Michael was the debut fragrance release from Michael Kors. It launched in 2000, and was meant to...
...translate his style philosophy into fragrance. "Glamorous but simple, indulgent but practical," explained Kors. "And chic. That's the word I'm going for no matter what we do." (via Women's Wear Daily, 3/24/2000)
I can't remember when I first smelled Michael, but I know I didn't love it. It was too strong, too sweet, and too floral for my taste, and my feelings about Michael did not change radically after I became more interested in fragrance and my tastes expanded to include the headier white florals.
But I can't even count the number of times over the past 7 years when I've asked someone what they were wearing because they smelled so nice, and the answer was: Michael. It happened again only last week, and I came home and sprayed some on, and then sat, puzzled yet again: I don't like Michael. On me, anyway, and up close. But apparently I like it on most anyone else, and I have to say that several times while wearing it I was struck by that sense you get when you forget that you're even wearing perfume and just notice, for an instant, that something nearby smells good.
Michael was developed by perfumer Laurent Le Guernec, and the notes include freesia, tamarind, Moroccan incense, osmanthus, tuberose, blue orris, arum lily, peony, cashmere woods, musk, and vetiver. The incense and woods temper and warm the tuberose: it doesn't have the sparkle of Robert Piguet Fracas, nor the airy expansiveness of the new Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia by Estee Lauder. It is round and creamy and lush, with hints of mild spice, and while it is very bold unless you apply sparingly (even one spray packs some hefty sillage), I don't find it "loud" in the usual sense. I frequently see it described as sexy, but it doesn't really strike me that way. Frederic Malle Carnal Flower is sexy; to me, Michael is pretty, and feminine, and yes, chic.
Very Michael Kors (shown above right) is a newer limited edition variation on Michael. The notes include citrus, osmanthus, sugar cane, tuberose and black plum. Oddly, the "sugar cane" accord is quite noticeable but the overall effect is considerably less sweet than Michael; this is a lighter, fruitier fragrance. There is a bit more sparkle in the top notes, but the dry down, to my nose, is a duller, flatter, more timid take on Michael — sort of like Michael Lite. If you are a big fan of the original Michael and have tried Very Michael Kors, do comment, I'd love to hear what you think.
Michael Kors Michael is available in Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum (the only concentration I have tried), and in lots of matching body products, including Leg Shine and Glimmer Creme. It used to be available in Parfum, but I am not sure that concentration is still in production.
Michael Kors Very Michael Kors is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum.
The quick poll: is there a fragrance you love on everyone else, but not on you?
Note: first image via Parfum de Pub.