Why I can't quit using the most famous '90s fragrance
Growing up, my grandmother (Nanny) would tell me stories about her drag racing days and pour Baileys in my ice cream on New Year’s Eve. She once told me “Men are like buses; there’ll be another one coming in five minutes.” A salty-tongued tube top enthusiast, she isn’t your typical grandmother, though she does make a mean chili and grows the prettiest roses on the block.
She was also the first enabler of my budding beauty addiction. Nanny worked the cosmetics counter at the local drugstore for decades and would shower me with piles of lipstick and nail polish. I’d sit on the bathroom floor sampling my loot for hours—it was probably a great way to get me out of her hair. She taught me to sprinkle baby powder in my freshly laundered sheets and wash my face with Noxzema every night. She’s infamous for telling my mom and aunts to put lipstick on if she finds they look tired. (That’s a euphemism. Her exact words are usually “You look like a 25-cent hooker after a 12-hour shift. Put some lipstick on.” My grandmother, ladies and gentlemen.)
Of course, it’s only fitting that her fragrance of choice is no sweet little-old-lady scent, but rather the excessive powerhouse of a perfume that is Obsession. The amber bottle made famous by a whispering prepubescent Kate Moss in 1993 is a fixture on her maple dresser. If you’ve ever caught a whiff of it at a Calvin Klein counter, you know there’s pungent musk and then there’s Obsession. Wildlife conservationists actually used the men’s version to lure jaguars in Guatemala. This stuff is potent.
It’s hence the perfectly logical pick for my grandmother, for whom simply spritzing it is not enough. No, as any perfume aficionado knows, the key to making the most of a scent is to layer it. That’s why Nanny is also a keen supporter of Obsession body powder (just now realizing her thing for powders). Much to her dismay, it was discontinued a few years ago. I tried pulling some beauty industry strings but couldn’t locate it anywhere, so I decided to DIY it. I soaked cotton balls in the fragrance and buried them in corn starch to infuse the powder. I then transferred the concoction to a glass bottle and gave it to her for Christmas. She unwrapped my janky craft project with the same heartfelt enthusiasm she’s extended to my other artistic endeavours through the years, many of which still hang on her bedroom walls.
Curiously, while getting my Martha Stewart on, I found myself misting the potion on the inside of my wrist, taking pleasure in smelling on my own skin the same spicy, woody notes I’ve always associated with my grandmother. The intoxicating oriental whirl made me feel part Kate Moss, part sassy matriarch. It was as though its brazen intensity nudged me to step up and match its assertiveness. Eventually, it earned a permanent spot in my fragrance rotation, becoming a go-to on occasions where I crave confidence in olfactory form or simply want to feel close to a woman I worship but sadly don’t get to see as often as I’d like. Because while I relish the idea of smelling like a ’90s supermodel, I love smelling like my saucy grandmother infinitely more.
Read more from The Kit
The concealer our beauty director has used for 10 years
We tried Meghan Markle’s favourite Toronto facial
Gallery: Hailey Baldwin’s style is supremely underrated