Hi there crew!
Opium by YSL! It was a game changer. This was way back in 1977, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t hit Oz stores till later. It was only the lucky few international travellers or women whose husbands travelled for business that got their mits on a bottle. It caused a sensation. The name alone was scandalous and the strength! It could dry clean your curtains if you wore a couple of spritzes too much. I remember my Mum thinking it was a ridiculous concept, and she didn’t like the smell at all. Yes, I come from a long line of snarky, judgemental bitches. It’s hereditary, and we are kinda proud of it.
I, on the other hand, thought Opium perfectly marvellous. I’m about 10 years old by now and had very definite opinions of my own about everything. Already the world was seen through the black and white lenses of divine and vile, there was no meh. Even then I would make pronouncements instead of having a conversation, and once my mind was made up, it took a truckload of evidence to the contrary for me to even think about changing it. These were trying times for all around me, and me. My poor born and raised in God-fearing country-Australia parents were manifestly unprepared for such a child. It was like two sheaves of wheat had found themselves parents to a very camp, ridiculously beautiful, passionfruit vine. Let’s not get started on the wilfulness either shall we.
Anyway, Opium. So, fast forward a few years, and it’s the late 1990s. I’m finally introduced to my BFF Kath’s Mum. She ONLY wears Opium by YSL. We are not talking a shrinking violet in its usage either. This is an above 100ml per year wearer of Opium. At that stage, it was still in the pared down variation of the original spray bottle and smelled like a hairspray version of itself. Still recognisable after a while but cheaper smelling and shorter lasting. Then it all changed – the bottle, the scent, everything. Dad bought Mum a couple of bottles that she wore but didn’t really love.
Not sure exactly what year I decided to keep her in the original, but it was 10 or more years. Every time I’d see a vintage bottle at a fairly reasonable price (and that really ain’t cheap anymore), I’d grab it. I also grabbed all the summer flankers, extraits, men’s etc. I’m nothing if not dogged and obsessive.
Meanwhile Mum’s health started to deteriorate, and she slowly went from being all gussied up and out and about every day to an invalid. Still, she would spritz herself wet with Opium each and every day. The whole house smelled of it as you walked through the front door. Wonderful.
Anyway, two years ago Mum went on to the next grand adventure. We sprayed the chapel, her casket, the flowers and the house with so much Opium it was like a fog. It was a seriously wonderful service, and I was asked to do the eulogy.
Kath took what Mum had on her bureau to wear as memory scent.
I have had the same couple of bottles out on display for wear for ages (Opium Posie de Chine and Opium Secret de Parfum). Due to the C19 Lockdown though I’ve been going through my perfumes and assessing their merits. Especially my multiples. The vintage YSL box got a going over a couple of weeks ago. I was more than slightly surprised at how much Opium has been amassed. So, I decided to sell some off. Four bottles have gone on to fresher pastures, gave one bottle to Kath as an extra backup and a pair still in the sale list. I took 20% off what I paid for them, and they’d only been spritzed to authenticate, but they were still no bargain. Quite a few bottles got binned through the purchasing process because there is a lot of fake shit floating around.
So here is my pared down collection at this moment. Yes, I know it’s still a shitload of vintage Opium. Yes, I know I’ll never use it all up. Yes, I know hoarding is an illness. No, I’m not bothered by your judgement, actually I’m so used to being judged, it feels normal and right.
Ta Daaaaaa! Here lies my shame for all to see. Isn’t it marvellous? I will also admit to doubles of Opium Secret de Parfum, Opium Posie de Chine and an extra EdT that was a chemist tester that had lost its spritzer and cap.
Back: all BNIC: Opium Eau d’Ete, Opium Pour Homme Eau d’Orient, Opium Orchidee de Chine
Middle: Opium EdT, Opium Secret de Parfum, Opium Posie de Chine, Opium EdT, Opium Fleur de Shanghai
Front: Opium Sparkling EdT, Opium parfum, Opium EdT
I am wearing Opium Fleur de Shanghai at the time of writing. All the glamour of Opium in a summer weight and very slightly sweeter.
OK, so now it’s your turn to share a vintage story or a memory in the comments please.