Fate Woman was the last Amouage that I loved. But while Fate was mostly an homage to vintage Bandit, Shalimar and Opium on my skin, Imitation Woman is completely new. I’ve been scratching my head to try and figure if it reminds me of anything, and it doesn’t. There’s a general vibe, a nod to genres and a way of saying ‘this is how they used to make em’, but Imitation is a beauty on its own, at least for me, although I’m sure this won’t be one of the popular ones. It’s too weird, too ‘in your face’. Maybe that’s why I absolutely love it!
The inspiration behind is 70’s New York, but for me is mostly late 70’s to early/mid 80’s.
Early 70’s were still pretty much green, chypre fragrances, and hazy dreamy florals. Think Halston, Scherrer, Chloé, Anaïs Anaïs, Private Collection; fragrances were tough just like the women and the conditions in New York, but there was space and time for a more dreamy world, seen through a haze of erotic florals.
Imitation lands somewhere between 1977 and 42nd street; seedy, gritty, colorful and bright just like a neon sign on Times Square.
The opening aldehydes (not as big as I wished for, but there for most of the duration) give room to the blackcurrant, the juiciest, highest pitched, most authentic blackcurrant that I have smelled. It’s uber sweet and gives fruitiness a whole new meaning. It’s fruity in the same way vintage Poison or Black Orchid are fruity; not the same by a long shot, but the same carnality and sensuality, hidden behind a playful façade. The licorice, which usually is my nemesis comes soon after, but it is done in such a beautiful and mature way, I keep wanting more of it. There’s a ‘secret elixir’ feel to it, just like a shot from an unnamed bottle served to you at Studio 54 while you’re chatting with Grace (Jones of course)! She would have rocked it back then.
The heart brings a honeyed orange blossom and skanky jasmine together, creating a more extravagant 80’s floral heart, with patchouli (earthy and heady), incense (dry and smoky), and sandalwood instead of long gone animalic notes. The beauty and the beast. ‘Pretty’ florals along ‘dirty’ base notes with rough edges to remind us that Bright Lights Big City is also dangerous.
Imitation feels like a girl that lives somewhere uptown. There’s a different feel than living downtown, and a bigger sense of security. But she loves to party, and she knows that the real living is somewhere along midtown, Coney Island or the Bronx. She doesn’t mind getting dirty, but she always has perfectly manicured red almond nails and a healthy supply of hairspray. And when she leaves the comfort of her suburban enclosure, she lights up a cigarette, gets of at Times Square, and follows the flow. It might not be Studio 54 every Saturday, but she always finds the right place. Imitation smells bright, ‘happy’. There’s a certain innocence underneath, a sensation that youth is eternal and the world is one big bite, that Saturday nights last forever and the sun will always shine brighter this side of the Brooklyn bridge.
Slightly ambiguous, Imitation manages to blend the beauty with the grittiness. It is both clean and dirty, and it’s New York before the Giuliani cleanup that eliminated, along with murder and crime, the rogue diversity that made Manhattan.
There’s a scene in The Deuce’s second season opening (HBO, highly recommended) where we see Candy walking along pimps, prostitutes, drug dealers and hustlers. She’s wearing a fur coat and a white silk ensemble that looks like Halston. While she smiles to some familiar faces on her way to a new disco, there’s a melancholy reminding her that some years before she was on those streets asking 30 plus 10 for her services, and a strength that shows her that she’s past those years, somewhere better, but not quite there yet; there are still obstacles in her way.
It’s Christmas 1977, the snow is falling, and Candy smells of Imitation. She might not have the uptown living just yet, but she embodies the scent perfectly!
My favorite release of 2018.