma'tion. When this generation looks back in ten years they'll be reminiscing not only on bad smelling perfumes, but also the shoddy celebrities who supposedly invented them.
'Remember when we wore 'Stunning' by Katie Price, 'Shh' by Jade Goody and – God help us – 'Outrageous' by Kerry Katona? We must've stank.'
We've got one Ex'cla.ma'tion set to give away. Yes, we are aware that you may not be up for rekindling the nineties through the sense of smell, who would? But what you could do is take that bottle of 'Kack' by Pariz Hellton off your daughter or niece, replace it with this freebie and say: 'Now there's a real perfume.'
To be in with a chance of winning, simply fill your details into the form below and we’ll pick a winner at random.