It’s raining and I want leather.

Yeah, I don’t really get it either.

It’s rained every day since Sunday evening and is likely to keep raining through Friday.

And I’m craving Cuir de Lancome and Amouage Memoir Woman and Pierre Balmain Jolie Madame parfum (vintage, of course, because they don’t even make the parfum anymore).

Weird, huh? I’m not sure what the two things have to do with each other, if anything at all, but there you have it: I have rain, and I want floral leathers.

Jolie Madame is exactly like this:

leather bootsPlusviolets





Leather and violets. That’s it. Well, maybe a bit of gardenia in there too, but that is it – beautifully simple in its duality, but complex in that you get the boots and the blooms all together. Just that butch, just that girly.  There’s nothing else like it.  And be prepared to duke it out with me on eBay over the little parfum bottles – they come up fairly often, but I have a hard time not rescuing all of them, because I would be happy to live in Jolie Madame for the rest of my life. The first time I smelled the vintage parfum, I nearly fell over in a teary-eyed swoon.

Memoir Woman is weirder, of course, but I honestly find it one of the most compelling fragrances I’ve ever worn.  Difficult to describe – herbal, medicinal, packed full of sweet big white flowers, honeyed, smoky, leathery, furry and sexy.

Cuir de Lancome, when I first started to wear it, was an olfactory trip back  in time, to when my mother’s best purse was black leather outside and soft pale calfskin inside, and she’d sometimes let me rummage through it in church. It held her handkerchief, which smelled faintly of her Chanel No. 5, and her red lipstick (Maybelline, in a green case, but I don’t recall the name of the shade), a pressed-powder compact, and sometimes a wrapped hard butterscotch candy or two.   That was back before they started offering a “children’s church” option, where kids could go watch Bible story videos and have a snack and make a craft and bother people other than their parents, and my 10-years-younger brother was able to take advantage of that, but I spent a lot of Sunday morning sermon hours as a kid drawing on the bulletin and flipping through my kid’s Bible and daydreaming.  Now that I’ve been wearing Cuir de Lancome for several years, it smells like itself to me unless I concentrate on the leather.  Sadly, it’s discontinued, and the 50ml bottles that used to be found for $35 a pop at the online discounters are now less numerous and more expensive. Curses. (I’m getting a backup bottle for Mother’s Day, though.)

(Nope, this isn’t our working pen – it just looks like it. Image from

I’ve never gotten on well with the classic Chanel Cuir de Russie, regarded as many to be the ne plus ultra of floral leathers. It’s got notes of jasmine and iris as well as leather, but I simply cannot wear it. It’s too dry and powdery, and smells not like tanned leather to me but raw cowhide, plus something animalic that could be dry manure, as well as dust and iodine. Essentially, to me it smells like our cattle working pens. And I know I’m unusual in disliking it – I have one friend who describes it as “pale pink kidskin gloves” and another who says  it smells like the leather seat in the most luxurious of luxury automobiles.

Is there a floral leather – emphasis on the FLORAL, please, and please nobody suggest Bandit to me, because the last time I pulled that sample out it went straight for my jugular with a stiletto, and I barely got it recapped in time to save my life – that you love?  (Really looking for something that is equal parts flowers and hide, here, and not sueded, and not ambery, and not mostly-floral-with-a-leather-note. Which is, I admit, difficult to come by.)